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What to Know About Maine’s Gun Laws After Suffering the Deadliest Mass Shooting of 2023 


The country is reeling this morning from the deadliest mass shooting of the year after a gunman shot and killed at least 18 people and injured 13 more in Lewiston, Maine last night. Authorities are still searching for the shooter as the community remains under a lockdown order and schools and businesses remain closed. The horrific situation underscores the need for urgent action at every level to prevent gun violence and save lives. Maine has weak gun laws and state leaders have also actively rejected efforts to pass background check policies and other common-sense gun safety measures. They must do more to prevent gun violence.

According to Everytown’s gun law rankings, Maine is 25th in the country for strength of gun laws because it is missing key foundational gun laws. 
The state does not: 

  • Require background checks on all gun sales 
  • Have an Extreme Risk law
  • Require violent domestic abusers to relinquish their illegal guns
  • Ban assault weapons
  • Limit magazine capacity
  • Require concealed carry permits
  • Restrict open carry
  • Have a waiting period

Maine lawmakers should act urgently to pass an Extreme Risk law which would allow law enforcement and family members to petition for a court order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns. An Extreme Risk law can help stop a shooter who shows dangerous warning signs from accessing a gun and prevent shootings before they happen.

Just this past June, lawmakers in the Senate defeated a measure that would have required background checks on all gun sales and last session, Republicans in Maine rejected a bill that would have required a 72-hour waiting period to buy a gun. Maine lawmakers also rejected an effort in 2019 to pass an Extreme Risk law and instead passed a weak alternative that made removing firearms from people in crisis extremely difficult, dramatically  undermining its original purpose and limiting its public safety benefits.

In an average year, 163 people die by guns in Maine. With a rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people, Maine has the 39th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. Statistics about gun violence in Maine are available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Rankings – which shows how Maine gun laws compared to those of other states – is available here

If you’re interested in talking to a local Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action volunteer or policy expert from Everytown for Gun Safety, please reach out to [email protected]