Maine law does not:
- Require the surrender of firearms or ammunition by people who have become prohibited from possessing them under state or federal law due to domestic violence; or
- Explicitly authorize or require the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident.
Firearm Prohibition for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants
Maine law temporarily prohibits a person from possessing a firearm if he or she has been convicted of:
- domestic violence assault,
- domestic violence criminal threatening,
- domestic violence terrorizing,
- domestic violence stalking,
- domestic violence reckless conduct, or
- a substantially similar crime in another jurisdiction.1
This prohibition expires 5 years from the date the person is finally discharged from the sentence imposed. This prohibition also applies to a person who has been adjudicated to have engaged in such conduct as a juvenile.2 This prohibition does not apply to a person who has been convicted of a similar crime towards a dating partner.3
Federal law may also apply.
Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Protective Orders
Like federal law , Maine law prohibits anyone from possessing a firearm if he or she is subject to a court order that restrains him or her from harassing, stalking or threatening his or her intimate partner or that partner’s child, or from engaging in other conduct that would place the intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the intimate partner or the partner’s child.
An intimate partner is 1) a current or former spouse; 2) someone s/he has a child in common with; or 3) someone who s/he currently lives with or used to live with. It does not cover other dating partners.
This provision applies only to a court order issued after a hearing that:
- Includes a finding that the person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner or child; or
- By its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against an intimate partner or a child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury.4
Maine also has a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order to allow family and household members, and dating partners, who are victims of domestic abuse to obtain expeditious and effective protection against further abuse. A court may, but is not required to, order a respondent to a PFA to relinquish firearms. Family and household members are defined as:
- present or former spouses or domestic partners;
- individuals presently or formerly living together as spouses;
- parents of the same child;
- adult household members related by consanguinity or affinity;
- minor children of a parent or guardian when the defendant is an adult household member of that parent or guardian;
- individuals presently or formerly living together; and
- individuals who are or were sexual partners.
Dating partners are individuals currently or formerly involved in dating each other, whether or not the individuals are or were sexual partners.
If, however, a court does issue a discretionary prohibition ordering the respondent not to possess firearms, the court shall direct the defendant to relinquish, within 24 hours after service of the final protection order on the defendant or such earlier time as the court specifies in the final protection order, all firearms to a law enforcement officer or other individual for the duration of the PFA. If the weapons are relinquished to an individual other than a law enforcement officer, the defendant must file, within 24 hours after such relinquishment, with the court or local law enforcement agency designated in the final protection order a written statement that contains the name and address of the individual holding the firearm and a description of all firearms held by that individual. The court may subsequently issue a search warrant authorizing a law enforcement officer to seize any firearms at any location if there is probable cause to believe such firearms have not been relinquished by the defendant.
Reporting of Domestic Violence Information
In Maine, law enforcement reports of domestic abuse must be made available for inspection by and dissemination to local agencies responsible for issuing concealed handgun permits, provided the records are necessary to the agencies’ determination of an applicant’s good moral character and compliance with the requirements related to such permits.5 No similar law addresses the availability of this information for use in firearm purchaser background checks.
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- Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1-B).
- Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1-B).
- See Me. Stat. 19-A § 4002 (defining “family and household members” separately from “dating partners.”)
- Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1)(D).
- Me. Stat., 25 § 2003(5) (referring to Tit. 19-A, § 4012(1) ).