Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Concealed Carry in Maine.’ Guns in Public. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2 March
Concealed Weapons Permitting in Maine
Maine does not prohibit a person from carrying a concealed handgun in public if the person has a permit to carry a concealed handgun.
Maine is a "may issue" state, meaning that local law enforcement has discretion in determining whether or not to issue a concealed weapons permit to an applicant. Maine law provides that a permit to carry a concealed handgun "shall" be issued by the local issuing authority (Chief of the State Police or municipal officers or the local chief of police, if designated) to any applicant who "has demonstrated good moral character" and meets other specified criteria. Law enforcement has limited discretion in determining whether an applicant has demonstrated good moral character (see below). An applicant who has demonstrated good moral character will be granted a permit if he or she:
- Is 18 years of age or older;
- Is not disqualified from possessing a firearm (see the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally);
- Completes a detailed application that includes any record of previous issuances of, refusals to issue, and revocations of any permit to carry concealed weapons by any issuing authority in Maine or any other jurisdiction, and requests the applicant to answer 32 questions denying, inter alia, certain age restrictions, pending felony charges, felony convictions, other violent crimes or juvenile or other offenses, mental disorders, drug use;
- Takes whatever action is required by law to allow the issuing authority to obtain from the Department of Health and Human Services, the courts, law enforcement agencies and the military, information relevant to the application; and
- Demonstrates knowledge of handgun safety, as described below.
In judging the applicant's "good moral character," the licensing authority may only consider government records within the preceding five years, including but not limited to records regarding:
- Incidents of abuse by the applicant upon family or household members;
- Three or more misdemeanor convictions, or one or more juvenile offense adjudications involving conduct that would have been punishable by less than one year of imprisonment if committed by an adult;
- The applicant ever engaging in reckless or negligent conduct; or
- Convictions or juvenile adjudications for certain drug possession or trafficking offenses.
Firearm Safety Training
An applicant for a Maine concealed handgun permit must demonstrate knowledge of handgun safety by submitting to the issuing authority proof that the applicant has within the previous five years completed a course that included handgun safety offered by or under the supervision of a law enforcement agency or a firearms instructor certified by a private firearms association recognized as knowledgeable in matters of firearms safety by the issuing authority or by the state in which the course was taken. As an alternative way of fully satisfying this requirement, an applicant may personally demonstrate knowledge of handgun safety to an issuing authority, if the issuing authority is willing to evaluate an applicant's personal demonstration of such knowledge. The issuing authority is not required to offer this second option.
Duration & Renewal
Concealed handgun permits are valid for four years. Permit renewals are also valid for four years.
Disclosure or Use of Information
In Maine, all applications for a permit to carry a concealed handgun, documents created as part of an application, refusals to issue a permit and any information of record collected by the licensing agency during the process of ascertaining whether an applicant is of "good moral character" and meets the requirements for a permit are confidential and may not be made available for public inspection or copying. Furthermore, all proceedings related to the issuance, refusal to issue, or revocation of a permit are not public proceedings, unless requested to be by the applicant.
However, the licensing authority is required to make a permanent record of each permit to carry a concealed handgun in a suitable book or file kept for that purpose. The record must include the information contained in the permit itself and shall be available for public inspection. However, Maine has no law specifically requiring this information be collected for law enforcement purposes.
Finally, although municipal officers are required to publish an annual report regarding municipal affairs, such reports cannot contain the names of persons issued concealed handgun permits.
The Chief of the Maine State Police has the discretionary power to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states that:
- Have substantially equivalent or stricter requirements for the issuance of concealed handgun permits; and
- Observe the same rules of reciprocity regarding permits to carry concealed handguns under Maine law.
A person with a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm from a state that has been granted reciprocity is not required to obtain a Maine permit to carry a concealed handgun…
[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]