FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Maryland Gun Laws

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Introduction

Maryland is surrounded by Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to the south and west and by Pennsylvania to the north and Delaware to the east. Maryland is a small state, comparable in size to Hawaii, the next smallest state. However, Maryland has the 19th largest population in the United States with over 6,000,000 residents. Open carry is legal in Maryland with a valid license to carry. The Firearm Safety Act 2013 was enacted to ban 45 different semi-automatic handguns and rifles from sale and ownership within the state.  [http://gunla.ws/afns]

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A. State Constitution

Maryland has no “right to bear arms” granted in its constitution. [http://gunla.ws/md1]

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B. Scope of Preemption

The controlling language of the Maryland preemption statute is set forth as follows:

“Except as otherwise provided in this section, the State preempts the right of a county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district to regulate the purchase, sale, taxation, transfer, manufacture, repair, ownership, possession, and transportation of: (1) a handgun, rifle, or shotgun; and (2) ammunition for and components of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun.”

[http://gunla.ws/md2]

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C. Reciprocal Carry

Maryland does not have a statutory reciprocity provision and does not recognize permits issued in any other state.

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D. Assault Weapons Ban

It is illegal to possess an assault weapon, unless it was possessed before October 1, 2013 or the individual received a certificate of possession from the Maryland State Police prior to October 1, 2013. Assault weapons may not be sold or transferred to any person other than a licensed gun dealer or any individual who is going to relinquish it to the police.

Under Maryland’s Firearms Safety Act, 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, or flash suppressor) unless owned before October 1, 2013, or received through inheritance from a lawful possessor and not otherwise forbidden to possess. [http://gunla.ws/kl5i]

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E. Universal Background Checks

Maryland requires that all sales and transfers of handguns or assault weapons, even between private parties, go through a FFL who must conduct a background check. Background checks are not required for private sales of long guns. [http://gunla.ws/gpgi]

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F. Permit to Purchase Handguns

As of 10/1/13, Maryland requires a permit in order to purchase handguns. You must pass a background check and complete a 4-hour safety course in order to obtain a permit to purchase handguns. Active duty or retired law enforcement officers or military members are exempt from this law and may purchase handguns without obtaining this permit. [http://gunla.ws/m1im]

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G. NFA Items

Maryland permits ownership of automatic firearms, SBSs, and SBRs, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. The law is still silent in regards to DDs and AOWs. MGs must be registered with the Secretary of State Police within 24 hours of acquisition, and must be re-registered annually. Hunting with suppressors is legal.

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H. High-Capacity Magazine Ban

Maryland bans the intrastate manufacture, sale, and transfer of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Note that possession of high-capacity magazines is legal, and Maryland residents can possess high-capacity magazines they lawfully owned before 10/1/13. Maryland residents can also purchase or import high-capacity magazines from out of state. These may not, however, be transferred to a subsequent owner unless done so outside the state of Maryland.

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I. Waiting Period

Maryland imposes a seven (7) day waiting period before purchasing any firearm other than a rifle or shotgun. [http://gunla.ws/wsge]

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J. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

It is illegal to carry any loaded firearm in any vehicle in Maryland, regardless of whether You have a permit. Maryland generally bans the carrying of firearms without a permit. Someone without a permit may only transport a handgun if it is unloaded and secured in an enclosed case or holster, and may only transport the handgun to or from: the place of purchase or repair, Your home or business, a shooting range, shooting event, or hunting activity. [http://gunla.ws/md4]

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K. Self-defense Laws

Maryland does not have a Castle Doctrine or SYG law, however Maryland courts have consistently recognized a right of self-defense similar to a castle doctrine law. Because there is no statute to explain when the use of deadly force is appropriate, there is uncertainty over the details of when deadly force may be used, and Maryland only allows the use of deadly force in narrow circumstances. There is no duty to retreat when in Your home. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death or SBI. [http://gunla.ws/db8q]

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L. Duty to Inform Officer

No. A person to whom a permit is issued or renewed shall carry the permit in the person’s possession whenever the person carries, wears, or transports a handgun. You must present Your permit on demand. [http://gunla.ws/j7zk]

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M. Criminal Provisions

A Maryland-issued license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances:

  • On any kind of public school property
  • At demonstrations in a public place or in a vehicle that is within 1,000 feet of a demonstration in a public place
  • State parks
  • State/national forests
  • In legislative buildings
  • In/on State public buildings and grounds
  • State Highway Rest Areas

For a list of places where carrying a firearm is prohibited, see:

[http://gunla.ws/md5]

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N. Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes. Maryland has no laws prohibiting the carrying of firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol. You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then You are prohibited from carrying into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You can carry your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.

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O. Open Carry

There is no statute in Maryland law that prohibits a Maryland license holder from carrying a handgun openly. Places listed in the “Criminal Provisions” above apply to those who open carry. The minimum age for open carry is 18.

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Pending Court Case

Note that on 2/4/16 a federal court cast doubt on the constitutionality of Maryland’s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, suggesting that these items may be protected by the Second Amendment, and that the government has a high burden to prove that these laws are constitutional. However, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned the 2016 federal court decision. Unless and until the U.S. Supreme Court rules otherwise, Maryland’s Firearms Safety Act remains in force.

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More