Maryland Gun Laws

Gun Laws in Maryland

Although there are federal gun laws that apply to everyone across the country, each state has their own set of firearm regulations and restrictions. Maryland gun laws have been developed over the years by their state legislature in coordination with gun owners, gun dealers and local and state police organizations. These laws reflect the needs of the gun sport enthusiasts and the average citizens who want to feel protected and secure.

Maryland LawsMaryland 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.

Maryland Gun Law Purchase Waiting Period

Maryland imposes a seven (7) day waiting period before purchasing any firearm other than a rifle or shotgun.

In order to own or purchase a handgun or assault weapon in Maryland, you first must be over 21 years old. You can not be a convicted felon or what Maryland law describes as a “habitual drunk.” If you had been confined to a mental facility for over 30 days you will be restricted from buying a handgun or assault weapon. Additionally, if you have been named in any type of restraining order against you, you’ll be disqualified from buying the firearm.

After filling out an application with a licensed dealer, the potential gun owner must wait for seven days while the Maryland State Police performs a background check to ascertain if the information in the application is factual. Even if the application is approved early, you still have to wait for the seven days. If the application is denied, you have thirty days to appeal. You can only purchase a single weapon every thirty days.

Transporting or Carrying Firearms in Maryland

If you are carrying a rifle or shotgun in your vehicle they must be unloaded. It is against the law to carry a handgun without a permit unless you can prove that you are transporting the gun from your residence to a place of business for sale or repair or to a shooting range. Even under those circumstances the handgun still needs to be unloaded and kept in either a carrying case or holster. You can’t have it tucked in the glove box or on the seat next to you.

Maryland Permit to Carry Gun Laws

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. []

Maryland gun law allows for gun owners to apply for permits to carry handguns, but these permits have to be approved by the Secretary of the State of Police. Not only will you have to fill out a proper application but also provide a notarized letter explaining why you feel the need to carry a handgun. The only acceptable reasons are if you use the gun in your line of work (such as a security guard or private detective) or if you feel under a substantive threat of persistent danger. The same restrictions regarding criminal, emotional and substance abuse histories apply to obtaining a permit to carry.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Registration of Firearms in Maryland

Every firearm that is purchased in Maryland will need to be registered with the state police. This registration includes the serial number of the weapon. The dealer also needs to provide a single shell casing fired from the gun submitted in a sealed envelope to the police. This will then be entered into the state ballistics database. It is against the law to sell or own any firearm without a serial number or identification mark. There is a $75 fee for the permit to carry and a $10 fee for the standard application.

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.

Reciprocal Carry

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

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