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Legal Information: Maine

State Gun Laws

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March 4, 2020

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

Under Maine state law, a person cannot get a firearm permit –to have or buy a firearm– if any of the following apply:

  1. as an adult, s/he was convicted of (or found “not criminally responsible by reason of insanity” of) any of the following crimes:
  2. as a juvenile, s/he was found to have engaged in conduct that would have been considered any of the above-mentioned crimes if s/he committed the act as an adult. If it was “a crime that is punishable by a prison sentence of one year or more,” the prohibition only applies if, while committing the act, s/he caused bodily injury to another person or bodily injury was threatened;2
  3. there is a protection order against him/her that was issued after notice and a hearing, which does both of the following:
    • orders the abuser to not:
      • harass, stalk, or threaten an intimate partner or a child of his/her intimate partner; or
      • act in a way that would place the intimate partner in reasonable fear or bodily injury to himself/herself or to his/her child in Maine or any other state, in any U.S. territory, or in any commonwealth or tribe; and
    • either:
      • includes a determination that s/he represents a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner or child; or
      • specifically prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against an intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury;3
  4. s/he was involuntarily committed to a hospital because s/he was found to present a likelihood of causing serious harm;
  5. s/he was found to be “not criminally responsible by reason of insanity” for any crime;
  6. s/he was found to be “not competent to stand trial” for any crime;
  7. s/he is a fugitive from justice;
  8. s/he is an unlawful user of, or is addicted to, any controlled substance;
  9. s/he is an alien who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States or who was admitted under a nonimmigrant visa and who is prohibited from possession of a firearm under federal law (18 USC § 922(g)(5));
  10. s/he was a U.S. citizen and gave up (renounced) his/her citizenship; or
  11. s/he has been dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces.4

Note: In some situations, the restriction on getting a permit only lasts for a certain period of time. Once five years has passed after the adult or juvenile completes the sentence imposed as a result of one of the following convictions, s/he can re-apply for a permit to carry a firearm (but s/he still cannot get get a permit to carry a concealed handgun):

  • for adults, committing a crime that is punishable by a prison sentence of one year or more (usually, a felony); or
  • for juveniles, committing:
    • the crime described in paragraph 2 (above); or
    • any crime committed while using a firearm or other dangerous weapon in Maine, in another state, or in the Passamaquoddy Tribe or Penobscot Nation.5

However, if the conviction was for one of the domestic violence crimes listed in paragraph 1, there is the additional requirement that the person must not have been convicted of any crimes during the five-year period after completing the sentence. If the person is convicted of a new crime during the five-year period, s/he has to wait an additional five years after the sentence for that new crime is completed before applying for the firearm permit.6

The length of the prohibition is even shorter if the crime was nonviolent and was committed by a juvenile. If the juvenile did not cause or threaten bodily injury while committing any of the acts described in paragraph 1, s/he can get a firearm permit when s/he turns 18 or three years after completing of the sentence, whichever is later.7

Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 ME ST T. 15 § 393(1)(A-1), (1-B)
2 ME ST T. 15 § 393(1)(C), (1-B)(B)
3 ME ST T. 15 § 393(1)(D)
4 ME ST T. 15 § 393(1)(E), (1)(F)-(J)
5 ME ST T. 15 § 393(2)
6 ME ST T. 15 § 393(1-B)(B)
7 ME ST T. 15 § 393(1-A)