Maryland

Updated as of Friday, April 26, 2013.

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION

Maryland has no constitutional provision granting a “right to bear arms.”

Important/Relevant Gun Laws

RIFLES AND SHOTGUNSHANDGUNS
Permit to PurchaseNoYes
Registration of FirearmsNoYes
Licensing of OwnersNoYes
Permit to CarryNoYes

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information.  We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

Reciprocity

  • These states recognize Maryland permits:
  • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin
  • Maryland recognizes permits from:
  • None

Map of states recognizing Maryland permits:

A synopsis of Maryland state laws on purchase, possession and carrying of firearms.

PURCHASE

Maryland does not regulate the sale of rifles or shotguns and no permit is required to purchase a rifle or shotgun that is not an "assault weapon." Maryland does regulate the sale, transfer, rent and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and "assault weapons." However, the sale or transfer of "assault weapons" after October 1, 2013 is generally prohibited. A person who is not a regulated firearms dealer may not sell, rent, transfer, or purchase any regulated firearm without going through a regulated firearms dealer. Alternatively, the prospective seller/transferor and prospective buyer/transferee may complete the transaction through a designated law enforcement agency.  READ ALL

It is unlawful for any person to sell or transfer a handgun to a person whom he knows or has reasonable cause to believe:

  • Is under 21;
  • Has been convicted of a disqualifying crime;
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is a habitual drunkard;
  • Is addicted to a controlled dangerous substance (habitual user);
  • Suffers from a mental disorder and has a history of violent behavior against himself or another;
  • Has been confined to a facility for more than 30 consecutive days for the treatment of a mental disorder;
  • Is a respondent against whom a current non ex parte civil protective order has been entered under;
  • If under the age of 30, has been adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would be a disqualifying crime if committed by an adult; 
  • Is visibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • Is a participant in a straw purchase; or
  • For transactions occurring on or after January 1, 2002, has not completed a certified firearms safety training course conducted free of charge by the Police Training Commission or that meets the standards of the Police Training Commission.

Additionally, it is generally unlawful for any person to sell, rent, or transfer a handgun unless the purchaser, lessee, or transferee presents a valid handgun qualification license.  A handgun qualification license shall be issued to a person who:

  • Is at least 21 years old;
  • Is a resident of Maryland;
  • Has completed a certified firearms training course or is exempt from the training requirement; and
  • Is not prohibited under state or federal law from purchasing or possessing a handgun.

A handgun qualification license must be issued or denied within 30 days of the application.  Once issued, the license is valid for 10 years unless revoked.  A fee of up to $20 may be charged to an applicant.  

Purchase of a handgun from a regulated firearms dealer is subject to disapproval by the Secretary of the Maryland State Police during a seven-day waiting period. The buyer must complete an application form that is sent by the dealer or law enforcement agency to the Secretary of the State Police for investigation. The applicant is required to provide information regarding the buyer’s eligibility to purchase or possess a handgun, and a description (including a serial number) of the handgun being purchased. There is a $10 fee. 

The application may be disapproved only if the purchaser is ineligible or if the information supplied is false or incomplete. If no action is taken within seven working days from the date the application is forwarded by the dealer, the handgun may be delivered to the purchaser. Most Maryland dealers who are licensed by the Maryland State Police, however, routinely await approval from the State Police even after seven days have elapsed.  In no case, may the handgun be delivered before seven days even if the application is approved earlier.

A person whose application is denied may request a hearing by writing to the Secretary of the State Police within 30 days after the Secretary forwards notice to the firearm applicant.  The Secretary must schedule the hearing within 15 days. At the hearing, and in any subsequent court review, the decision generally will be sustained unless it is shown that the Secretary’s decision was arbitrary and capricious.

A person may not purchase more than one regulated firearm in a 30-day period, unless a person who’s regulated firearm is stolen or irretrievably lost within that 30 day period and who considers it essential that the regulated firearm be replaced immediately.  In this situation, the person must provide the licensed regulated firearms dealer with a copy of the official police report which contains the name and address of the regulated firearm owner, a description of the regulated firearm, the location of the loss or theft, the date of the loss or theft, and the date that the loss or theft was reported to the law enforcement agency.

A person may not manufacture, sell or offer for sale a handgun manufactured after January 1, 1985, that is not included on the Handgun Roster of approved handguns.  The roster is compiled by a Handgun Roster Board that is composed of the Secretary of the State Police and ten additional members appointed by the Governor of Maryland.

The Handgun Roster Board also reviews the status of personalized handguns (defined as having an incorporated design technology allowing it to be fired only by a person who is the authorized user and that prevents any of the safety characteristics from being readily deactivated) and reports annually to the governor and legislature regarding whether such handguns are commercially available.

A regulated firearms dealer may not offer for sale or transfer any handgun manufactured on or before December 31, 2002, unless the handgun is offered for sale or transferred with an external safety lock. Beginning January 1, 2003, handguns manufactured after December 31, 2002, may only be sold or transferred if they have an internal mechanical safety device.

A person who displays a regulated firearm for sale or transfer from a table or fixed display at a gun show must first obtain a temporary transfer permit from the Secretary of State Police. A criminal history and background check will be conducted. If there is no reason to disapprove the application, the Secretary will issue the permit within seven days of the date of application. The cost of an initial temporary transfer permit is $10.00 and an additional temporary transfer permit during the same calendar year will be issued without charge. A person may not receive more than five temporary transfer permits during a calendar year.

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POSSESSION

Subject to some exceptions, possession of "assault weapons" is generally prohibited in Maryland. Additionally, Maryland's prohibited person categories for possession of firearms are more extensive than federal law.  READ ALL

Possession of a firearm or ammunition is prohibited by any person who:

  • Has been convicted of a disqualifying crime;
  • Has been convicted of a violation classified as a common law crime and received a term of imprisonment of more than 2 years;
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is a habitual drunkard;
  • Is addicted to a controlled substance or is a habitual user;
  • Suffers from a mental disorder and has a history of violent behavior against himself or another person;
  • Has been found incompetent to stand trial;
  • Has been found not criminally responsible;
  • Has been voluntarily admitted for more than 30 consecutive days to a facility for a mental disorder;
  • Has been involuntarily committed to a facility for a mental disorder;
  • Is under the protection of court appointed guardian, unless the guardian was appointed solely for a physical disability;
  • Is a respondent against whom a current non ex parte protective order has been entered under; or
  • Is 30 years old or younger and has been adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would be a disqualifying crime if committed by an adult.

A person generally may not transport an "assault weapon" into Maryland or possess, sell, offer to sell, transfer, purchase, or receive an "assault weapon."  An "assault weapon" is an "assault long gun," "assault pistol," or a "copycat weapon."  

An "assault long gun" is any one of the follwoing firearms or their copies, regardless of which company produced and manufactured that firearm:

(i) American Arms Spectre da Semiautomatic carbine;
(ii) AK-47 in all forms;
(iii) Algimec AGM-1 type semi-auto;
(iv) AR 100 type semi-auto;
(v) AR 180 type semi-auto;
(vi) Argentine L.S.R. semi-auto;
(vii) Australian Automatic Arms SAR type semi-auto;
(viii) Auto-Ordnance Thompson M1 and 1927 semi-automatics;
(ix) Barrett light .50 cal. semi-auto;
(x) Beretta AR70 type semi-auto;
(xi) Bushmaster semi-auto rifle;
(xii) Calico models M-100 and M-900;
(xiii) CIS SR 88 type semi-auto;
(xiv) Claridge HI TEC C-9 carbines;
(xv) Colt AR-15, CAR-15, and all imitations except Colt AR-15 Sporter H-BAR rifle;
(xvi) Daewoo MAX 1 and MAX 2, aka AR 100, 110C, K-1, and K-2;
(xvii) Dragunov Chinese made semi-auto;
(xviii) Famas semi-auto (.223 caliber);
(xix) Feather AT-9 semi-auto;
(xx) FN LAR and FN FAL assault rifle;
(xxi) FNC semi-auto type carbine;
(xxii) F.I.E./Franchi LAW 12 and SPAS 12 assault shotgun;
(xxiii) Steyr-AUG-SA semi-auto;
(xxiv) Galil models AR and ARM semi-auto;
(xxv) Heckler and Koch HK-91 A3, HK-93 A2, HK-94 A2 and A3;
(xxvi) Holmes model 88 shotgun;
(xxvii) Avtomat Kalashnikov semiautomatic rifle in any format;
(xxviii) Manchester Arms “Commando” MK-45, MK-9;
(xxix) Mandell TAC-1 semi-auto carbine;
(xxx) Mossberg model 500 Bullpup assault shotgun;
(xxxi) Sterling Mark 6;
(xxxii) P.A.W.S. carbine;
(xxxiii) Ruger mini-14 folding stock model (.223 caliber);
(xxxiv) SIG 550/551 assault rifle (.223 caliber);
(xxxv) SKS with detachable magazine;
(xxxvi) AP-74 Commando type semi-auto;
(xxxvii) Springfield Armory BM-59, SAR-48, G3, SAR-3, M-21 sniper rifle, M1A, excluding the M1 Garand;
(xxxviii) Street sweeper assault type shotgun;
(xxxix) Striker 12 assault shotgun in all formats;
(xl) Unique F11 semi-auto type;
(xli) Daewoo USAS 12 semi-auto shotgun;
(xlii) UZI 9mm carbine or rifle;
(xliii) Valmet M-76 and M-78 semi-auto;
(xliv) Weaver Arms “Nighthawk” semi-auto carbine; or
(xlv) Wilkinson Arms 9mm semi-auto “Terry”.
An "assault pistol” is any of the following firearms or a copy regardless of the producer or manufacturer:
(1) AA Arms AP-9 semiautomatic pistol;
(2) Bushmaster semiautomatic pistol;
(3) Claridge HI-TEC semiautomatic pistol;
(4) D Max Industries semiautomatic pistol;
(5) Encom MK-IV, MP-9, or MP-45 semiautomatic pistol;
(6) Heckler and Koch semiautomatic SP-89 pistol;
(7) Holmes MP-83 semiautomatic pistol;
(8) Ingram MAC 10/11 semiautomatic pistol and variations including the Partisan Avenger and the SWD Cobray;
(9) Intratec TEC-9/DC-9 semiautomatic pistol in any centerfire variation;
(10) P.A.W.S. type semiautomatic pistol;
(11) Skorpion semiautomatic pistol;
(12) Spectre double action semiautomatic pistol (Sile, F.I.E., Mitchell);
(13) UZI semiautomatic pistol;
(14) Weaver Arms semiautomatic Nighthawk pistol; or
(15) Wilkinson semiautomatic “Linda” pistol.
A "copycat weapon" is:
(i) a semiautomatic centerfire rifle that can accept a detachable magazine and has any two of the following:
1. a folding stock;
2. a grenade launcher or flare launcher; or
3. a flash suppressor;
(ii) a semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds;
(iii) a semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 29 inches;
(iv) a semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds;
(v) a semiautomatic shotgun that has a folding stock; or
(vi) a shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

Current owners may possess and transport an "assault pistol" if it was registered with the Secretary of the State Police before August 1, 1994 or an "assault long gun" or "copycat weapon" if the person lawfully possessed, had a purchase order for, or completed an application to purchase before October 1, 2013.  

It is unlawful to sell, offer for sale, purchase, receive, or transfer any detachable firearm magazine (except a tubular magazine for a .22) that will hold more than 10 rounds.  

A person who moves into the state must have all handguns and "assault weapons" registered with the Secretary within 90 days after establishing residency.  

A person who is subject to a firearms disqualification as a result of an adjudication or commitment that occurred in the state MAY be authorized to possess a firearm if: the person is not subject to another firearms restriction, the Health Department (in accordance with this section) determines that the person MAY possess a firearm, a person who seeks relief from a firearms disqualification shall file an application with the Health Department in the form and manner set by the Health Department.

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CARRYING AND TRANSPORTATION IN VEHICLES

It is unlawful for any person without a permit to wear or carry a handgun, openly or concealed, upon or about his person. It is also unlawful for any person to knowingly transport a handgun in any vehicle traveling on public roads, highways, waterways or airways, or upon roads or parking lots generally used by the public. This does not apply to any person wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun within the confines of real estate owned or leased by him, or on which he resides, or within the confines of a business establishment owned or leased by him. READ ALL

Rifles and shotguns being transported in motor vehicles must be unloaded.

A person may transport a handgun if they can demonstrate that the handgun is being carried, worn or transported:

  • To or from a place of legal purchase or sale, or repair shop;
  • Between a person’s bona fide residences, or between his residence and place of business, if the business is operated and substantially owned by that person;
  • While engaged in, or traveling to and from a target shoot, formal or informal target practice, sport shooting event, hunting, trapping, or dog obedience training class or show; or
  • By a bona fide gun collector who is moving any part or all of his gun collection from place to place for public or private exhibition.

During transportation to and from the above places the handgun must be unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or enclosed holster.  An additional penalty is provided for any person convicted of unlawfully wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun, if his deliberate purpose was to injure or kill another person.

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PERMIT TO CARRY

Application for a permit to carry a handgun is made to the Secretary of State Police. In addition to the printed application form, the applicant should submit a notarized letter stating the reasons why he is applying for a permit. READ ALL

The permit may be issued if the Secretary finds that the applicant:

  • Is 18 years of age or older; (Be an “adult”)
  • Has not been convicted of a felony, or of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;
  • Has not been convicted of a crime involving the possession, use, or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance;
  • Is not an alcoholic, addict, or habitual user of a controlled substance;
  • Based on the results of an investigation, has not exhibited a propensity for violence or instability; and
  • Based on the results of an investigation, has demonstrated a “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun, including a finding that the permit is “necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.”
  • Has not exhibited a propensity for violence or instability that may reasonable render the person’s possession of a handgun a danger to the person or another.
  • Has good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.

The applicant must complete prior to submitting application (and renewal application) a firearms training course approved by the Secretary.  This training course includes 16 hours of instruction by a qualified handgun instructor (for initial application) and 8 hours of instruction by a qualified instructor for a renewal.  Also course must have component demonstrating the applicant’s proficiency and use of the firearm.  

If an applicant is under the age of 30, the applicant is only qualified if the Secretary of the State Police finds that the applicant has not been:

  • Committed to a detention, training, or correctional institution for juveniles for longer than 1 year after an adjudication of delinquency; or
  • Adjudicated a delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would be a crime of violence, a felony, or punishable by more than 2 years, if committed by an adult.   
  • An act that would be a misdemeanor in this state that carries a statutory penalty of more than 2 years if committed by an adult.

The Secretary, in his discretion, may add restrictions to the permit including limiting the location, circumstances or time at which the handgun may be carried.

The Secretary may charge a $75.00 nonrefundable fee payable upon submission of the application. The renewal fee is $50.00, and a duplicate or modified permit is $10.00.  These fees may be reduced accordingly for a permit that is limited in time and place.  

The permit is valid for two years after its issuance and expires on the last day of the holder’s birth month. Subsequent renewals are valid for periods of three years each.  A permit holder must carry his permit whenever he carries, wears or transports a handgun. The permit is valid for each handgun legally in the possession of the person to whom the permit is issued.

It is unlawful for a permit holder to carry a handgun while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

A person who is denied a permit, is denied renewal, has his permit revoked, or has a permit limited as to time and place may request the Secretary of the State Police to conduct an informal review.  A written request must be filed with the Secretary within 10 days after receiving written notice of the Secretary’s initial action.  Alternatively, a person may request that the Handgun Permit Review Board review the decision of the Secretary by filing a written request within 10 days of the Secretary’s initial action.

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ANTIQUES

An antique firearm is defined as a firearm manufactured before 1899, or any replica thereof, which is not designed for firing fixed ammunition or which uses fixed ammunition and is no longer manufactured in the United States or readily available commercially. Antique firearms are exempt from certain requirements of state law.

MACHINE GUNS

A machine gun is defined as a loaded or unloaded weapon wherein more than one shot may be automatically discharged from a magazine by a single function of the firing device. Possession of a machine gun for an aggressive or offensive purpose is prohibited. A machine gun must be registered within 24 hours of acquisition and annually thereafter with the Secretary of Police. There is a $10 fee. READ ALL

A presumption of possession for an aggressive or offensive purpose is raised by:

  • a failure to register the machine gun,
  • possession by a person who has been convicted of a crime of violence or by an alien,
  • possession elsewhere than on one’s premises owned or rented for permanent residence or business occupancy, or
  • when empty or loaded shells for the machine gun are found in the immediate vicinity thereof.

This law does not prohibit or interfere with any machine gun that is:

  • manufactured, sold, or transported for a military force or peace officer of the United States,
  • possessed for scientific purposes,
  • not usable as a weapon and possessed as a curiosity, ornament or keepsake, or
  • possessed for a purpose manifestly not aggressive or offensive.
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PREEMPTION

The state generally preempts all aspects of firearm and ammunition regulation. READ ALL

§ 4-209.

      (a)      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.

      (b)      (1)      A county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may regulate the purchase, sale, transfer, ownership, possession, and transportation of the items listed in subsection (a) of this section:

                  (i)      with respect to minors;

                  (ii)      with respect to law enforcement officials of the subdivision; and

                  (iii)      except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, within 100 yards of or in a park, church, school, public building, and other place of public assembly.

            (2)      A county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may not prohibit the teaching of or training in firearms safety, or other educational or sporting use of the items listed in subsection (a) of this section.

      (c)      To the extent that a local law does not create an inconsistency with this section or expand existing regulatory control, a county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may exercise its existing authority to amend any local law that existed on or before December 31, 1984.

      (d)      (1)      Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, in accordance with law, a county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may regulate the discharge of handguns, rifles, and shotguns.

            (2)      A county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may not prohibit the discharge of firearms at established ranges.

 

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Range Protection

§ 5-403. 1 READ ALL

§ 5-403. 1. Sport shooting ranges

Sport shooting range defined

(a) In this section, “sport shooting range” means an area designed and used for trapshooting, skeetshooting, or other target shooting.

Application of section to private nuisance actions only

(b) This section applies only to private nuisance actions and does not apply to public nuisance actions.

Date of establishment of sport shooting range

(c) If there has been no shooting activity at a sport shooting range for a period of 3 consecutive years, the date of resumption of shooting activity is considered the date of the establishment of a sport shooting range for purposes of this section.

Actions against shooting range prohibited if range in operation when property acquired

(d)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person may not bring a civil nuisance action for noise against a person who owns, operates, or uses a sport shooting range located within the vicinity of the property of the person bringing the action if the sport shooting range was established as of the date the person acquired the property.

(2) This section may not be construed to limit a nuisance action against a sport shooting range established on or after June 1, 1997.

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MISCELLANEOUS

It is unlawful to alter or obliterate the manufacturer’s identification mark or number on any firearm. Any person in possession of such a weapon will be presumed to have committed the offense. READ ALL

The Maryland state legislature has reserved to itself (and denied to county and local governments) the right to regulate possession, sale, carrying and transportation of firearms.

It is unlawful to carry any firearm or deadly weapon of any kind on any public school property.

The use of a handgun in the commission of a felony or any crime of violence is a separate crime. In addition to any other sentence imposed, the court is required to impose no less than the minimum sentence of five years, that may not be suspended, nor may probation be granted.

It is unlawful to store or leave a loaded firearm where a person knows or should know that an unsupervised person under 16 could gain access to it.

Any manufacturer that ships or transports a handgun to be sold, rented, or transferred in Maryland must include in the box with the handgun a separate sealed container holding a spent casing from that handgun. A handgun dealer must confirm compliance with this provision. A handgun dealer shall forward the sealed container holding a spent casing from the handgun that is subsequently sold or transferred to the state police.

Restricted firearm ammunition means a cartridge, a shell, or any other device that: contains explosive or incendiary material, designed and intended for use in a firearm; and has a core constructed, excluding traces of other substances, entirely from one or a combination of: tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, beryllium copper, depleted uranium, or an equivalent material of similar density or hardness. A person may not, in relation to the commission of a crime of violence (Section 14-101), possess or use restricted firearm ammunition.

An owner of a regulated firearm must report a regulated firearm lost or stolen to a local law enforcement agency within 72 hours after discovering the loss or theft.  

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Sources: Md. Code Ann., [Criminal Law] § 4 (2004) et seq.; [Public Safety] § 5 (2004) et seq.; NAT. RES., § 10 (2004) et seq.

CAUTION: Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation. This summary is not intended as legal advice or restatement of law. This summary does not include federal or local laws, ordinances or regulations. For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation. YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

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