Updated: Apr 20, 2020
A question we receive often is for clients that currently live in Oregon, but their past conviction(s) are outside of Oregon, or Federal convictions. Is there anything Oregon Gun Law can do for them? It is clear under federal law that, as a general rule for federal firearm ownership, "the jurisdiction of conviction determines restoration."
Can an Oregon Gun Right Restoration help these clients out? The answer is; it depends.
The federal rules for lawful firearm ownership are rooted first in statute, then in caselaw. By statute the federal government prohibits firearm ownership by anyone convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year (often called a felony). Under Federal Law, "any conviction which has been expunged, or set aside or for which a person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored shall not be considered a conviction for purposes of this chapter. . ." In short, so long as the expungement, set aside, or reduction actually restores firearm rights in the jurisdiction of conviction the statute appears to imply a complete restoration of firearm rights. This is where the caselaw comes into play;
Although not enumerated under the federal statutes, the case law makes it clear that Federal law requires a four step inquiry to confirm firearm rights are restored. The first is the statute mentioned above. Namely that someone can possess firearms in the jurisdiction of conviction. Usually this means there has been an expungement, felony reduction, pardon, or some other form of restoration completed.
The next three steps are commonly referred to as the 'core civil rights'. These include sitting on a jury, holding public office, and voting. If, in the jurisdiction of conviction, a person can exercise all three of their 'core civil rights', and can lawfully have a firearm, they pass the federal 'test' and have been restored under Federal law. This is generally not automatic, but requires some active steps by a person to ensure they are restored.
So if the conviction we are restoring from is from out-of-state, an attorney would need to be sought out in the jurisdiction of conviction. In some jurisdictions that is possible, in some it is not. That would be the only method by which federal rights could be restored from an out-of-state, or federal conviction.
Oregon Gun Rights are rooted almost exclusively in statute. There are two primary statutes that pertain to having gun rights under Oregon law; ORS 166.270 (felon in possession) and ORS 166.250 (unlawful possession). Under Oregon law anyone with a felony conviction from out-of-state has to have that felony reduced to a misdemeanor, or expunged under the law of the other jurisdiction. Many times these are not options from states like California, or federal convictions. In these situations the only option to restore Oregon Firearm Rights would be through a 166.274 Petition. Even though the conviction comes from somewhere other than Oregon, we can still restore rights in Oregon.
Oregon but not Federal Restoration?
For many clients we can only restore Oregon Gun Rights. This allows protection from prosecution under Oregon law. It does not protect from federal prosecution. In this way, firearm ownership becomes much like Marijuana. Marijuana is lawful under Oregon law, but still completely unlawful federally. The federal government is not prosecuting every person with a joint. Firearm ownership in the same way would be lawful under Oregon, but still unlawful under Federal law. We represent many clients in this situation. For many Oregonians there is no method by which federal firearm rights can be restored. They want some protection from Oregon laws, and we can provide that. We cannot immunize all action, but we can provide protections where it is possible.
Contact us today if you want to discuss your options.