Getting an Oregon non-resident Concealed Handgun Permit

'Reciprocity' in concealed handgun permits is an ever-changing (and sometimes frustrating) thing. I have had a (resident) State of Washington Concealed Weapons Permit for over fifteen years. Unfortunately, the Washington permit doesn't travel well. This is due to a hodge-podge of local laws, but I think Washington's "shall issue" law that requires zero training severely limits the portability. Simply put, if a given state requires classroom or live fire training in order to qualify their own citizens for a concealed pistol permit, then they are pretty loathe to say that Washington's "lax" permit is OK.

When I went to Front Sight, their training qualified me for non-resident permits for Utah, Florida, and Nevada. I have since applied for and received the Utah non-resident permit. The Utah permit gets me most of the western states that are available to me, but not Nevada. Nevada requires I visit one of their county seats / sheriff's offices, and I have not got around to that yet.

Oregon does not honor out of state permits. They also do not allow just any "non-resident" to apply for an Oregon permit; you must be a resident of an "adjoining" state - those states are Washington, California, Idaho and Nevada. My "local" Cabellas in Lacey, WA offers a class for Utah and Oregon non-resident permits (heavy emphasis on the Utah, as it covers 20+ states, minor emphasis on the Oregon).

I set out to apply for an Oregon Non-Resident Concealed Handgun License (CHL) - (every state uses a different acronym, this is Oregon's). I used information from:

So, how did it go?

I did some "forum shopping" at OFF and USCCA to help me zero in on Counties / Sheriffs that would not waste my time. I settled on Columbia County (county seat of St. Helens, OR) as being reasonably friendly to permit applicants. Astoria (Clatsop Co.) would have been a natural for me as I'm there 2-3 times a year, but they will only process applications from the three WA Counties directly across the river from them.

I made an appointment ahead of time. They seemed geared towards picking up the application in one step, and then returning for your appointment. I found the application pretty easy to fill out in real time (five minutes), so I did it all in one step. I should say that I've lived in the same place for more than five years, and there were no surprises on the application. Your mileage may vary.

I paid the application fee in cash. It was $75, non-refundable. Oregon residents pay $65, but in Columbia Co., Washington residents pay a $10 administrative fee for criminal history monitoring.

Part of the "non-resident" process was for me to write a letter to the Sheriff (Jeff Dickerson, at this writing) explaining my "reason" for applying for a permit in his county. I came prepared with such a letter, stating that I've had my Washington permit for fifteen years, and that I'm a frequent traveler of his area, as well as the great state of Oregon in general.

Oregon requires some training (you can read about the requirement on Handgun Law's page, above). I presented my certificates of training from Front Sight, where I took the four day defensive handgun course, as well as the thirty state concealed weapons permit training. I'm pretty confident that these courses meet the intent of Oregon's requirement, but I don't know if they're actually considered as Oregon compliant.

The folks in the Sheriff's office were very nice, and walked me through all of the paperwork with a smile. I should say that this location is also the county jail, and there's a constant coming and going of folks there to visit their incarcerated loved ones. I heard several times some variation of, "He's a good boy, he just screwed up his probation..." as I waited my twenty minutes in the lobby.

I presented two forms of ID, I got photographed, electronic fingerprinted, and they took my electronic signature. There was no "ask" for personal references.

I was told that the wait time was two to four weeks, but really more like two. At this writing, it's been two weeks, and...

Three weeks to the day, and success! I now have a valid Oregon non-resident CHL, valid for four years.

My letter had a couple more bits of helpful info: the URL for the Sheriff's office website -
as well as the current hours that they accept appointments for application for CHL:

Mon - Tue 1000 - 1600 and
Wed - Thu 0830 - 1400
info as of 3/17/2011

Hope that's helpful to somebody else.

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