The Gun Relief Program was established as a direct result of the investigation arising from the Virginia Tech tragedy. It revealed that a majority of states, including Oregon, were not sending the names of people barred from purchasing a firearm to the federal NICS database. All federally licensed firearm dealers and law enforcement agencies use NICS to conduct background checks when individuals apply to purchase firearms.
Congress passed legislation requiring states to provide those names for inclusion in the federal database or risk losing some federal criminal justice grant funding. To address various concerns, Congress included a provision requiring states to establish "relief" programs whereby individuals previously barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm could petition to have that right restored and their name removed from the NICS database.
As a result, the 2009 Oregon Legislature enacted HB 2853, which in part directed the Oregon State Police to submit the names of firearm disqualified individuals to the NICS database. HB 2853 also directed the Psychiatric Security Review Board to conduct relief hearings, given the mental health expertise of its Board members. The Board will only hear relief arguments from individuals who are barred from possessing a firearm due to an Oregon mental health determination, including civil commitment, persons found guilty except for insanity (GEI) and persons who were found unable to aid and assist in a criminal proceeding. A person is barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm if they have received one of these mental health determinations.
Persons who previously received judicial relief under ORS 166.274 remain barred from possessing a firearm under federal law. The PSRB’s relief program is certified by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and is recognized under federal law as having the authority to lift a federal mental health prohibitor.
Request to have your firearm privileges restored
If you have any questions about the gun relief process, please contact the Gun Relief Program Manager at 503-229-5596.