Ammunition Regulation in Maine

Maine law prohibits knowingly selling, furnishing, giving or offering to sell, furnish or give ammunition to a child under 16 years of age.1 Federal age restrictions for ammunition sales are stricter.

Maine law prohibits knowingly possessing armor-piercing ammunition, other than as part of a bona fide collection.2 The Maine definition of “armor-piercing ammunition” differs slightly from the federal definition of armor-piercing ammunition.

Maine does not:

See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Me. Stat., 17-A § 554(1)(B). A defense exists if the defendant was the parent, foster parent, guardian or an adult approved by the parent, foster parent or guardian who furnished the child under 16 years of age ammunition for use in a supervised manner. Me. Stat., 17-A § 554(2)(C). ⤴︎
  2. Me. Stat., 17-A § 1056. ⤴︎

Background Check Procedures in Maine

See our Background Check Procedures policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

Maine is not a point of contact state for the NICS. Maine has no law requiring firearms dealers to initiate background checks prior to transferring a firearm. As a result, in Maine firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.1

Maine does not require private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm. See our Private Sales policy summary.

Notes
  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map. ⤴︎

Categories of Prohibited People in Maine

See our Categories of Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Maine law provides that a person may not possess a firearm if he or she has been convicted of committing, or found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity of committing, a crime under:

  • A law of Maine that is punishable by imprisonment for one year or more;
  • A federal law that is punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  • A law of another state that is punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, excluding crimes classified as misdemeanors in the state carrying a penalty of imprisonment of two years or less;
  • A law of any other state that is “elementally substantially similar” to a crime in Maine that is punishable by a term of imprisonment for one year or more; or
  • A law in a proceeding in which the prosecuting authority was required to prove that the crime was committed with the use of a dangerous weapon.1

In addition, a person may not possess a firearm if that person has been adjudicated to have engaged in conduct as a juvenile that, if committed by an adult, would have been a disqualifying conviction listed above if bodily injury to another person was threatened and resulted, or if the prosecuting authority was required to prove that the crime was committed with the use of a dangerous weapon, regardless of bodily injury.2 A person who has been adjudicated under federal or state law to have engaged in conduct as a juvenile that, if committed by an adult, would have been a disqualifying conviction as listed above, but which didn’t threaten and result in bodily injury, may not own or have in his or her possession or control a firearm for three years following completion of any disposition imposed, or until that person reaches age 18, whichever is later.3

Maine also prohibits possession of a firearm by anyone who has been:

  • Committed involuntarily to a hospital pursuant to an order of the District Court after a hearing because the person was found to present “a likelihood of serious harm,” as defined under Maine law;
  • Found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity with respect to a criminal charge; or
  • Found not competent to stand trial with respect to a criminal charge.4

Maine law also incorporates the federal prohibitions against firearm possession by any person who:

  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is an unlawful user of or is addicted to any controlled substance;
  • Is an alien who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States or who was admitted under a nonimmigrant visa;
  • Has been discharged from the United States Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions; or
  • Has renounced that person’s U.S. citizenship.5

See the Maine Domestic Violence and Firearms section for information about Maine’s firearm prohibitions for domestic abusers.

Restoration of Firearm Rights for Felons and Juvenile Offenders: A person subject to the prohibition against firearm possession because of a criminal conviction or juvenile adjudication may, after the expiration of five years from the date the person is finally discharged from the sentences imposed, apply to the Maine Commissioner of Public Safety for a permit to possess a firearm (known in Maine as a “permit to carry a firearm”). The Commissioner must notify local law enforcement about the application, and local law enforcement is given an opportunity to object.6 The Commissioner may deny an application even if no objection is filed, and must deny an application if a proper objection is filed. A permit to possess a firearm issued to a convicted felon or juvenile offender remains valid for four years.7 For provisions restoring firearms rights to the mentally ill, see the Maine Mental Health Reporting section.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Maine Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1). ⤴︎
  2. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1)(C). ⤴︎
  3. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1-A). ⤴︎
  4. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1)(E). ⤴︎
  5. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1)(F-J). ⤴︎
  6. The relevant procedures were amended in 2009. See 2009 Me. ALS 503. ⤴︎
  7. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(2). A convicted felon or juvenile offender granted a permit to possess a firearm may not be issued a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Id. ⤴︎

Concealed Carry in Maine

See our Concealed Carry policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Permitless Carry

Maine allows any individual who is 21 years of age or older and who is not generally prohibited from possessing firearms to carry a concealed handgun in public without obtaining a permit.1 As described below, Maine’s permitting system remains in place, and there are still reasons why one might choose to obtain a concealed handgun permit. For example, holders of Maine concealed handgun permits are also allowed to carry concealed handguns in some other states.

The only requirements imposed on people who carry handguns in public without a permit under Maine law are that:

  • they must be 21 years of older and not generally prohibited from possessing firearms;
  • upon purchase of a handgun, they must sign in the presence of the firearms dealer an acknowledgment saying that they have received the firearms safety brochure developed by the State Police, and retain the acknowledgement; and
  • upon contact with a law enforcement officer, they must inform the officer that they are carrying a concealed handgun.2

Concealed Handgun Licenses

Maine law provides that a permit to carry a concealed handgun “shall” be issued by the local issuing authority (Chief of the State Police or municipal officers or the local chief of police, if designated) to any applicant who “has demonstrated good moral character” and meets other specified criteria.3 Law enforcement has limited discretion in determining whether an applicant has demonstrated good moral character (see below). An applicant who has demonstrated good moral character will be granted a permit if he or she:

  • Is 18 years of age or older;
  • Is not disqualified from possessing a firearm (see the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally);
  • Completes a detailed application that includes any record of previous issuances of, refusals to issue, and revocations of any permit to carry concealed weapons by any issuing authority in Maine or any other jurisdiction, and requests the applicant to answer 32 questions denying, inter alia, certain age restrictions, pending felony charges, felony convictions, other violent crimes or juvenile or other offenses, mental disorders, drug use;
  • Takes whatever action is required by law to allow the issuing authority to obtain from the Department of Health and Human Services, the courts, law enforcement agencies and the military, information relevant to the application; and
  • Demonstrates knowledge of handgun safety, as described below.

In judging the applicant’s “good moral character,” the licensing authority may only consider government records within the preceding five years, including but not limited to records regarding:

  • Incidents of abuse by the applicant upon family or household members;
  • Three or more misdemeanor convictions, or one or more juvenile offense adjudications involving conduct that would have been punishable by less than one year of imprisonment if committed by an adult;
  • The applicant ever engaging in reckless or negligent conduct; or
  • Convictions or juvenile adjudications for certain drug possession or trafficking offenses.4

Firearm Safety Training

An applicant for a Maine concealed handgun permit must demonstrate knowledge of handgun safety by submitting to the issuing authority proof that the applicant has within the previous five years completed a course that included handgun safety offered by or under the supervision of a law enforcement agency or a firearms instructor certified by a private firearms association recognized as knowledgeable in matters of firearms safety by the issuing authority or by the state in which the course was taken.5 As an alternative way of fully satisfying this requirement, an applicant may personally demonstrate knowledge of handgun safety to an issuing authority, if the issuing authority is willing to evaluate an applicant’s personal demonstration of such knowledge. The issuing authority is not required to offer this second option.6

Duration & Renewal

Concealed handgun permits are valid for four years. Permit renewals are also valid for four years.7

Disclosure or Use of Information

In Maine, all applications for a permit to carry a concealed handgun, documents created as part of an application, refusals to issue a permit and any information of record collected by the licensing agency during the process of ascertaining whether an applicant is of “good moral character” and meets the requirements for a permit are confidential and may not be made available for public inspection or copying.8 Furthermore, all proceedings related to the issuance, refusal to issue, or revocation of a permit are not public proceedings, unless requested to be by the applicant.9

However, the licensing authority is required to make a permanent record of each permit to carry a concealed handgun in a suitable book or file kept for that purpose.10 The record must include the information contained in the permit itself and shall be available for public inspection.11 However, Maine has no law specifically requiring this information be collected for law enforcement purposes.

Finally, although municipal officers are required to publish an annual report regarding municipal affairs, such reports cannot contain the names of persons issued concealed handgun permits.12

Reciprocity

Maine law allows a nonresident to carry a concealed handgun in Maine if that person’s state of residence honors a Maine permit to carry a concealed handgun and that person has obtained a permit to carry a concealed  handgun from the person’s state of residence, regardless of the standards for obtaining a permit from that state.13

Notes
  1. Me. Stat., 25 § 2001-A(2)(A-1). Note that a Maine “permit to carry a concealed handgun” differs from a Maine “permit to carry a firearm.” A “permit to carry a firearm” is a permit issued to a person formerly prohibited from possessing firearms, whose eligibility to possess firearms has been temporarily restored. ⤴︎
  2. Me. Stat. § 2001-A25; Me. Stat. § 2003-A. ⤴︎
  3. Me. Stat., 25 § 2003(1). ⤴︎
  4. Me. Stat., 25 § 2003(4). Additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit suspension and disqualification information, are detailed under section 2003 and section 2005-A. Permit revocation information is detailed under section 2005(1). ⤴︎
  5. Me. Stat., 25 § 2003(1)(E)(5). ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Me. Stat., 25 § 2003(8). ⤴︎
  8. Me. Stat., 25 § 2006. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. Me. Stat., 30-A § 2801(3-A). ⤴︎
  13. Me. Stat., 25 § 2001-A(2)(F). ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards in Maine

Maine does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. However, Maine’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate “junk guns,” as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act, Me. Stat., 5 §§ 205-A through 214. For details, see, “Targeting Safety.” For details, see Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Maine

Maine law does not:

• Require the surrender of firearms or ammunition by domestic abusers who have become prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law; or

• Explicitly authorize or require the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

Firearm Prohibition for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants

Maine law temporarily prohibits a person from possessing a firearm if he or she has been convicted of:

  • domestic violence assault,
  • domestic violence criminal threatening,
  • domestic violence terrorizing,
  • domestic violence stalking,
  • domestic violence reckless conduct, or
  • a substantially similar crime in another jurisdiction.1

This prohibition expires 5 years from the date the person is finally discharged from the sentence imposed. This prohibition also applies to a person who has been adjudicated to have engaged in such conduct as a juvenile.2 This prohibition does not apply to a person who has been convicted of a similar crime towards a dating partner.3

Federal law may also apply.

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Protective Orders

Like federal law, Maine law prohibits anyone from possessing a firearm if he or she is subject to a court order that restrains him or her from harassing, stalking or threatening his or her intimate partner or that partner’s child, or from engaging in other conduct that would place the intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the intimate partner or the partner’s child. This provision applies only to a court order issued after a hearing that:

  • Includes a finding that the person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner or child; or
  • By its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against an intimate partner or a child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury.4

Reporting of Domestic Violence Information

In Maine, law enforcement reports of domestic abuse must be made available for inspection by and dissemination to local agencies responsible for issuing concealed handgun permits, provided the records are necessary to the agencies’ determination of an applicant’s good moral character and compliance with the requirements related to such permits.5 No similar law addresses the availability of this information for use in firearm purchaser background checks.

 

See our Domestic Violence & Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1-B). ⤴︎
  2. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1-B). ⤴︎
  3. See Me. Stat. 19-A § 4002 (defining “family and household members” separately from “dating partners.”) ⤴︎
  4. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1)(D). ⤴︎
  5. Me. Stat., 25 § 2003(5) (referring to Tit. 19-A, § 4012(1) ). ⤴︎