Maryland Gun Crime Law
Maryland Gun Crime Attorneys
Maryland’s criminal code includes Title 4, which provides detailed information about weapon-related offenses. This section primarily focuses on gun laws, encompassing handguns, assault pistols, detachable ammunition magazines, and the Uniform Machine Gun Act. Violations of gun laws in Maryland can lead to either misdemeanor or felony charges, carrying penalties ranging from hefty fines to significant incarceration periods. Individuals facing accusations of gun crimes in the state can benefit from seeking advice from our experienced Maryland gun lawyers. These legal professionals possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to navigate the legal process diligently and safeguard the rights of Maryland residents.
Carrying, Transporting, and Wearing Handguns
Maryland criminal code Section 4-203 delineates an individual’s rights regarding handguns. While certain exceptions exist, this section prohibits individuals from wearing, carrying, or knowingly transporting a handgun, whether concealed or openly visible. Moreover, this law expressly forbids the possession of a handgun in a public school and when used with the deliberate intent to harm or kill another person.
However, law enforcement personnel, including state and out-of-state police officers, United States armed forces personnel, and correctional officers or wardens at correctional facilities, are permitted to wear, carry, and transport handguns while on active duty. Other exempted individuals include those who possess a permit under Title 5, Subtitle 3, individuals transporting a handgun from the point of purchase to a repair shop, individuals engaged in military activities, target practice, hunting, safety classes, and those carrying handguns on their own residential or business property.
Violation of Section 4-203 constitutes a misdemeanor offense. The penalties for this offense vary depending on prior convictions and may include fines ranging from $250 to $2,500, as well as prison sentences ranging from 30 days to 10 years.
Use of a Handgun During a Violent Crime
Section 4-204 of the Maryland criminal code prohibits the use of a handgun during the commission of a violent crime. The definition of a violent crime is provided in Section 5-101. Additionally, concealed antique firearms are also prohibited from being used in this context.
Engaging in such conduct results in a misdemeanor charge, which is added to other charges stemming from the violent crime. Penalties for this offense can range from five to 20 years of imprisonment.
According to the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention, Maryland reported a total of 31,605 violent crimes in 2010, which was the lowest figure since 1978. In that year, the state recorded 426 homicides, 1,228 rapes, 11,053 robberies, and 18,898 instances of aggravated assault.
Assault Pistols and Detachable Magazines
Maryland residents are prohibited from importing assault pistols into the state, as specified in Section 4-303 of the Maryland criminal code. It is also illegal to possess, sell, purchase, or receive assault pistols within the state.
However, individuals who possessed an assault pistol before June 1, 1994, and registered it with Maryland’s Secretary of State or State Police before August 1, 1994, are not in violation of state law. If an individual is ordered by a state court to surrender an assault pistol, they are allowed to transport it to law enforcement officials after notifying the authorities in advance.
Assault pistols are defined in Section 4-301, which provides a detailed list of specific gun types and manufacturers.
Similarly, manufacturing, selling, purchasing, receiving, or transferring detachable gun magazines that hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition is prohibited.
Violation of Section 4-303 constitutes a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to three years in prison or fines up to $5,000. These penalties may be enhanced if an assault pistol or detachable magazine is used during a violent crime.
Possession of Deadly Weapons on School Property
As previously mentioned, Section 4-102 of the Maryland criminal code prohibits the possession of deadly weapons, including guns, knives, and other weapons defined as deadly under state law, on public school grounds.
Exceptions to this law include law enforcement officers, individuals participating in organized shooting activities, individuals hired by the county board of education to guard school property, and individuals with written invitations from principals using weapons for educational purposes.
Violating this law carries penalties of up to three years of imprisonment, fines up to $1,000, or both.
Machine Gun Registration
According to the Uniform Machine Gun Act outlined in Section 4-402 of the Maryland criminal code, individuals in the state are allowed to possess a machine gun if it is used for scientific purposes, considered a keepsake rather than a weapon, intended for non-aggressive purposes, or being transported to law enforcement pursuant to a court order.
As stated in Section 4-403, all machine guns must be registered with the manufacturer, and the registration must include the serial number, method of manufacture, name, address, and occupation of the recipient, as well as the date the gun was manufactured, sold, loaned, gifted, or delivered. A receipt is also required.
Failure to register a machine gun can result in fines up to $100.
Varied Target Practice Laws
Under Section 4-108 of the Maryland criminal code, individuals in Anne Arundel, St. Mary’s, and Caroline Counties are prohibited from engaging in target practice or discharging a firearm on someone else’s land without obtaining written permission from the property owner.
Failure to comply with this requirement in Anne Arundel and Caroline Counties can lead to a misdemeanor charge, punishable by fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 for the first offense. Subsequent offenses carry penalties of fines between $500 and $1,000.
In St. Mary’s County, violation of this law can result in fines up to $1,000.
Child Access to Firearms
Section 4-104 of the Maryland criminal code specifies that leaving a firearm in a location accessible to a child (an individual under the age of 16) is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine up to $1,000.
However, this law does not apply if the child is over 18 years of age or possesses a hunter or firearm safety certificate. Additionally, if the child obtained the firearm through unlawful means or if the firearm belonged to a law enforcement officer on active duty, the accused individual may be exempt from charges.
Our experienced Maryland gun lawyers possess extensive knowledge and experience in handling the state’s complex and often perplexing firearm laws. By working with one of our defense attorneys, you will have the best possible chance of achieving a favorable outcome in court and resuming your normal life.