What are the Gun Laws in Maryland?

Before buying, carrying or transporting a gun in the state of Maryland it is extremely important to be familiar with the strict set of laws governing firearms.  We have represented numerous individuals who were charged with a crime under these strict laws, and many of these former clients had no prior criminal record and were even licensed to carry in other states.  First and foremost anyone traveling to Maryland must understand that there is no reciprocity for concealed carry or open carry permits.  A police officer in this state will not honor your Virginia, North Carolina, Florida or other state permit even if you are polite, cooperative and volunteer the information that there is a firearm in the car.  They will tell you that their hands are tied and then either arrest you or issue you a criminal citation.  This is also true for those that are on federal property in the state, as federal officers will not honor out of state permits.  Anyone stopped and searched on federal installations such as the NIH, NSA and the numerous parkways such as 295 and the Clara Barton are subject to federal prosecution if they have a gun.

Maryland prohibits carrying a concealed weapon without its own state issued permit, which is especially hard to get.  To those that are wondering how to apply for a state concealed carry permit, we would suggest you download and read the wear and carry permit application that is located on the State Police website.  One thing you will notice is that you must prove a substantial need for this type of license.  It is far more involved than simply passing a background check.  Anyone that is found to be carrying a handgun will be charged with a misdemeanor that carries up to 5 years in jail and a $2,500 fine.  There is a 30-day minimum jail sentence associated with this charge, but it may be avoided if a probation before judgment is granted.  A person who is driving with a handgun may face the same charges under the transporting provision even if the gun is properly stored.  The law requires proper storage in a case with ammunition separate, but that doesn’t mean you can just drive around with your pistol in the trunk.  You have to either be coming or leaving from the shop, shooting range or hunting grounds and driving to or from a bona fide residence (aka home).

The penalty is much harsher if the defendant has a prior conviction for a violent offense such as assault or if the defendant has been convicted of any felony.  There are also provisions that enhance gun possession penalties for those that are classified as habitual drug users or alcoholics, and those that have been diagnosed with a mental disorder.  The public safety code also prohibits firearm possession by anyone that has served more than a 2-year sentence for any crime, a person with an active warrant (fugitive from justice) and a person who currently has a protective order against them.  These enhancements are listed under the public safety code and may carry minimum mandatory jail sentences.  The public safety code also contains the laws that make certain types of guns, such as those with high capacity magazines, illegal.  In addition you will find laws prohibiting unlawful gun trafficking and removal or alteration of the manufacturers identification number or serial number.  The laws are strict and complex, and if you need the advice of an experienced attorney do not hesitate to call Benjamin Herbst at 410-207-2598.
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