Gun Crime Attorney in Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland residents are passionate about their love for the second amendment. Rightly so, many of our residents possess weapons legally for a variety of reasons, including safety and sport. While each state has its own gun laws, it is important for those who live in Maryland to understand the rules and what happens if they break them. Decker, Tychostup & Friedman recognizes and appreciates one’s rights to own and possess firearms, but also the serious impact on one’s life when charged with a crime related to them. Whether you have been denied a permit to purchase or have been arrested for illegal possession of a gun or other gun-related crime, contact Decker, Tychostup & Friedman for a consultation to discuss your legal matter.
What are Maryland’s gun laws?
Maryland’s state constitution does not have a specific provision granting a “right to bear arms.” That said, residents have a right to own a variety of guns. As in many other states, there is an inherent difference regarding how the state handles long guns vs. handguns. For example, one does not need a permit to purchase long guns, including rifles and shotguns, nor do residents need to register them or have a license to own. On the other hand, handguns are considered “regulated firearms” and need a permit to purchase, a license, and must be registered.
A permit to carry is not provided for long guns. For handguns, the permit to carry is saved mostly for law enforcement and those who face imminent danger. Getting a permit as a citizen is rare.
Unlawful possession of a firearm
Certain people are barred from owning and possessing regulated firearms, including handguns. These people include:
- Convicted felons
- Persons convicted of a crime of violence
- Habitual drunkards
- Drug addicts
- Mental institution patients with a stay of 30 days or more
- People under 21 years of age
In addition, many guns are banned from owning or buying within state lines. This includes brands and copies. In 2013, the state enacted new legislation that banned assault long guns, mostly semi-automatic rifles, and large-capacity magazines. The penalties for being convicted of unlawful possession are quite serious, often leading to thousands in fines and the possibility of jail time. For those who are banned from possessing a gun, especially felons, the matter can be even more serious.
If you are found to be unlawfully carrying a firearm in Maryland, the penalties that you face are serious. There are certain places where carrying firearms, even if the firearm is legal, is not permitted. Some of these situations include the following:
- BWI Airport: According to the TSA, passengers are permitted to travel with lawful firearms as long as they are in checked baggage, are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case, and separate from ammunition. However, if you do not follow TSA protocol, you may face criminal charges. Anyone who tries to bring a firearm onto a plane in their carry-on, regardless of whether they have a valid carry permit, can face fines of up to $13,333 by the TSA.
- Schools: It is illegal to carry any deadly weapon or firearm on public school property.
- Vehicles: Maryland prohibits anyone to knowingly transport a handgun in their vehicles, with certain exceptions. For example, a person can bring a handgun to and from target practice, hunting, between residences, and to or from a place of legal purchase or a repair shop. Rifles or shotguns can be transported in a motor vehicle as long as they are unloaded.
The right to carry is often saved for those in law enforcement and security; jobs that require it. Maryland is a “may issue” state, meaning that requests to carry are heard, but rarely issued without a valid reason. You must have a permit to carry, wear, or transport (concealed or open) a handgun. Illegal carry is a misdemeanor. First offenders could face jail time and serious fines. A second offense could be up to a decade in prison. Subsequent offenses could subject a convicted person to a minimum of 3 years and up to a decade in jail.
Using a gun in the commission of another crime
One of the most serious gun charges a person can face is the use of a gun in the commission of a violent crime. Being convicted of this crime can be devastating, leading to decades in prison. Most crimes can be “upgraded” to greater charges when a gun is involved. For example, a simple assault charge can be upgraded to aggravated assault when a gun is involved. A robbery charge can be upgraded to armed robbery if found to have a weapon or a written declaration of possessing a weapon during the commission of the crime.
Red Flag Laws
The state of Maryland joined several other states when it enacted a red flag law in 2018. This legislation aims to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who are suspected to pose a threat to either themselves or others around them. Under the law, family members, health care providers, social workers, or law enforcement can petition the court to forbid an individual from buying or possessing guns if they believe that that the person is exhibiting concerning behaviors. These dangerous behaviors may include collecting weapons, planning violence, or making threats. The judge will typically issue an emergency petition for the short-term and as well as a longer-term petition for up to a year.
Denied a gun permit?
If you have been denied a gun permit, our firm is ready to step in. We recognize one’s right to own a firearm. When people are denied their rights given to them by the constitution, Decker, Tychostup & Friedman are ready to represent them. Our firm has helped countless clients denied a purchase permit and fight for those whose life circumstances call for a right to carry a concealed weapon.
Contact Decker, Tychostup & Friedman
Our firm fights for the rights of clients facing gun charges. For many, a misdemeanor conviction would impact their lives immensely. For those who face felony gun charges, their life is on the line. For a consultation with an experienced gun crime attorney, contact Decker, Tychostup & Friedman.