Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 166.412 requires the OSP to maintain an instant check system for conducting criminal background checks for federally licensed gun dealers and private parties prior to the transfer of a firearm. OSP must immediately determine whether the purchaser is qualified or disqualified to complete the firearm transfer under state or federal law either during the dealer’s contact or by return call. Statute also requires that if OSP is unable to determine if the purchaser is approved or denied within 30 minutes, OSP must notify the dealer and provide an estimate of time when the check will be completed. Background checks that cannot be completed within the 30 minutes are placed in a Pended/Delayed status until sufficient record information can be obtained to complete the request.
In addition to conducting criminal background checks when a firearm transfer is requested, Oregon law requires that OSP check to ensure that the firearm(s) being transferred has not been reported stolen.
To comply with federal and state laws, the FICS Unit of the Oregon State Police was created in July 1996 and today conducts criminal background checks on individuals purchasing or transferring firearms from retailers, between private parties, and at gun shows in Oregon. The FICS Unit also processes requests for stolen firearm checks that are independent of a transfer.
Firearm Applications Denials
There are several reasons why firearm applications are denied. These reasons fall into three main categories:
· Prohibited Persons – Individuals convicted of a felony, are on probation, have a restraining order, have been convicted of controlled substance crimes, certain misdemeanor convictions, and additional federal and state mandates.
· Wanted Persons – Have an active felony or out of state misdemeanor warrant.
· Mental Health – Have been adjudicated as being mentally ill, been committed to the Mental Health Division as the result of a Mental Commitment Hearing, or have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
OSP’s Investigative Actions to Firearm Denials
On June 17, 2014, OSP began implementing changes to its procedures related to violations of state law involving persons attempting an unlawful firearm transfer through a licensed firearm dealer, during a private party check, or at a gun show. In addition, OSP also began investigating all instances of firearms being sold or transferred that are flagged as stolen. Subsequently, the OSP FICS Unit began notifying OSP Troopers or other Oregon Law Enforcement agencies of denied firearm transactions and/or stolen firearm transactions for immediate investigation. Below is a list of several investigative actions in which OSP Troopers or partner Oregon Law Enforcement agencies may handle firearm transaction denials:
· Arrest-Custody – Individual is arrested, taken into custody, and processed at a jail.
· Citation in Lieu of Custody – Individual receives a citation and a date to appear in court in lieu of being taken into custody and processed at a jail.
· Active Investigation – Trooper is still investigating the circumstances of the attempted purchase and denial.
· Investigation Complete–No Action – Trooper finished investigation and determined extraneous circumstances did not warrant an arrest, citation, or any other action.
· Referred to District Attorney – Trooper finishes investigation and determines that the District Attorney needs to review for possible criminal charges.
· Referred to Local Jurisdictions – Investigation is referred to the local law enforcement agency.
· Challenge/Appeal – Trooper advised an individual of the FICS challenge process after investigating a denied transaction and concluded no enforcement action was warranted. For example, there are occasions where the most current court action wasn’t available for the FICS background check, which if available would allow the individual to purchase a firear.
OSP will produce and distribute a monthly report highlighting the total number of dealer and private party firearm transactions received and denied, stolen weapons investigations, and the investigative actions taken. Below is an outline of each graph in the report:
· Graph 1 – The bar chart depicts the total number firearm transactions compared to the number of denied firearm transactions investigated for the period being reported.
· Graph 2 – The pie chart depicts the main categories in which total firearm transactions have been denied by number and percentage for the period being reported.
· Graph 3 – The stacked bar chart depicts the investigative actions taken by OSP Troopers in response to denied firearm transactions for the period being reported, by category.
· Graph 4 – The bar chart depicts the number of private party firearm transactions compared to the number of denied firearm transactions investigated for the period being reported.
· Graph 5 – The pie chart depicts the main categories in which private party firearm transactions have been denied by number and percentage for the period being reported.
· Graph 6 – The stacked bar chart depicts the investigative actions taken by OSP Troopers in response to denied private party firearm transactions for the period being reported, by category.
For questions regarding the FICS firearms denial process or OSPs investigative responses, please contact Patricia Whitfield at 503-934-2305 or firstname.lastname@example.org.