The Maryland gun laws have become stiffer and stiffer over the years as more tragic incidents occur throughout the United States. Dating back to the D.C. sniper which affected Maryland suburbs to present day, the Maryland legislature and General Assembly continue to impose stiffer and stricter Maryland gun laws year after year. In this page, Maryland criminal defense lawyer Randolph Rice will highlight some of the most common Maryland gun laws and weapons crimes charged.
The Maryland gun laws is contained within two separate sections of the Maryland laws. The first set of gun laws in Maryland can be found under Title Four of the Maryland Criminal Law articles. The second set of Maryland gun laws can be found under Maryland Public Safety Title 5.
Definitions Used for Maryland Gun + Weapons Possession
When interpreting the Maryland gun laws, the best place to start is under the definition sections. Understanding the definitions of:
- prohibited acts,
- dangerous weapons,
- types of weapons and
Their definition better clarifies the Maryland gun laws and understanding what is illegal and what is legal in Maryland.
Possession of “Dangerous Weapons” in Maryland
One of the most common criminal offenses charged throughout Maryland is the prohibition of a person wearing or carrying a dangerous weapon of any kind concealed on or about the person. Under Maryland Criminal Law 4-101 a person may not wear carry a dangerous weapon of any kind concealed on or about the person. That also includes chemical mace, pepper mace or a tear gas device openly with the intent or purpose of injuring and individual and unlawful manner.
If an individual is found guilty to a violated this long they could face up to three years in jail or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both and are subject to a misdemeanor on their record. As previously discussed, definitions are some of the most important parts to understand when reading the Maryland gun laws. In Maryland, a weapon includes a:
- dirk knife,
- bowie knife,
- switchblade knife,
- star knife,
- metal knuckles,
- razor and
The Maryland weapon and gun laws are particularly strict when it comes to possessing a deadly weapon on school property. It is prohibited in Maryland to carry a firearm, knife or deadly weapon of any kind on public school property. If convicted of possessing a deadly weapon on school property a person is subject to a misdemeanor and could face three years in jail or a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both.
Children Having Access to Firearms in Maryland
It is a dangerous combination when children have the ability to get their hands on a firearm or ammunition in Maryland. The Maryland legislature has created a crime that prohibits an individual from storing or leaving a loaded firearm in a location where that person would know or should have known that unsupervised child would be able to gain access to the firearm. If a person is found to have left a firearm unsupervised they could face a misdemeanor conviction and a fine not exceeding $1,000.
Possession of a Handgun in Maryland
In Maryland, a handgun is defined as a:
- revolver or
- other firearm capable of being concealed on a person.
Handguns also include short barrel shotguns and short-barreled rifles but do not include shotguns, rifles or antique firearms. Except for the list of exceptions under Maryland Criminal Law 4-203 a person may not wear, carry or transport a handgun weather concealed or open, or all about the person.
In addition it is a crime to wear, carry, or knowingly transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, in a vehicle traveling on a road or a public parking lot in the state of Maryland. However, there are exceptions to the rules which can be abrogated with the possession of a valid and legal wear and carry permit.
If a person is found wearing, caring or transporting a handgun in Maryland they are facing a misdemeanor conviction and could spend a minimum of 30 days in jail and up to three years in prison. If a person is found on public school property in violation of the law then they could be sentenced to no less than 90 days in jail. In addition, there are enhanced penalties for repeat offenders who wear, carry or transport a handgun illegally in Maryland.
Possession of Assault Weapons, Assault rifles and Detachable Magazines
Maryland assault rifle laws have been beefed up over the past couple of years and prohibit individuals for possessing certain types of assault weapons. Unless the assault rifle was purchased prior to October 1st, 2013, a person may not transport an assault weapon into the state of Maryland or possess, sell, offer to sell, transfer, purchase or receive an assault weapon in Maryland.
If an individual is found in violation of this long they are subject to a misdemeanor and could face up to three years in jail or a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both. If an individual is found to have used an assault weapon during a commission of a felony or crime of violence they could face a prison sentence of no less than five years and not exceeding 20 years.
In addition, a person may not manufacture, sell, offer for sale, purchase, receive, or transfer a detachable magazine that has a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition for a firearm in Maryland.
Possession of a Regulated Firearm in Maryland
In Maryland, regular firearms are defined as a handgun or a firearm that falls under any one of the categories as specified in Maryland Public Safety 5-101(2). A person may not possess a regular firearm if he or she was previously convicted of a crime of violence or a number of other violations of the Maryland criminal law under Section 5-600 through 5-614.
A person who is under the age of 21 may also not possess a regulated firearm in Maryland with certain exceptions as specified by law. There are also laws in Maryland that prohibit a person from possessing ammunition. Ammunition means a cartridge, shell or any other device containing explosive or incendiary material designed it intended for use in a firearm. Maryland Public Safety 5-133. It prohibits a person from possessing ammunition if they’re prohibited from possessing a regulated firearm. Person who violates this law can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face up to one year in jail or a $5,000, or both
Rifle and Shotgun Crimes in Maryland
If an individual has been previously convicted of a crime of violence or Maryland Criminal Law 5-602, 5-603, 5-605, 5-612, 5-613, or 5-614 of the Maryland criminal laws, then that person may not possess a rifle or shotgun in Maryland. If convicted of illegal possession of a rifle or shotgun then the person could be facing a felony conviction and up to 15 years in prison.
Individuals may be allowed to receive a handgun permit in Maryland. That permit may allow an individual to carry, where or transport a handgun according to other specific rules and regulations. Some of the qualifications to obtain a permit are the person must be an adult and not previously convicted of a felony or misdemeanor which exceeds more than one year. In addition, there are various federal laws that may prevent a person from obtaining a permit or qualifying to possess or own a firearm or other type of gun.
Our Maryland Gun Possession Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you’re facing a prosecution for violation of a weapons law in Maryland or one of the many Maryland gun laws, you could be facing substantial jail time and the risk of losing your firearms and the ability to own them in the future as an avid Hunter, attorney Randolph Rice is keenly aware of the Maryland gun laws and the long-term effects on Maryland residents. Contact his office today if you’ve been charged with the illegal possession of a firearm or weapon in Maryland.