Maine Gun Laws: A Quick Guide
Overview of Maine State Gun Laws
Maine gun laws are considered to be lax by its neighboring states, with its minimum restrictive policies on ownership and carrying. Although blue during election times, this northern state is full of gun enthusiasts and supporters. More severe Gun Control laws were brought to the vote late in 2019 and they were shut down by the state senate. For instance, instead of a “red flag law” or Extreme Risk Protection Orders that are being adopted by many states, Main has their own version nicknamed the “yellow flag law”. It was put into place mid-2020, and it is a milder version that allows for a more traditional due process of law. There is an interesting article detailing the change on the Bearing Arms website.
In Maine, there are no permits required to purchase or possess firearms. Maine allows permit less carry, open carry, and a version of Castle Doctrine. The State is very strict about self-defense laws and requires a Duty to Retreat in almost every circumstance outside of the person’s home.
Age Limits and Allowed Persons
The minimum age to possess or purchase a handgun is 18. Although, a parent may transfer a rifle/shotgun to a person aged 16-18.
Maine enforces all Federal restrictions on who may possess a firearm. Additionally, Maine prohibits those who have poor mental health records and anyone previously convicted of violent crimes. For more details, check out Justia US Law for the full legislation.
Self Defense Laws in Maine
Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine
Stand Your Ground laws are a type of self-defense law that allows for deadly force without the need to retreat. Additionally, Castle Doctrine allows for deadly force within one’s own home without the need for retreat. Maine upholds a soft version of Castle Doctrine but requires a Duty to Retreat before excusing the use of deadly force.
Basically, in Maine, the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that they attempted to remove themselves from the lethal situation. If the person cannot prove the life-threatening danger and the fact that they could not retreat, then they will not be able to use self-defense in a court of law. As always, self-defense is not valid if the defendant incited or provoked the incident.
Maine’s Concealed Carry Laws
Updates and Changes
In 2015, Maine passed the Public Law 2015, Chapter 327 (LD 652), “An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit”. This allows for people to conceal carry, and open carry, without a permit. Of course, a person must be legally able to possess a weapon and not prohibited by law. Maine is still a “shall issue” permit state, as they still want to offer concealed permit reciprocity with other states.
Age/Requirements for carrying a Weapon
A permit is not required if the person is over the age of 21. Special exceptions for those who are between the ages of 18 and 21 who are active or retired military personnel. When a person comes in contact with a law officer, it must be made known that you are carrying a weapon.
Process of Applying for a CWP
An applicant must be 18 or older to submit an application. The state requires proof of a handgun safety course in the last 5 years or basic firearms training from the military. The concealed carry permit is valid for 4 years. Holding a permit provides value to residents who wish to travel to states that offer license reciprocity.
Open Carry and Constitutional Carry
Constitutional Carry is the right to carry a handgun (open or concealed) without a permit or license. Meanwhile, Open Carry is the right to carry any loaded firearm where others can see it. Maine supports both of these ideologies, allowing for permitless concealed carry and open carry. The state does require age and location restrictions.
Age and Location Restrictions
Location restrictions for open carry include courthouses, schools, and any private property that prohibits it. In Maine, a person must be at least 21 years old to open or conceal carry in public.
FAQ: Maine Gun Laws
It's always a good idea to look up state laws before moving or traveling there. Often, laws are updated and changed without much notice. Usually, the best source is always the official government website. Be sure to check out Maine.gov if you have any additional questions.
Can I Carry a Gun in My Car in Maine?
Yes, anyone over the age of 21 may have a loaded firearm in the vehicle, as long as they are not otherwise prohibited.
Are There Any Firearm Restrictions in Maine?
No. Although, the Federal restrictions on weapons and ammunition still apply in Maine.
Interestingly, Maine allows machine guns and semi-automatic firearms as long as they are in compliance with Federal Law.
I’m from another state, what CWP’s (Concealed Weapons Permit) will Maine Honor?
Resident permits from the following states will be recognized in Maine as of January 2021:
- Alabama - Yes
- Alaska - Yes (must be 21 or older)
- Arizona (must be 21 or older)
- Delaware - Yes
- Florida - Yes
- Georgia - Yes
- Idaho - Yes
- Iowa- Yes (must be 21 or older)
- Kansas -Yes (must be 21 or older)
- Kentucky - Yes
- Louisiana - Yes
- Michigan - Yes
- Mississippi - Yes
- Missouri - Yes
- Nebraska -Yes (must be 21 or older)
- New Hampshire -Yes
- North Carolina - Yes
- North Dakota - Yes (must be 21 or older)
- Ohio - Yes
- Oklahoma - Yes
- Utah - Yes
- Virginia - Yes (must be 21 or older and possess government-issued identification)
- Wyoming - Yes
*Please be aware that this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Also, be sure to consult with an attorney if you have any legal questions.*