Maryland has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and they continue to get more complex each year. If you are concerned about exercising your 2nd amendment rights in this state, you will need to understand specifically how you can buy, own, carry, and transport firearms within its borders. Failure to comply with any of these laws could find you facing a variety of weapons charges.
Gun Laws in Maryland
There are many laws in Maryland that regulate how you can own and use firearms. For the most part, the state has determined that it is unlawful for a person to “wear, carry, or transport a handgun, whether concealed or open.”
Before you can lawfully carry a firearm, you have to have obtained it properly. This means that it was legally transferred to you. Maryland law requires that legal registration of weapons be handled by a designated law enforcement agency or a licensed dealer. Both are required to conduct a background check through the State Police.
Maryland law prohibits the transfer of a firearm to anyone who is under the age of 21. Other rules include being convicted of a violent crime, having a history of drug or alcohol abuse, mental illness, being the subject of a protective order, among other exclusions outlined in the statutes.
There is a 7-day waiting period on the physical transfer of guns in Maryland, and a person is not permitted to buy more than one firearm within a 30-day period. A state permit is required to purchase a handgun but not a long gun. In general, you are not permitted to have assault weapons in the state of Maryland.
Even when possessing a firearm legally, it is not legal to carry it on your person or transport it under state law. There are exceptions to this rule. Some of the exceptions include:
- You are a law enforcement officer
- You have a concealed carry permit
- You are bringing your gun to a repair shop
- You are involved in a sporting event or target shoot
Even if you are legally transporting a gun, it should always be in a protected box and separate from the ammunition. It should also not be accessible by the driver of the vehicle. The state also gives law enforcement broad power to check if you are violating this law. In other words, the police can search you if they suspect you are carrying a weapon.
Maryland’s Concealed Carry Laws
Maryland does have a “Wear and Carry” program that will allow licensed gun owners to transport concealed weapons on their person. This is a program that has strict rules, and the state can issue these licenses at its discretion.
A person who wants a concealed carry permit in Maryland must pass a 16-hour course that mandates demonstrating proficiency with gun accuracy and safety.
Even if you have a concealed carry permit, this doesn’t give you free license to take your gun anywhere in the state. There are certain “gun-free zones” in Maryland that include legislative properties, school buildings, state parks and forests, and childcare centers.
It’s also important to note that Maryland does not offer reciprocity with other concealed carry states. This means that a person driving through Maryland with a valid concealed carry permit from another state could be arrested for illegal gun possession.
New Maryland Gun Laws in 2018
In October 2018, three additional laws went into effect in this state. The first, known as the red flag law, allows law enforcement and families to ask the courts to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms if there is a potential risk to themselves or others. A second law bans bump stocks in the state. And a third requires anyone that is convicted of domestic abuse to surrender guns that they already own.
Navigating Maryland’s Confusing Gun Laws
Not only are Maryland’s gun laws complex, but the penalties upon conviction can be harsh. Even for a misdemeanor charge, there could be a minimum jail sentence, which could be life-changing if it causes you to lose time from work or school.
If you have been charged with a gun crime of any kind, you should speak with a qualified Maryland gun crimes attorney as soon as possible. At Grabo Law, LLC, we will thoroughly review the facts of your case and do what is necessary to protect your rights and freedom. Contact our Rockville office now at 301.938.7652 to schedule your initial appointment.