Maryland’s Handgun Laws

August 31, 2012

Handgun Laws and Concealed-Carry Permits in Maryland

Handgun ownership and control has been a hot topic with the recent mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado and arrest of Neil Edwin Prescott in Crofton, Maryland, who threatened to commit a workplace shooting, many news outlets have been. This leads many people to wonder what would happen if they were charged with illegal possession of a handgun.

In Maryland, the definition of handgun includes: antique firearm, pistol, revolver, short-barreled shotguns or rifles, and any other firearm that can be concealed on your person.

Handgun owners are prohibited from:

  • Wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun, either concealed or not, on the person without a permit;
  • Wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun in a vehicle traveling on a road on parking lot, highway, waterway or airway;
  • Wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun on public school property; and
  • Wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun with the intent to injure or kill another person.

There are exceptions to these laws. For instance, a police officer is legally allowed to carry a weapon, as is a member of the armed forces who is on duty. You are allowed to transport a handgun from the store where you legally bought it or a repair shop.

Currently, Maryland’s concealed-carry handgun permit is under fire. In 2010, Raymond Wollard filed a lawsuit against the state when he was denied a renewal for his concealed-carry permit in 2009. Judge Benson Everett Legg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland sided with Wollard. Judge Legg said states are allowed to place certain restrictions on gun permits for public safety, but the Maryland law acted as a “rationing system.” The ruling was then stayed to allow the state attorney general’s office to appeal the decision.

In late July, Judge Legg lifted the stay and ordered Maryland officials to stop enforcing the law requiring a “good and substantial reason” to carry a concealed weapon. The order was supposed to go into effect on August 7. However, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state could continue to enforce the current law and require documentation and proof for the need to carry a concealed handgun until the is a ruling on the appeal. The 4th Circuit Court is scheduled to hear the appeal in late October.

Whether or not the concealed-carry permit law stays the same or is ruled unconstitutional, the right to own a handgun does not shield the owner from prosecution if he commits certain crimes. Possessing an unlicensed handgun will result in a minimum incarceration sentence of 30 days, with a maximum sentence of up to three years.

Other handgun crimes include:

  • carrying with deliberate intent to injure or kill, which has a maximum incarceration sentence of five years;
  • obliterating the identification mark or number, which has a maximum incarceration sentence of three years;
  • the sale, transfer, or possession of restricted pistols and revolvers, which has a maximum incarceration sentence of three years;
  • the sale, transfer, or possession of stolen pistols, which has a maximum incarceration sentence of three years;
  • the unlawful possession of short-barreled rifles and shotguns, which has a maximum incarceration sentence of five years; and
  • the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony, which has a maximum incarceration sentence of 20 years.

If you are charged with the possession of a handgun while in Maryland, be sure to contact an attorney with Cochran and Chhabra at 888-268-5515.

The law office of Cochran & Chhabra has provided this website and its content for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to be legal advice or counsel. Your use of this site and its content does not construct a lawyer-client relationship with Cochran & Chhabra. You should consult an attorney for individual advice concerning your particular situation.

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