With thousands of concealed carry licenses set to expire across the state of Oregon over the next couple of months, sheriffs are urging that officers use their discretion if they run across someone carrying on an expired license.
In a new letter to police agencies and district attorneys, the executive director of the Oregon State Sheriffs Association lays out the case for giving concealed carry holders a break. Jason Myers says if someone’s license expired between March and June of this year, it’s going to be difficult for them to get their license renewed, because many sheriff’s offices aren’t renewing or issuing new permits at the moment.
That could very well be thousands of Oregonians. In Multnomah County alone, 592 permits are set to expire this month, according to a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
“We’re in the midst of an unprecedented situation and we want to make sure we’re focusing our resources on the greatest public safety needs,” Myers said. That may mean showing leniency toward people who haven’t been able to renew their driver’s license, concealed handgun license, or other documents “by no fault of their own,” he said.
According to KOIN-TV, several agencies have already agreed to use discretion in situations where someone is carrying with an expired license, but in Multnomah County, Oregon’s most populated county, authorities say the law will continue to be enforced.
MCSO is still processing renewal requests, according to a spokesman. If a CHL holder is unable to renew for some reason, they should not carry a concealed firearm.
Carrying a concealed weapon without a license in Oregon is a Class A Misdemeanor with the possibility of a $6,250 fine and up to a year in jail.
What if you’re from a county that’s not renewing concealed carry licenses and you have to travel to Multnomah County for business? According to the local sheriff’s office, you’re going to have to go disarmed or risk the possibility of criminal charges.
As for Oregonians hoping to become a concealed carry licensee, Myers says most sheriff’s offices aren’t doing the required fingerprinting and ID photos at the moment, and won’t resume processing new applications until the governor’s stay-at-home order has expired.
“There’s gonna be a backlog I’m sure of new applications and it’s going to take time for the sheriff’s office to process, but just rest assured they will work through those as efficiently and quickly as possible,” Myers said.
In the meantime, open carry is an option in the state for legal gun owners over the age of 18 who want to carry for self-defense but can’t obtain a concealed carry license during the stay-at-home order. Under Oregon law, no license is necessary for open carry, but the law does require that any firearm transported without a concealed carry license not be readily accessible to the gun owner. It’s not a perfect solution, but for the moment it appears to be the best workaround for those hoping to exercise their right to bear arms while new concealed carry licenses are on hold.