“Possession and Transfer” just got more Complex

We have been seeing a variety of states incorporating laws that significantly impact “Possession and Transfer” laws for gun owners. And the trend seems to be continuing with Maine being added to the list of those making significant changes.

In a recent article, “Bloomberg Tries to Buy Gun Control in Maine,” they talk about the upcoming changes that can affect residents of Maine. While we may not be living in Maine, it is important for all gun owners, regardless of where they live, to understand how other states are enacting laws affecting their ownership of firearms. It gives us both a window into the future of what states are doing and also lets us know what the laws of other states are in case we decide to visit and possess a firearm.

This latest impact to Maine is similar to the recent changes that occurred in both Washington and Oregon State. Both of them enacted new “background check” laws that had a significant impact on their “Possession and Transfer” laws. And in all cases, it impacts more than just giving your guns to family and friends, it has to do with allowing others to even shoot your firearm. Here are some quotes from the article to give you a better idea of what is happening in Maine that we can all learn from…

“Billionaire and ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has used Maine’s Citizen’s Initiative Process to almost single-handedly fund a campaign to make his version of universal background checks the law of the land in the Pine Tree State.

Question 3 asks, “Do you want to require background checks prior to the sale or transfer of firearms between individuals not licensed as firearms dealers, with failure to do so punishable by law, and with some exceptions for family members, hunting, self-defense, lawful competitions, and shooting range activity?”

The fine print of this legislation dictates exactly how, when, where, and with whom firearm owners and sportsmen may “exchange, sell and lend” their guns, with very strict penalties for breaking the law. This is because Question 3 applies to all sales and transfers of a firearm. The definition of “transfer” under this law cites an existing statute, stating that “‘Transfer’ means to sell, furnish, give, lend, deliver or otherwise provide, with or without consideration.”

This illustrates how an exemption is more like a landmine, ripe with ways for hunters to become criminals. It severely restricts the ability of hunting guides in Maine to lend firearms to clients who may have limited access to firearms while traveling through states with strict gun-control laws.

And perhaps the most damning part of this law is the penalties for violations. First-time offenders would be charged with a Class D crime, which can carry a $2,000 fine and just under a year in prison, and the second offense would result in a Class C crime, which is a felony that carries a prison sentence of up to five years, a $5,000 fine, and (under federal law) the permanent loss of the right to own or possess a firearm.”

So when you look at all the issues surrounding this situation in Maine, it is easy to see how much more complex gun ownership can be if you don’t fully understand the laws and the penalties. The penalties are severe and so it is important to fully understand where you are crossing the line as a gun owner. These are not something to be ignored and as more and more states seem to be following in the footsteps (and precedence’s) of other states, it becomes even more important for gun owners to understand more laws than just those in our state.

These laws are not just “for other state citizens” but are becoming important for “all citizens” to understand as they get more and more complex and diverse. It is important to get a legal interpretation of whatever it is you are doing when it comes to firearms so you can be both informed and act accordingly. When you do this, you set yourself up to…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.

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