Gun Possession

Maryland continues to be one of the stricter states in the country when it comes to gun possession laws, and it appears that it's going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.  On the other hand, change may be on the horizon as the Supreme Court is set to decide the constitutionality of state law that requires residents to prove a good and substantial reason to carry a gun outside of their homes and in public before they are eligible to receive carry license.  Typically a good and substantial reason meant that the applicant was involved in some sort of inherently dangerous occupation such as being a security guard, prosecutor, or a judge.  Your average citizen who wished to carry for personal protection was often denied a permit by the state.   The law was declared unconstitutional once, then the federal appeals court reversed that opinion, and now the country's highest court has agreed to review it.  For now, Maryland residents will continue to be required to prove a good and substantial reason in order to be granted carry permit.

While this law will have a resounding effect on the number of carry licenses that are issued by the state in the future, the law will most likely not affect the number of arrests for gun possession.  The majority of possession arrests are not the result of a person carrying a legal registered gun for personal protection, but arrests of legal gun owners are still somewhat common.  Despite the fact that many states allow the carrying of guns outside the home, and make it much easier to obtain concealed carry permits, our state's laws are still enforced by police.  If you own a legally purchased firearm and have been arrested for possession you may still be charged with a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 3 years in prison.  Any person with a valid Maryland carry permit can still be charged with a crime if he or she is in possession of their firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  This offense is most common during DUI traffic stops or domestic violence situations and is punishable by up to one year in jail, and may result in revocation of any wear, transport or carry license.  An experienced defense attorney understands that any type of gun charge can cause serious damage to a person's reputation and leave a permanent scar on a person's criminal background. The Herbst Firm will fight relentlessly to have your charge dismissed, nolle prossed, or if need be to secure a not guilty verdict at trial.

The majority of gun possession crimes are the result of a person being arrested with an unregistered or illegally purchased weapon.  Guns that are purchased from an unregistered or illegal source are often cheaper and easier to find, and therefore a growing number on our streets are not lawfully purchased.  A study by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics concluded that nearly 80 percent of people serving jail time for gun possession cases obtained their firearm from either friends, family members, or illegally on the street.  Only 12 percent of these guns confiscated in gun possession cases were bought in retail stores or in pawn shops.  Police are aware of the growing number of illegal guns on the street and make a deliberate effort to confiscate them and make arrests.  Many times, police will conduct a traffic stop or initiate a pat down search for the sole purpose of locating weapon.  A criminal defense lawyer may be able to file certain motions to suppress an illegal stop or an illegal search and have your case dismissed.

The strict state laws are doing nothing but adding to the illegal gun numbers, and therefore police will continue to make numerous  possession arrests in Baltimore and throughout the state.  If you or someone you know has been arrested, contact The Herbst Firm for a free consultation.  We have the skill and the dedication to fight for the best possible outcome in your case, and we will always available to keep you informed each step of the way.
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