Gun laws in Maryland

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Gun laws in Maryland regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Maryland in the United States.

Maryland[1][2][3]
Flag of Maryland.svg
Location of Maryland in the United States

State Constitution[edit]

The Constitution of Maryland contains no provision protecting the right for individuals to keep and bear arms. The State preempts some local firearm regulations, though local governments may regulate firearms with respect to minors and areas of public assembly. Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, Gaithersburg, and Baltimore are known to have local firearm regulations.[1][2][3]

The Constitution of Maryland, Declaration of Rights, Art. 2. The Constitution of the United States, and the Laws made, or which shall be made, in pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, are, and shall be the Supreme Law of the State; and the Judges of this State, and all the People of this State, are, and shall be bound thereby; anything in the Constitution or Law of this State to the contrary notwithstanding.<http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/43const/html/00dec.html>

Regulated firearms[edit]

The Maryland State Police maintain a registry of "regulated firearms" that are allowed to be sold within the state. Dealers must forward the manufacturer-included shell casing (or one provided by the federally licensed gun shop) in its sealed container to the Department of State Police Crime Laboratory upon sale, rental, or transfer of a "regulated firearm" for inclusion in their ballistics database, known as the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS).[2][3]

Residents may only purchase handguns manufactured after January 1, 1985 that are on the approved handguns list from the Maryland Handgun Roster[9]

Laws prohibiting firearms[edit]

As of 1 October 2013, detachable magazines for semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic centerfire rifles which are capable of holding more than 10 rounds may not be purchased, manufactured or sold, though they may be possessed (but not transferred within the state) by persons who already owned them prior to enactment of the 2013 changes. Magazines greater than ten (10) rounds may be purchased or acquired outside the state and carried into Maryland and used within the state. Certain pistols are classified as "assault pistols", and banned from ownership if not registered prior to August 1, 1994.[1] Only handguns on the official handgun roster[10] may be sold in the state. Private sales of "regulated firearms," which includes handguns, are permissible, but must be done at a local Maryland State Police barracks. As of 1 Oct, a Handgun Qualification License (HQL) is required for the sale, as well as a background check and a mandatory seven day waiting period.. A person must obtain a safety training certificate prior to purchasing "regulated firearms" and present that certificate prior to each purchase. With some limited exceptions,[11] only one "regulated firearm" may be purchased in any 30-day period. Handguns manufactured on or before December 31, 2002 must be sold or transferred with an external safety lock. Handguns manufactured after December 31, 2002 may only be sold or transferred if they have an internal mechanical safety device.[2][3]

Firearms are prohibited from certain places, including schools and demonstrations.

Open and Concealed Carry[edit]

Carrying a handgun, whether openly or concealed, is prohibited unless one has a permit to carry a handgun or is on their own property or their own place of business. The Maryland State Police may issue a permit to carry a handgun at their discretion and based on an investigation. In practice, very few applicants are granted carry permits, and approval typically requires the applicant to provide proof of a clear and imminent threat on his or her life. Permits are not automatically renewed, and the permit-holder must justify the continued need for the permit when applying for renewal.[2][3] No permit is required to openly carry a rifle or shotgun in Maryland.

On March 5, 2012, a federal judge ruled in Woollard v Sheridan that Maryland's "may issue" concealed carry law is unconstitutional, writing, "A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and substantial reason' why he should be permitted to exercise his rights." The Maryland Attorney General's office appealed the ruling.[12] On March 21, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (U.S. Federal) unanimously overturned the District Court ruling, holding that the "good & substantial cause" requirements imposed by Maryland law are permissible infringements on the 2nd Amendment.[13]

Recent events[edit]

On April 4, 2013, the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation imposing significant new restrictions on gun ownership. The bills ban the sale of certain semi-automatic firearms that they define as assault weapons, limit magazine capacity to ten rounds, require that handgun purchasers be fingerprinted and pass a training class in order to obtain a handgun license, and bar persons who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution from possessing firearms. Governor Martin O'Malley signed the legislation into law on May 16, 2013.[14] Regarding ten round magazine limits for rifles purchased in Maryland, 'standard' 30 round magazines may be purchased outside Maryland and brought into the state for personal use. Those standard magazines may not be transferred, given, sold or manufactured inside Maryland.[15]

Maryland police have been accused of targeting drivers from other states including Florida because they hold concealed-carry permits.[16]


Summary table[edit]

Subject/Law Long Guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
Permit to purchase required? No Yes Md Public Safety Article Section 5-117.1[17] A Handgun Qualification License is required, unless exempted (Active Duty/Retired Military with identification cards, Active/Retired Law Enforcement with department credentials); training is required, unless exempted; fingerprints are required; background checks are required; does not invalidate the requirement to perform a comprehensive background check for every handgun purchase transaction.[17]
Firearm registration? No Yes The state police maintain a permanent record of all handgun transfers. Automatic weapons must be registered with the state police.
Owner license required? No Yes
Carry permits issued? No Yes Maryland is a "may issue" state for concealed carry. Applicants must demonstrate a "good and substantial reason" to carry a handgun. Permits are normally very difficult to obtain.
Open carry permitted? Yes No Open carry is technically permitted with a concealed carry license, but is not generally practiced except by uniformed private security officers. Long guns may be carried openly.
State preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes Maryland has state preemption for most but not all firearm laws.
"Assault weapon" law? Yes Yes Md Criminal Law Article Section 4-303 Certain models of firearms are banned as assault pistols and assault long guns. It is illegal to possess an assault weapon or a copycat weapon with two or more specified features (folding stock, grenade/flare launcher, flash suppressor) unless owned before 10/1/2013, or received through inheritance from a lawful possessor and not otherwise forbidden to possess .[17]
Magazine Capacity Restriction? Yes Yes Illegal to purchase, sell or manufacture magazines with a capacity of greater than 10 rounds within Maryland. However, possession of magazines greater than 10 rounds is legal if purchased out of state. These may not, however, be transferred to a subsequent owner.
NFA weapons restricted? No* No* *Automatic firearms, SBSs, and SBRs must be owned in compliance with federal law. Law is silent in regards to DDs, silencers, and AOWs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – State Laws and Published Ordinances – Firearms" (PDF). Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "State Gun Laws: Maryland", National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Maryland State Law Summary", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – State Laws and Published Ordinances – Firearms, p.214" (PDF). Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – State Laws and Published Ordinances – Firearms, p.215" (PDF). Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – State Laws and Published Ordinances – Firearms, p.216" (PDF). Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – State Laws and Published Ordinances – Firearms, p.218" (PDF). Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Maryland Regulated Firearm Training On-Line". Mdgunsafety.com. January 1, 2002. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Public Safety, §5–406 (a) (2)", Code of Public General Laws (Statutes) of Maryland.
  10. ^ MSP web site, msp. "hand gun roster". MSP. msp. Retrieved 2015-03-28. 
  11. ^ https://www.mdsp.org/Organization/SupportServicesBureau/LicensingDivision/MainLicensingPage/LicensingandRegistration/Firearms/FirearmsCollectors.aspx.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Associated Press (March 5, 2012). "Federal Judge Finds Right to Bear Arms Not Limited to Home, Md. Handgun Law Unconstitutional", The Washington Post. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  13. ^ 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (March 21, 2013). "Published Opinion - Raymond Woollard, et al. v. Denis Gallagher, et al.", 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
  14. ^ Somers, Meredith (May 16, 2013). "O’Malley signs Maryland gun-control measure into law", Washington Times. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  15. ^ http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2013RS/bills/sb/sb0281e.pdf
  16. ^ Riddell, Kelly (December 30, 2014). "Gun Owners Fear Maryland Cops Target Them for Traffic Stops", Washington Times. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  17. ^ a b c Senate Bill 281: Firearm Safety Act of 2013, Maryland Legislature 2013 Regular Session. Retrieved October 9, 2013.