Maryland has strict weapons and gun possession laws. If you are convicted of carrying a firearm in violation of state laws, you can face stiff penalties. Even for a misdemeanor possession charge, there could be a minimum jail sentence if you are found guilty of these charges. There will also be heightened penalties if you have prior convictions for similar offenses.
There are many scenarios in which you could be charged with unlawfully possessing a gun in Maryland. You might have a gun on your person that you haven’t obtained properly or you might have a weapon in a place or situation considered illegal by the state. There are also certain types of guns that are always considered illegal in Maryland.
If you have been charged with violating one of Maryland’s many gun possession laws, you need an experienced gun law attorney in your corner. At Grabo Law, LLC, our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to protecting your constitutional rights, and we provide passionate legal advocacy for each of our clients. This is never something you want to leave to chance.
Gun Possession Restrictions in Maryland
According to current federal law, certain people are not permitted to possess firearms in the United States. This includes anyone who has been convicted of certain felony or misdemeanor crimes punishable by over a year in prison. Others who are barred from gun possession include undocumented aliens, people who abuse alcohol or drugs, fugitives, and anyone dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
Maryland law also explicitly restricts who can legally possess a standard long gun or a regulated firearm. You could be charged with illegal possession if you meet any in a long list of disqualifications:
- Have been convicted of a violent crime in Maryland or similar laws in another state;
- Have been convicted of violating certain controlled substances laws in Maryland;
- Have been convicted of a crime that resulted in imprisonment of over two years;
- Is addicted to a controlled substance or a habitual drunkard;
- Has been determined to be “not criminally responsible” per state law;
- Has been found incompetent to stand trial under state law;
- Has a history of violent behavior and/or suffers from a mental disorder;
- Has been admitted voluntarily to a mental health facility for 30 or more consecutive days;
- Has been involuntarily committed to mental health facility per state law;
- Has a court-appointed guardian, except in cases where needed only for a physical disability;
- Is a respondent subject to an order of protection by the courts;
- If under 30 years old, a juvenile court has issued a ruling delinquency related to an act that would be disqualifying if committed by an adult.
Legal Ownership of Guns in Maryland
Even with the best intentions, you could find yourself facing some serious charges. The truth is that the rules in this state are so strict and confusing that a large number of people end up violating them without knowing it or intending to. Unfortunately, this is not a valid defense in a court of law.
State law requires that particular procedures be followed in the transfer of ownership of certain firearms. If you fail to follow any of these procedures, you could be charged with illegally possessing a gun. Before you buy or sell a gun, you must have a clear understanding of the type of weapon you are dealing with and the laws that apply to it.
Maryland does not regulate the sale of shotguns or rifles (referred to as long guns). Assault weapons and bump stocks are illegal in Maryland. There are plenty of rules related to the purchase and sale of handguns. To legally possess a handgun in Maryland, you must be at least 21 years old and go through the qualification and licensing process. This includes participating in a firearm training course, undergoing a background check, and paying a licensing fee.
When you purchase a firearm in Maryland, you should always use caution. Licensed dealers are the best option since you are taking the risk of getting an unregistered gun from a private owner. If you have questions about how to safely purchase a firearm in Maryland, you can contact our office for more information.
Legally Transporting Guns in Maryland
Assuming you legally own a firearm in Maryland, state law does not allow you to have those guns outside of your home or place of business without meeting certain conditions. For example, it is unlawful for a person to wear, carry, or transport a handgun in the state, whether open or concealed, unless they are:
- A law enforcement official or correctional officer;
- Transporting the gun to a shop for sale or repair;
- Going to a sporting event or target shoot; or
- In possession of a concealed carry permit.
Maryland does have an “Open Carry” program, but it is strict and very difficult to obtain a permit. There are about 13 types of places in Maryland that are considered to be gun-free zones. These include schools, childcare centers, legislative buildings, and Chesapeake Forest Lands.
Even if you meet the criteria allowing you to transport a gun, it’s important to follow some simple procedures. The first is to have your handgun license with you at all times. As a driver, you should not have access to the weapon while operating your vehicle. It should be stored in a secure box and ammunition should be in a separate case.
Speak with a Respected Maryland Gun Possession Lawyer
If you are facing gun possession charges in Maryland, this is a serious matter. Most people who find themselves in this situation are arrested with a gun that is either unregistered or unlawfully purchased. A first-time gun possession misdemeanor charge can carry harsh penalties upon conviction. These include three months to three years in jail and fines of up to $2,500. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, charges and penalties can be much steeper.
At Grabo Law, LLC, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to serving the specific needs of each client. We will look for weaknesses in your arrest and the circumstances surrounding your case to minimize the impact of these charges. If you were the victim of a mistake or false arrest, we will vigorously defend your rights and freedom.
Contact our office now at 301.938.7652 to schedule your initial consultation. You may also send a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.