Here at Decker, Tychostup, & Friedman, we are staunch supporters of your Second Amendment rights. Unfortunately, throughout the United States, these rights are largely under siege, which is why we are here to assure you that if you are facing a criminal matter relating to violating Maryland’s gun laws, we are here to be your steadfast defender through every step of the legal process going forward.
That being said, we have compiled this guide to gun laws in Maryland for all individuals, whether facing gun charges or not, which is why we have included essentially everything you could ever need to know about gun laws in the state. Please continue reading and speak with our experienced Maryland criminal defense attorneys to learn more about Maryland gun laws, how to get a gun permit, what to do if your permit is denied, and how we can help you fight your gun charges, if necessary.
Gun Laws in Maryland
The state of Maryland has several rules and regulations pertaining to the ownership and use of firearms. As a gun owner, you should keep the following in mind:
- You do not need a permit to purchase or carry rifles and shotguns in the state of Maryland. Registration of firearms and the licensing of owners is also not necessary for rifles or shotguns.
- You do, however, need a permit to purchase and carry handguns. Registration of firearms and licensing of owners is also necessary for handguns. To apply for a handgun in Maryland, click here.
- If you do not have a permit, you may not wear or carry a handgun, openly or concealed. Without a permit, you are also prohibited from knowingly transporting a handgun in any vehicle traveling on public roads, waterways or airways.
- You may not possess a firearm in Maryland if you are a habitual drunkard, a fugitive from the law, are under the age of 21 (for handguns), mental institution patient of 30 days or more, if you are addicted to a controlled substance, are a convicted felon (or have been convicted of a violent crime), and more. If you are caught unlawfully possessing a firearm, you may spend up to 10 years in prison, and if you have three or more unlawful possession convictions, you may spend at least 15 years in prison.
- Though the sale or transfer of a rifle or shotgun to anyone under the age of 18 is illegal, it is not illegal to possess a shotgun while under the age of 18.
- You may not obliterate or alter the manufacturer’s identification mark or number on a firearm. If you do, or even if you are caught in possession of a weapon with an altered/removed ID mark/number, law enforcement will assume you have committed the offense.
- You may not carry a firearm of any kind on public school property. If you are found guilty of doing so, you may spend up to 5 years in prison
- You may not have a loaded firearm in an area where you know, or should reasonably know that someone under the age of 16 can access it.
- Even if you have a gun permit, you still may not use a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Antique firearms are exempt from certain state laws, depending on individual circumstances surrounding the case.
Can I Own a Machine Gun in Maryland?
Though in many cases, the answer to this question is simply no, there are certain circumstances under which an individual may purchase or own a machine gun. Those circumstances are as follows:
- If the machine gun has been manufactured, sold, or transported for a military force or peace officer of the United States
- If you can prove that you possess the machine gun for “scientific purposes”
- If the machine gun is no longer usable as a weapon and you can prove you possess it solely as a curiosity, ornament or keepsake
- If the court determines you possess the gun for a purpose that is clearly not aggressive or offensive in any way
That being said, the courts will generally consider it illegal to possess a machine gun under the following circumstances, among others:
- If you failed to register the machine gun within 24 hours of obtaining it (and once every year after that);
- If you have been convicted of a crime of violence;
- Or, if you are an illegal alien.
Penalties For Unlawful Gun Possession in Maryland
There are various penalties you may face for unlawfully possessing a firearm within the state. Some of the penalties for the unlawful possession of a firearm (usually a misdemeanor) in Maryland are as follows:
- First Offense: Up to 3 years of incarceration, as well as up to $2,500 in fines
- Second Offense: Up to 10 years in prison, as well as potential fines
- Third or Subsequent Offense: At least 3 years in prison, though no more than 10 years.
If you are facing gun possession charges in Maryland, please do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced Maryland criminal defense attorneys. We have helped countless individuals avoid jail time in Maryland, and we are ready to help you do the same.
What is an Upgraded Charge?
When someone is found in the possession of a weapon while committing a crime, they will most likely face upgraded charges. For example, let’s say you are caught committing a robbery, which involves the forcible taking of property from another person or entity. However, at the time you are apprehended, you are also in possession of a firearm. In this case, you will most likely have a standard robbery charge upgraded to an armed robbery charge, which comes with even harsher penalties. If you are someone facing an armed robbery charge in the state of Maryland, you must speak with our experienced Maryland criminal defense attorneys today. We are ready to protect you from your charges with everything we have.
What is a Red Flag Law?
Many states across the country have enacted Red Flag Laws to ensure that certain individuals who may pose a threat to either themselves or others around them do not obtain firearms. The Red Flag Law essentially states that all family members, health care providers, social workers, or law enforcement can petition the court to prohibit someone who exhibits concerning behaviors from buying or possessing a firearm. Some of these behaviors include collecting weapons, making violent plans, or threatening another person with violence. If someone is determined to be a threat either to themselves or to society, a Maryland judge will typically issue an emergency petition for the short-term, as well as a longer-term petition for up to one year.
What is the Maryland EXILE program?
The Maryland EXILE program is designed to deter individuals from committing gun crimes, as well as to harshly prosecute repeat offenders, as well as members of violent gangs. Additionally, because of this program, even a simple misdemeanor gun charge can result in years in prison upon conviction. The law also gives the State’s Attorney’s Office authority to federally prosecute all those who use guns in crimes involving drugs or violence, as well as those who have prior criminal convictions. What’s more, these charges often result in pretrial detention, which is why if you have been charged, you must retain the services of an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney immediately.
What Types of Handguns Are Illegal in Maryland?
Though in many cases, it is perfectly legal to own a handgun in the state of Maryland, the state prohibits the possession, use, and sale of what are referred to as “assault pistols.” If you are someone who is caught owning, using, or selling one of these assault pistols, you will most likely face harsh consequences, including up to three years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $5,000. Some examples of assault pistols are as follows:
- AA Arms AP-9 semiautomatic pistol
- A.W.S. type semiautomatic pistol
- Skorpion semiautomatic pistol
- Spectre double-action semiautomatic pistol (Sile, F.I.E., Mitchell)
- UZI semiautomatic pistol
- Weaver Arms semiautomatic Nighthawk pistol
- Wilkinson semiautomatic “Linda” pistol
- Bushmaster semiautomatic pistol
- Claridge HI-TEC semiautomatic pistol
- D Max Industries semiautomatic pistol
- Ingram MAC 10/11 semiautomatic pistol
- Partisan Avenger and the SWD Cobray
- Intratec TEC-9/DC-9 semiautomatic pistol in any centerfire variation
- Encom MK-IV, MP-9, or MP-45 semiautomatic pistol
- Heckler and Koch semiautomatic SP-89 pistol
- Holmes MP-83 semiautomatic pistol
Potential Defenses Against Gun Crimes in Maryland
When charged with a gun crime, you will need a team of battle-tested attorneys who have what it takes to go head-to-head with even the harshest prosecutors. Of course, every single case we take is different, which is why we provide you with the personalized attention you deserve and need, analyzing every single aspect of your case, leaving no stone unturned. That being said, there are several potential defenses we have used in the past to keep our clients jail-free. One of those defenses includes making a case that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to search your car or home. When law enforcement conducts illegal searches and finds firearms as a result, this very often disqualifies their charges against defendants.
Another type of defense we may use is what is known as “constructive possession.” This is when you are found with a gun, however, the gun was not directly in your possession at the time of your arrest. Though this can be hard to prove, a seasoned Maryland criminal defense attorney may successfully make this argument on your behalf, proving that you are not, in fact, guilty of possession beyond a reasonable doubt. As stated before, no two cases are the same, which is why our firm does far more than provide clients with cookie-cutter defenses; instead, we will tailor your defense to your unique situation, ensuring you receive the quality legal representation you deserve and need to go on living life as a happy, productive, and jail-free citizen.
How to Get a Handgun Permit in Maryland
To apply for a handgun in Maryland, you will have to do several things. First, you must have your digital fingerprints taken at a Maryland fingerprint processing center. From here, you will submit those digital fingerprints to the Maryland State Police. Next, you will submit your application to the Maryland State Police for the Maryland Handgun Qualification License. From here, you will complete the 16-hour Firearms Safety Training Course. At this point, you will receive your HQL card. Then, you will receive your HQL card, and verify it with a firearm dealer. Finally, you will complete your application to purchase a handgun, have that application submitted by a dealer to the Maryland State Police, and after waiting seven days, that application should be approved, and you will be allowed to purchase the gun from the dealer. At this point, the dealer will transfer the gun to you, and you will own your handgun. To apply for a handgun in Maryland, please click here.
What Happens if I am Denied a Gun Permit in Maryland?
Unfortunately, there are several scenarios in which an individual will wrongly be denied his/her right to own a handgun in the state of Maryland. If this has happened to you, you will need to hire an experienced attorney who is ready to defend your Second Amendment rights. The attorneys at Decker, Tychostup, & Friedman have been doing exactly this for years, and we are more than ready to do the same for you.
Contact our experienced Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys
We hope this guide was helpful, as it is our goal to provide all citizens of Maryland with nothing other than useful information, and a helping hand, if need be. If you are someone who has recently been charged with a gun crime in the state of Maryland, you will need experienced legal counsel at your side. Fortunately, you have just found that firm in Decker, Tychostup, & Friedman. We know how intimidating the criminal justice system can be, which is why we are dedicated to defending your Second Amendment rights through every step of the process. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our knowledgeable and aggressive Maryland criminal defense attorneys today.