December 23, 2012

Rules mostly affect minors, concealed weapons

By Jessica Hall jhall@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The rules governing the carrying and use of guns in Maine are subject to state oversight. The use of machine guns is governed by federal rules.

Below is a summary of current regulations. 

Rifles and shotguns:

No permit is need to purchase or carry rifles and shotguns.

Gun owners do not need to register rifles and shotguns.

Handguns:

No permit is needed to purchase a handgun.

Gun owners do not need to register handguns.

A special permit is necessary to carry a concealed handgun. 

Purchasing guns:

Dealers must keep a record of all firearm sales and rentals. The record includes the make, caliber and serial number of the firearm and the name and address of the purchaser. This record is available to law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys.

A firearms dealer must include a safety brochure with every firearm sold. 

Antiques and replicas:

The rules on possession, purchasing and carrying guns apply to antiques and replicas. 

Children:

A parent, guardian or an adult approved by a parent of guardian can accompany a child between the ages of 10 and 16 years old while hunting. Children under the age of 10 are not eligible for a hunting license.

It is a crime for a person to knowingly sell or provide to a child under the age of 16 air rifles, gunpowder, or ammunition.

It is against the law for any person to transfer a handgun to someone under 18 years old.

Leaving a firearm and ammunition within easy access of a child may trigger a fine, imprisonment or both.

A juvenile convicted of selected non-violent offenses cannot own a firearm for three years or until 18 years of age, whichever is longer. 

Carrying:

It is against the law to carry any concealed firearm without a special concealed carrying permit.

This includes carrying in an auto glove compartment, or other area where the firearm is under the person's control.

It is not against the law to carry a firearm openly.

Except for law enforcement in the line of duty, it is against the law for a person in a motor vehicle or trailer to have a firearm with a cartridge or shell in the chamber or in an attached magazine, clip or cylinder.

A person who has a valid Maine permit to carry a concealed weapon, however, may have a loaded pistol or revolver covered by the permit in a motor vehicle or trailer.

To get a concealed weapon permit, the applicant must be 18 years of age or older, not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state law, and be of good moral character.

In judging good moral character, authorities shall make its determination based upon evidence recorded by governmental entities within the last five years.

Applicants for concealed carry permits must provide name, personal information, physical description, address(es) for the last five years, and history of any issuances, refusals or revocation of any carry licenses.

The applicant may be required to provide a photograph, give fingerprints or allow access to mental health records.

The person also must answer more than 30 questions ranging from history of restraining orders, mental disorders, criminal background and other issues.

l It is not legal to openly carry in places that directly serve alcohol such as bars, clubs and certain restaurants.

It is not legal to openly carry in federal buildings.

The firearm ban in Acadia Natonal Park was amended to allow concealed weapons by permit holders and by law enforcement. 

Machine guns:

A machine gun is any weapon that is designed to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manually reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

It is legal to possess a machine gun that is legally registered and possessed in compliance with all federal laws.

It is illegal to hunt with or possess an automatic firearm while hunting.

Federal law requires machine guns to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Only automatic weapons manufactured and registered with the federal government before 1986 can be bought, owned and sold.

Individuals must get prior ATF approval when transferring machine guns to another owner

Machine guns cannot cross state lines without ATF approval.

Anyone acquiring a machine gun must pass a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background investigation. 

Miscellaneaous:

A person is guilty of a criminal offense if he/she alters, removes or obscures the manufacturer's serial number or any other distinguishing identification number or mark on a firearm.

It is illegal to discharge a firearm within 100 yards of a residential dwelling without the permission of the owner or an adult occupant of the home. 

Hunting:

It is illegal to hunt with an auto-loading firearm having a magazine capacity of more than five cartridges.

It is illegal to hunt with a silencer, tracer bullets, exploding bullets.

It is illegal to hunt migratory game birds with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless the gun is modified to only allow three shells in the magazine and chamber combined.

A person under the age of 10 years of age is not eligible for a hunting license.

It is against the law to allow a junior hunter (under the age of 16) to hunt without that hunter's parent or guardian, or a person at least 18 years of age approved by that hunter's parent or guardian who either holds a valid Maine hunting license or has successfully completed an approved hunter safety course.

A hunter who is 16 years of age and who is hunting with a junior hunting license must complete a hunter safety course prior to hunting without the adult supervision.

SOURCE: The NRA Institute for Legislative Action, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

jhall@mainetoday.com

 

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