New Gun Sales Law in Oregon

Karl Durkheimer, shown in his Northwest Armory store in Milwaukie, says he has not decided if he will conduct background checks for private sales of firearms. photo from

New regulations regarding background checks and gun sales go into effect in Oregon on Sunday, August 16.

The new law, a result of Senate Bill 941 signed by Gov. Kate Brown in May, will require universal background checks for all gun purchases within the state, even private ones, according to this story

A public service announcement has been appearing on local television and online featuring Portland Police Chief Mike Reese, who explains that the new law will require criminal and mental health checks for private gun transfers, sales, leases, and gifts—the same as required by federal rules for sales by licensed firearms dealers.

According to this story from,there is some uncertainty about how the new rules will be enforced.

"Nobody really knows how many private sales occur in Oregon and there is a heated debate about whether the new law will be widely ignored or not," the story says. "On top of that, many local sheriffs and county commissions say they don't intend to enforce the new law—and it's unclear how many gun dealers will even agree to conduct checks for private sellers."

"We don't really know how many more background checks will be conducted," said Dave Piercy, manager of the firearms unit for the Oregon State Police. "This is a big cultural change for Oregon."

When the law takes effect, Oregon will be the 12th state to require universal background checks for both handguns and long guns.

The bill was heavily backed by Everytown for Gun Safety, billionaire Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun organization.

Kar Durkheimer, who owns a Portland-area gun shop with his wife, refused to let Everytown film at his business and said he's still unsure about whether he'll provide background checks for private sellers.

The NRA posted this warning to Oregon gun shops owners, informing them of Everytown's intent to scout dealers to film public service announcements on the new law.

It remains to be seen how many of the state's 2,000-plus federal firearms licensees will even bother to perform background checks for anything but guns they sell.

Fred Myer, which has licenses to sell firearms at 20 of its stores, said it will not perform the new checks, according to spokesperson Melinda Merrill.

"We have a wider clientele in our stores, so we prefer to just conduct background checks for customers who purchase (firearms)," she said.