This is one we get from concerned citizens who want to protect themselves from crime in Maryland: What Kind of dangerous Weapons am I not allowed to wear or carry in Maryland?
This blog discusses dangerous weapons you cannot wear or carry in Maryland.
The best way to answer that question is to review the current Maryland Dangerous weapons criminal law. This law applies in the State of Maryland, however, some counties and cities have their own rules and regulations as it pertains to weapons, like knives and stun guns. You want to check with your local government and their county code to make sure you are abiding by the laws.
ATTENTION: CHECK LOCAL LAWS BEFORE CARRYING A WEAPON
Maryland Criminal Law 4-101 defines Dangerous Weapons and which types of weapons you are not allowed to wear and carry in Maryland.
Maryland Law for Wearing and Carrying a Dangerous Weapon – What you cannot wear or carry:
Maryland Criminal Law 4-101 (c) states:
(c) (1) A person may not wear or carry a dangerous weapon of any kind concealed on or about the person.
(2) A person may not wear or carry a dangerous weapon, chemical mace, pepper mace, or a tear gas device openly with the intent or purpose of injuring an individual in an unlawful manner.
OK, we know what you cannot carry; a “Dangerous Weapon,” but what is a dangerous weapon as defined by Maryland Criminal Law. Oh, and you cannot carry chemical mace, pepper mace, or a tear gas devise openly with the intent or purpose of injuring an individual or in an unlawful manner. So that means you can carry it concealed.
What is a Dangerous Weapon in Maryland?
Well, the Statute does not define a dangerous weapon, it does define a weapon. This is not a legal argument you would want to make to a police officer if he or she finds you with a weapon, leave that to the lawyers when you appear in Court. But as a general rule, let’s assume that the legislature intended to mean “weapon” when they prohibited “dangerous weapons.” What are weapons in Maryland as defined by Maryland Criminal Law 4-101 (5):
(5) (i) “Weapon” includes a dirk knife, bowie knife, switchblade knife, star knife, sandclub, metal knuckles, razor, and nunchaku.
(ii) “Weapon” does not include:
1. a handgun; or
2. a penknife without a switchblade.
All right, so we know we cannot wear or carry those items, but what in the world is a star knife or a sandclub? The Statute does define some of the items:
(a) (1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
(2) “Nunchaku” means a device constructed of two pieces of any substance, including wood, metal, or plastic, connected by any chain, rope, leather, or other flexible material not exceeding 24 inches in length.
(3) (i) “Pepper mace” means an aerosol propelled combination of highly disabling irritant pepper-based products.
(ii) “Pepper mace” is also known as oleoresin capsicum (o.c.) spray.
(4) “Star knife” means a device used as a throwing weapon, consisting of several sharp or pointed blades arrayed as radially disposed arms about a central disk.
Exceptions to the Rule for Wearing and Carrying a Dangerous Weapon in Maryland
OK, so now we know what we cannot wear or carry in Maryland, are there any exceptions to the rules in Maryland? Of course there are exceptions, and they are:
Maryland Criminal Law 4-101 States:
(b) This section does not prohibit the following individuals from carrying a weapon:
(1) an officer of the State, or of any county or municipal corporation of the State, who is entitled or required to carry the weapon as part of the officer’s official equipment, or by any conservator of the peace, who is entitled or required to carry the weapon as part of the conservator’s official equipment, or by any officer or conservator of the peace of another state who is temporarily in this State;
(2) a special agent of a railroad;
(3) a holder of a permit to carry a handgun issued under Title 5, Subtitle 3 of the Public Safety Article; or
(4) an individual who carries the weapon as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger, subject to the right of the court in an action arising under this section to judge the reasonableness of the carrying of the weapon, and the proper occasion for carrying it, under the evidence in the case.
(3) (i) This paragraph applies in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Caroline County, Cecil County, Harford County, Kent County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, St. Mary’s County, Talbot County, Washington County, and Worcester County.
Minors Wearing and Carrying a Dangerous Weapon in Maryland
(ii) A minor may not carry a dangerous weapon between 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise, whether concealed or not, except while:
1. on a bona fide hunting trip; or
2. engaged in or on the way to or returning from a bona fide trap shoot, sport shooting event, or any organized civic or military activity.
What are the Penalty or Penalties for Wearing or Carrying a Dangerous Weapon in Maryland?
If you are convicted of wearing or carrying a dangerous weapon in Maryland, you could be subject to:
(d)(1) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both.
(2) For a person convicted under subsection (c)(1) or (2) of this section, if it appears from the evidence that the weapon was carried, concealed or openly, with the deliberate purpose of injuring or killing another, the court shall impose the highest sentence of imprisonment prescribed.
What do you do if charged with wearing or carrying a Dangerous Weapon in Maryland?
Contact the Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice, Jr., LLC, at 410-288-2900 or email the office for immediate legal help.
Attorney Randolph Rice is a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney. He is a former Assistant State’s Attorney where he prosecuted individuals for wearing or carrying dangerous weapons in Maryland. Since 2009 he has been a private criminal defense attorney defending individuals that have been charged with wearing or carrying a dangerous weapon in Maryland.