Buying Ammo and Guns in Maine

This piece discusses the ammunition and firearms laws that govern the state of Maine. To do so, the piece starts off with coverage of the ammo laws, with an eye on the process of having ammunition shipped to a residential address within the state of ME. From there, we cover the firearm laws, focusing first on the buying of firearms in the state and then turning to the legalities of carrying a firearm. With that done, the piece ends with some resources that we think would be useful to folks who want to buy, own, and carry firearms in Maine.

This piece is not intended as legal advice. Instead, our aim here is that the piece should serve as a useful base of knowledge so that you can make your own informed decisions about firearms in the state.

Like many states, Maine has a preemption statute. This means that the state has declared that local political units such as cities, towns, and counties, cannot make firearms laws that are more strict than those at the state level. Preemption makes life simpler for firearms owners in the state, as it means that one single set of laws applies in the state. Once you have a good understanding of Maine state law, that same understanding will carry across the entire state.

Maine is something of an outlier in the typically highly-restrictive Northeast. For instance, the state expressly forbids the creation of a firearms registry. With that said, some local events hint to the anti-gun sentiment that can be found in the region, even if Maine’s laws remain relatively permissive at this time.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Maine 

First, we will cover the ammo laws of Maine.

Maine has generally permissive ammunition laws, with some exceptions. Maine’s primary restriction when it comes to ammunition is a ban on armor-piercing handgun ammunition - it is illegal to buy, sell, or possess such ammo in the state.

Aside from that, buying ammunition in the state of Maine follows federal guidelines. To be able to buy ammo anywhere in the US, two sets of requirements, set forth by the ATF, have to be met:

The first is an age requirement: people have to be eighteen years of age or older to buy ammunition for rifles or shotguns, and at least twenty-one to buy ammunition for handguns. The second requirement is that anyone buying ammo cannot be a prohibited person. The ATF defines prohibited persons as people who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, those who have been found mentally unfit in a court of law, and people who have been involuntarily committed to an inpatient mental health facility.

Assuming that those two sets of requirements are met, and the ammo is not armor-piercing, Maine’s state laws do not forbid people from having ammunition shipped to a residential address. With that said, some carriers impose their own restrictions. Commonly, carriers might ask for an adult with a valid form of identification to be present to sign for a package that contains ammunition.

Once the ammo arrives, Maine does not ban any kinds of magazines, so buyers can place the ammunition into whatever magazines they choose.

Maine’s ammunition laws are generally permissive, aside from the ban on armor-piercing rounds. The process for ordering most other types of ammunition to a residential address in Maine is as straightforward as it can be, considering that it follows Federal processes. 

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Maine 

Now we’ll do the same analysis for firearms laws in the state of Maine.

Much like the ammunition laws, the firearms laws are fairly permissive in Maine. The state does not have an assault weapons ban, either by naming specific weapons or by creating a list of forbidden features. Similarly, the state does not ban its residents from owning NFA items.

The firearms purchasing process in the state is governed mostly by federal regulations: Maine does not impose its own waiting periods, nor does it require people to do a background check when conducting private party sales. With that said, it is always advisable for private sellers to do their due diligence to ensure that the buyer of their firearm is neither a prohibited person nor too young to own the firearm being sold.

When buying a firearm at an FFL in Maine, the buyer should bring both a valid form of identification and a form of payment. The FFL will have the buyer complete ATF Form 4473 to do a background check. Once both the payment and background check are cleared, the buyer is welcome to leave with their new firearm in hand on the same day.

This might not be the case forever, however: there have been legislative proposals recently to institute state-level waiting periods for firearms purchases.

Carrying a firearm in Maine is also straightforward. Maine allows permitless carry-by statute: this statute allows people who can legally own firearms to carry them, either openly or concealed.

Like most states with permitless carry, Maine still maintains their concealed weapons permitting program. The main benefit of this is to allow Maine residents to be able to legally carry their firearms in other states. Many other states do, in fact, recognize Maine’s concealed carry permits.

With or without a permit, Maine maintains a list of places where it is prohibited to carry a firearm. This list includes: 

  • Courthouses

  • State parks

  • Schools

  • Federal buildings

  • The State Capitol

  • Private property when prohibited by the owner

  • Bars

  • Labor strikes

While lists like this one are not unusual, the inclusion of state parks is a little out of the ordinary, even amongst more restrictive states. For a fairly permissive state, this list is uncharacteristically restrictive on the right to carry firearms.

While the gun laws as they are now are permissive, there’s some evidence that the tides might be changing in Maine in terms of its ammo and firearms laws. In addition to the legislative proposals cited above, there are no more major manufacturers of firearms in the state. Without legislative will or economic roots in the state, the firearms industry, and thus firearms rights, are looking precarious in Maine.  For example, Maine has also passed a law mandating the safe storage of firearms and imposes penalties if children can access firearms in the home.

Currently, the gun and ammo laws in Maine are some of the most permissive in the nation. There’s a ban on armor-piercing ammunition, but such bans mostly rehash federal prohibitions anyway. With that said, there are some political and economic rumblings beginning in the state that point to it possibly becoming less firearms-friendly in the future.

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Maine 

Maine’s general sales tax rate is 5.5%, which does not vary by locality within the state. The state does not charge any additional taxes on the sale of firearms or ammunition. This is not one of the states where shopping around for different FFLs for tax reasons makes a difference.

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of every FFL in the United States, including in Maine. The list is kept up to date and can be used to locate gun stores. Usually, gun stores are either Type One or Type Two FFLs. 

  • is an excellent tool for finding ranges anywhere in the country. Use the filters for city, zip code, and distance to find local ranges wherever you need. Users can submit ranges, and the information is frequently fact-checked.

  • There are a number of well-rated gun stores in the state as well.

  • Gun Owners of Maine links to a number of localized firearms groups, which provide good sources of information about gun laws and events in Maine.

Maine Gun Law FAQ:

The state of Maine bans armor-piercing handgun ammo. Aside from that ban, it is legal for people to have ammo shipped to a residential address assuming that they are old enough (18 for long gun ammo and 21 for handgun ammo) and are not prohibited persons. A carrier might ask for an adult with ID to sign for the package.

The state does not require a permit to carry a firearm, whether openly or concealed. However, the state does still offer the permit for those who want to be able to carry out of state as well.

Yes and no. While the current set of laws is actually one of the most permissive in the Northeast, the political winds are changing in the state, and that change might not be as gun-friendly as the state has been historically.

Nope! Maine does not have anything in the way of firearms bans that make whole categories of firearms illegal. As long as the person is legally allowed to own a given firearm, Maine is also fine with it.

Yes. Maine has open carry on the books and does not require a permit to do so. Additionally, localities are not permitted to make gun laws in Maine that are stricter than those at the state level, but make sure to keep in mind that the state prevents the carrying of firearms in some places, such as schools.