DRIVING WITH FIREARMS
As we’re preparing for hunting season, let’s pause to ask ourselves one question. “Just because we can carry a loaded firearm in our vehicle; does that mean we should?” Oregon law does not prohibit someone for having a loaded shotgun or rifle in a motor vehicle. The prohibition of carrying a loaded shotgun or rifle only pertains to Class I, II, and III ATV’s such as quads, 3-wheelers, and motorcycles.
Statistics show that the majority of the hunter-shooting incidents occur in or around vehicles or camp. Based on reports from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website on hunting related incidents since 2003, Oregon has logged almost one hunter shooting incident per year that was a result of placing or removing a firearm from a vehicle.
Many of those incidents occurred when the victim thought the safety was on. Reports from Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers show that the vast majority of hunters contacted in their vehicles are carrying loaded firearms within reach of occupants.
Here are a few basic rules on firearm safety that everyone, not only hunters, should consider when around firearms.
• Treat every firearm as if it is loaded.
• Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
• Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it.
• Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
• Keep firearms unloaded until ready to use.
• Don’t rely on the firearm’s “safety”. A safety is a mechanical device that can and will fail.
So if you’re thinking about driving down the road with a loaded rifle or shotgun, consider not only your safety but the safety of others. By taking a few moments to ensure that you’re following some simple rules of firearm safety, you can immensely increase the chances that your outdoor experience will be a good one.
Your Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office asks that if you contacted by a police officer and you have a firearm in the vehicle, please don’t touch it, point to it or otherwise reach towards it. Please consider keeping your hands on the steering wheel. You can tell the officer about the firearm and he or she will likely ask you not to touch it and offer some other instructions depending upon the circumstances. You may be asked to exit your vehicle for a moment to talk and possibly complete the contact away from the firearm. Please remember that this is for everyone’s safety.
Unfortunately, law enforcement officers from around the nation are shot by “normal looking” citizens with firearms during “routine” traffic stops. Our hope is that all citizens arrive at their destination safely and our law enforcement officers return home to their families at the end of their shift.
For more tips and other information, visit our website at www.lincolncountysheriff.netShare on Facebook