Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oregon’s Ongoing Concealed Carry Controversy

Recent weeks have witnessed a fair amount of thrash in the Oregon Concealed Carry community. It started with a group seeking the release of the names of CCW holders statewide. Many Sheriff’s departments have declined to provide this information, including the Rob Gordon, Sheriff of Washington County. Some commentary from his letter to CCW holders:

“As your sheriff, I refused to disclose that information because I believe many people obtain a concealed handgun license for personal security and would not want that information made public. I also resist disclosing personal information because of the continuing identity theft risks.

“Despite my belief (shared by sheriffs across Oregon), an Oregon court recently decided that there is no evidence that people obtain concealed handgun licenses for security measures. The court ordered the Jackson County Sheriff to disclose a list of all the concealed handgun license holders in his county to the local newspaper. The case is now before the Oregon Court of Appeals.”

Everyone in Washington County should send a big THANK YOU to Sheriff Gordon for his integrity in the face of yet another bizarre “interpretation” of the law by Oregon’s Courts. Hopefully the order will be struck down on appeal or at the Oregon Supreme Court.

Unfortunately the Oregon Appellate Courts don’t have a good track record at this point. The Oregon Firearms Federation has released an alert indicating that the Appellate Court has ruled that an individual’s car is now a “public place.” The ruling came in response to t he case, Bryan Ward VS State of Oregon, in which a Portland Police officer, arrested an individual with an unconcealed handgun in his car.

Some commentary from OFF:

“It has always been our position that open carry in a vehicle was clearly protected by Oregon law. ORS 166.250 clearly states that except for CHL holders, it is concealed carry in a vehicle that is prohibited. It further states that the prohibition against concealed, loaded carry in a vehicle does not apply to ‘a recreational vessel or recreational vehicle while used, for whatever period of time, as residential quarters.’

“The Appeals Court decision turns on its head Oregon's preemption statute which allows only the state legislature to regulate possession of firearms, except for loaded carry in public places. If your car is now considered a "public place" will a law enforcement officer need a warrant to search it?”

This ruling certainly opens up a huge can of worms. Hopefully it will be revisited either by the Oregon Supreme Court or through legislative action. Until then, I worry about the level of judicial activism we’re witnessing in many of these recent Oregon cases.

Until next time!

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