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Gun Relief Program
Enabling Legislation:
 
 
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 ORS 166.273, which in part directed the Oregon State Police to submit the names of firearm disqualified individuals to the NICS database. ORS 166.273 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:
 
Please be aware that firearm relief petitioners must undergo an independent forensic mental health assessment in addition to the one submitted by petitioner. At a minimum, the independent assessment must include the evaluator’s opinion—and its basis—of petitioner’s interpersonal violence and risk of self-harm. The independent evaluation and assessment will be at the petitioner’s expense, and failure to undergo an assessment ordered by the PSRB will result in denial of the petition for relief. (Click here for a list of independent evaluators).
 
An attorney representing either the state or the county may request that the Board require the petitioner to submit to a forensic mental health assessment by a psychiatrist or psychologist. In that case, the attorney requesting the assessment will pay for the assessment.
 
A state or county attorney who requires a forensic mental health assessment for a petitioner must file a written notice of intent to request an assessment within 10 days from receipt of the petition for relief, and serve the notice on: the Board; the petitioner; and the Department of Human Services/Oregon Health Authority. Such an examination shall include the evaluator’s opinion (again, with its basis) on whether—if relief were granted—the petitioner would be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety, including the likelihood that the petitioner will harm him/herself.
 
 
 
If you have any questions about the gun relief process, please contact the Gun Relief Program Manager at 503-229-5596.