Firearms Seizures in Oregon

Over the course of 2018, 74 petitions were filed to the Oregon Judicial Department requesting an “extreme risk protection order,” a judicial order designed to seize the firearms of people found to demonstrate “clear and convincing” evidence of shooting themselves or someone else. 

 Oregon passed the law creating these orders in 2017, which allows family and household members, employers, and law enforcement to file petitions requesting the court’s permission to seize any weapons they have. If granted, the gun owner in question has 24 hours to surrender all firearms to either law enforcement or a qualified third party, or face physical intervention by police. The order lasts for a year, but judges can extend the order indefinitely if necessary. 

 There is no direct data available on how many of the 74 petitions were granted, but an investigation last summer by the Oregonian found that almost all the petitions which had been filed between January and April 2018 were granted. They tracked down 27 petition cases, in which 24 of those were granted. 

 Out of the cases investigated by the Oregonian, most involved white men between 20 and 50 years of age, with nearly all of them having been reported as either drug users, heavy drinkers, having mental health issues, or some combination of these three factors.  

 Some were suicidal, four had threatened to shoot people in public areas, and most were reported to judges as being extremely angry. 

 Out of all 74 petitions in 2018, about two-thirds were filed by law enforcement, one-third by family or household members, and one petition filed by an employer. 

 By Ian MacRonald