The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides residents the right to bear arms. Maine’s Constitution is quite clear on gun rights: “Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.”
While the federal and state constitutional rights are plain to see, the right to own guns can be controversial. While most people believe some limitations (like no guns in day care centers) could be acceptable, the question is what types of limits are OK? Which are not?
Maine’s Gun Laws
While gun rights advocates find Maine supportive of gun ownership, some may take this too far. The small town of Byron (population 140) wanted to require everyone to own a gun, which is symbolic since most if not all of the homes already had a gun. However, as Maine gun laws are state laws, not municipal or local law, the vote is irrelevant.
Some critics find Maine’s gun control laws far too lax. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave Maine an “F” grade for its gun laws because it, for example, doesn't require:
These gun controls laws are intended to make Maine safer while permitting recreational gun use, such as hunting, clay target shooting, and gun range shooting.
Maine’s Gun Laws
The following table details the primary gun laws in Maine.
|Code Sections||Maine Code Revised Title 15, Section 393: Possession of Firearms by Prohibited Persons and Title 17-A, Chapter 43: Weapons|
|Illegal Arms||Maine and federal law (National Firearms Act) prohibits carrying certain guns, without authorization. For example, a machine gun is illegal unless a member of the Armed Forces or law enforcement carrying the weapon as part of official duties. Also, armor-piercing ammunition is prohibited.|
|Who Can’t Have a Gun?||Persons convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for one year or more (including juveniles) can’t have guns.
Five years after being discharged from prison or probation, a felon can apply for a permit to carry a firearm. However, that person can’t be given a concealed weapon permit.
A person who’s been involuntarily committed to a psychiatrist hospital, found not criminally responsible because insane, or not competent to stand trial also can’t have a gun.
|Guns at School||For obvious safety reasons, you can’t carry a gun to school. Possessing a firearm on a public or private school property is a Class E crime (misdemeanor). You also can’t discharge a firearm within 500 feet of a school. There are exceptions for school-operated gun ranges, for example.|
|Guns in Bars||You can’t carry a firearm to a bar, club, bowling alley, hotel, or any establishment with a liquor license. The establishment must post something to let you know not to bring a gun in. Be safe, your hunting rifle, for example, could be left unloaded and locked in the toolbox attached to your truck or the trunk of your car.|
|Guns at Court||Unless you’re a police officer or corrections officer carrying a gun in the line of duty, you can’t carry a gun to court.|
|Concealed Carry||Maine does provide concealed handgun permits for interested gun owners. Maine also has reciprocity for concealed carry permits with these other states:
Getting Legal Help
Note: State laws are change regularly; you should conduct your own legal research or contact an attorney to verify these state gun laws.
Research the Law
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