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Legal Information: Maine

State Gun Laws

Updated: 
March 4, 2020

If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

Under Maine state law, a person cannot get a firearm permit, which is necessary to legally 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” for, any of the following:

  1. domestic violence assault;
  2. domestic violence criminal threatening;
  3. domestic violence terrorizing;
  4. domestic violence stalking;
  5. domestic violence reckless conduct;
  6. a crime in Maine that is punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year or a similar crime in another state;
  7. a federal crime that is punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year
  8. a crime in another state that is punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year, not including misdemeanor crimes that are punishable by a prison sentence of two years or less; or
  9. any crime committed while using a firearm or other dangerous weapon in Maine, in another state, or in the Passamaquoddy Tribe or Penobscot Nation;1

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..2

After a certain amount of time passes, a person who was convicted of a crime could regain the right to get a firearm permit. See “If the abuser is prohibited from getting a firearm permit due to a criminal conviction, does the prohibition expire after a certain amount of time?” for more information.

Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict a person’s right to have a gun under certain circumstances. 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)

If the abuser is prohibited from getting a firearm permit due to a criminal conviction, does the prohibition expire after a certain amount of time?

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 a permit to carry a concealed handgun):

  • for adults, committing a crime that is punishable by a prison sentence of one year or more; or
  • for juveniles, committing:
    • crimes that would disqualify them from getting a permit if committed as an adult; 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.1

However, if the conviction was for one of the domestic violence crimes listed in paragraph 1 of “If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?,” 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.2

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 of “If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?,” s/he can get a firearm permit when s/he turns 18 or three years after completing of the sentence, whichever is later.3

1 ME ST T. 15 § 393(2)
2 ME ST T. 15 § 393(1-B)(B)
3 ME ST T. 15 § 393(1-A)

How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?

Criminal records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access. If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.

To read more about the NICS, please see the question, What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?