By Brian Sack
Member of BATRC
There is quite a bit of confusion on whether or not it is legal to carry a loaded firearm while on an OHV/ATV/UTV. While it is a complicated subject, below is a summary of the relevant rules in Idaho and Oregon, as the two states where most of us do the majority of our OHV riding:
- Idaho does not prohibit openly carrying a weapon on an OHV/ATV/UTV.
- If it is concealed, meaning it is not carried openly in a belt or shoulder holster or ATV rack/case, a concealed carry permit is required. If you carry your weapon in an ATV cargo box, Idaho laws are not clear whether or not this constitutes a concealed carry. You can carry an unloaded weapon (unloaded in Idaho means no cartridges in the chamber or magazine) without restrictions in any vehicle.
- Concealed carry permits can be obtained through any Idaho County Sheriff’s office for a fee of $20. Idaho has signed concealed carry permit reciprocity agreements with Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. Idaho permits are recognized by about 29 other states and Idaho recognizes valid concealed weapons permits from all states. Idaho concealed carry info is here: http://www.ag.idaho.gov/concealedWeapons/concealedWeapons_index.html.
- Idaho used to but does not now require that you have a hunting license in your possession if you have an uncased weapon in the field.
- It is unlawful to shoot game animals and game birds with a firearm from an ATV; however, it is legal to shoot predatory or unprotected wildlife from a motor vehicle as long as you do not shoot from or across a public highway.
- Oregon prohibits carrying a loaded firearm or a bow on an ATV or on a snowmobile. Loaded means that there is a live round in the chamber for a semi-auto or in the cylinder aligned with the hammer in a revolver, or all arrows are not in a quiver, per Oregon Statute (ORS) 821.240. Getting cited under this rule in Oregon can result in a Class B traffic violation, which currently carries a $216 fine. This prohibition does not apply if the gun owner has an Oregon concealed carry permit.
- Oregon regulations do not address rounds in a magazine.
- Oregon does not recognize concealed carry permits from other states but will issue an Oregon concealed carry permit to residents of surrounding states, including Idaho. The application costs $60 and must be done at an Oregon County Sheriff’s department. The one closest to us is for Malheur County in Vale, OR (Sheriff Andy Bentz, 151 B St. W, Vale, OR; Phone 541-473-5125). More info is in Oregon Statutes 166.291 to 166.297.
Most importantly, this article is not intended to be a comprehensive treatment of all aspects of open carry or concealed carry weapons in Idaho and Oregon.
- First, if you carry a weapon while on your ATV, it is important that you research the rules in each State that you intend to be in with that weapon, as they are all slightly different. Idaho and Oregon both are “castle doctrine” and “stand-your-ground” states, meaning that you can defend yourself with deadly force if you are convinced that you are being threatened. However, most gun safety courses, such as those required by Utah for a concealed carry permit, stress that there is an obligation to disengage from any conflict, and if a person in a conflict brandishes or uses a firearm first, he/she may be subject to charges stemming from conflict escalation.
- Second, all States have differing requirements related to where you may take a weapon, either openly or concealed. In some States, such as Nevada, local regulations can over-ride State rules in some circumstances.
- Third, I believe it is important to have a concealed carry permit from my State of residence, which is, of course, Idaho. However, I also carry a Utah permit because Utah’s concealed carry permit is recognized by more states that Idaho’s permit. Utah will issue permits to non-residents, and the permit may be applied for by mail for $51 and does require classroom training; the classes are offered by a fairly large number of certified instructors scattered throughout Idaho. Here’s the link for Utah permits: http://publicsafety.utah.gov/bci/concealedfirearms.html . Both Idaho and Utah permits may be renewed; Idaho through the DMV and Utah by mail and submission of renewal fees.
Last, the Internet contains numerous examples of people being subjected to differing interpretations of State laws among law enforcement officials and various Federal and state agencies such as the BLM and Forest Service.
- If you carry a weapon while on your ATV in Idaho, unless it is completely unloaded, it is suggested you obtain a concealed carry permit or carry it openly in a belt or shoulder holster.
- If you carry a weapon while on your ATV in Oregon, it is suggested that you:
- Carry your weapon openly with a loaded magazine but no round in the chamber, or
- Consider obtaining an Oregon concealed carry permit if you do not carry it openly or want to carry it with a round in the chamber, and
- Print out and carry a copy of ORS 821.240 “Operating Snowmobile or All-Terrain Vehicle while Carrying Firearm or Bow,” which nicely defines Oregon’s prohibition, exempts concealed carry permits and defines “loaded”. It can be found at http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/821.240 and is copied below for your convenience.
If anyone has official information that is contrary to any of the above or adds to it, please feel free to put it in a comment.
Brian Sack, Member of BATRC
Operating snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle while carrying firearm or bow
(1) A person commits the offense of operating a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle while carrying a firearm or bow if the person operates any snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle with a firearm in the possession of the person, unless the firearm is unloaded, or with a bow, unless all arrows are in a quiver.
(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to a person who is licensed under ORS 166.291 (Issuance of concealed handgun license) and 166.292 (Procedure for issuing) to carry a concealed handgun.
(3) As used in this section, unloaded means:
(a) If the firearm is a revolver, that there is no live cartridge in the chamber that is aligned with the hammer of the revolver;
(b) If the firearm is a muzzle-loading firearm, that the firearm is not capped or primed; or
(c) If the firearm is other than a revolver or a muzzle-loading firearm, that there is no live cartridge in the chamber.
(4) The offense described in this section, operating a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle while carrying a firearm or bow, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §729; 1985 c.393 §45; 1985 c.459 §31a; 1987 c.587 §14; 1989 c.991 §15a; 1991 c.589 §1; 2011 c.662 §6]