Know the Laws: Maine
UPDATED November 28, 2012
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Under Maine state law, the judge can order the defendant not to possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon while the temporary order is in effect if the complaint that you file demonstrates abuse that involves a firearm or other dangerous weapon or that there is a "heightened risk" of immediate abuse to you or your minor child. In determining whether or not a "heightened risk" of immediate abuse exists, the judge must consider the following factors (but s/he is not limited to only considering these factors):
If the judge prohibits the defendant from possessing dangerous weapons or firearms, the judge will direct the defendant to turn them over to a law enforcement officer or other individual within 24 hours after service of the order on the defendant (although the defendant has the right to file a motion in court to reverse this decision). Note: If the weapons are given to an individual (not law enforcement), the defendant must file a written statement that contains the name and address of the person holding the weapons and a description of all weapons held by that person within 24 hours after giving him/her the weapons to hold. The judge may later issue a search warrant authorizing a law enforcement officer to seize any firearms and other dangerous weapons at any location if there is probable cause to believe such firearms or dangerous weapons have not been turned over by the defendant.*
If your temporary protection from abuse order does not prohibit the abuser from having guns, the abuser most likely can keep his/her guns until a permanent order is issued. Under federal law, a defendant's gun(s) generally cannot be taken away before a permanent order is in place.**
* ME ST T. 19-A § 4006(2-A)
** There are exceptions, but these exceptions are rare. See United States v. Calor, 172 F. Supp. 2d 900 (E.D. Ky. 2001), aff'd, 340 F. 3d 428 (6th Cir. 2003)
It depends. If the protection from abuse (PFA) order states that the abuser cannot possess or buy a gun, then s/he cannot keep a gun or buy a new gun. If you apply for a protection from abuse order in Maine, the judge may, according to Maine state law, direct that the abuser cannot possess a gun or any other dangerous weapon while the order is in effect.*
Maine state law and federal law also state that when a civil court issues a Maine protection from abuse order (or an order from another state) against the abuser and that order meets the requirements outlined in the federal firearm statute, the abuser cannot buy or possess a gun.**
Note: Your protection from abuse order does not need to state that the abuser cannot have a gun for federal firearm law to apply.
For your protection from abuse order to meet federal law requirements, the defendant (the person who the protection from abuse order is filed against) must:
Maybe. The abuser does not have to come to the hearing for the law to apply to him/her, but s/he must be given notice of the hearing and have an opportunity to attend.*
If no hearing is scheduled and/or no notice is given about the protection from abuse order, then the federal firearm law might not apply to the abuser.**
* United States v. Bunnell, 106 F. Supp. 2d 60 (D. Me. 2000), aff'd 280 F. 3d 46 (1st Cir. 2002).
** United States v. Spruill, 292 F. 3d 207 (5th Cir. 2002).
To try to make it clear that the abuser cannot have a gun, here are a couple things you may want to ask for in court: