Maryland Gun Lawyer
Title 4 of Maryland’s criminal code details the laws surrounding weapon crimes. Gun laws are a major portion of this section, dealing with handguns, assault pistols, detachable ammunition magazines and the Uniform Machine Gun Act. Gun crimes in Maryland can be met with either misdemeanor or felony charges, which could result in penalties ranging from expensive fines to substantial time behind bars. Those accused of gun crimes within the state can reap the benefits of consulting one of our Maryland gun lawyers, who have the knowledge and experience to weave through the legal process and work hard to preserve the rights of the men and women of Maryland.
Carrying, Transporting and Wearing a Handgun
Maryland criminal code Section 4-203 outlines an individual’s rights to a handgun. While there is a long list of exceptions, this section states that an individual is prohibited from wearing, carrying and knowingly transporting a handgun, whether that handgun is concealed or out in the open. Violating this broad, sweeping law is also prohibited on the grounds of a public school and when used for the deliberate purpose of killing or injuring another individual.
While this is the general law, a man or woman serving as law enforcement is granted the right to wear, carry and transport a handgun while on active duty. This includes:
- State and out-of-state police officers
- United States armed forces personnel
- Correctional officers / warden at a correctional facility
Others exempt from the law include:
- Those issued a permit under Title 5, Subtitle 3
- Individuals transporting a handgun from point of legal purchase or to a repair shop
- Those engaging in military activity, target practice, hunting, safety classes, etc.
- Those carrying the handgun on their own property business or residential
A violation of Section 4-203 results in a misdemeanor charge. Depending on prior convictions, penalties can include fines between $250 and $2,500 along with prison stints ranging from 30 days to 10 years.
Use of a Handgun During a Crime of Violence
Section 4-204 of the Maryland criminal code states that an individual is prohibited from using a handgun during a crime of violence. A crime of violence is detailed in Section 5-101. Antique firearms that an individual is able to conceal are also prohibited from being used in this situation.
By doing so, an individual is subjected to a misdemeanor charge, which is added on to the other charges that stem from the act of the violent crime. Penalties equate to between five and 20 years in prison.
According to the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention, violent crimes in the state during 2010 totaled 31,605. This was the lowest total since 1978. In 2010, 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 transporting an assault pistol into the state under Section 4-303 of the Maryland criminal code. It is also considered illegal to possess, sell, buy or receive an assault pistol in the state.
Those that possessed an assault pistol before June 1, 1994 and registered it with Maryland’s Secretary of State or State Police before Aug. 1, 1994 are not in violation of state law. If a man or woman is ordered by a state court to surrender an assault pistol, they are allowed to transport it to law enforcement officials when notifying the authorities beforehand.
Assault pistols are defined in Section 4-301, detailing each gun type and manufacturer.
Similarly, an individual is not allowed to manufacture, sell, purchase, receive or transfer detachable gun magazines that hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition.
A misdemeanor charge results from a violation of Section 4-303, which is punishable by up to three years in prison or fines up to $5,000. These penalties can change if an assault pistol or detachable magazine is used during a crime of violence.
Deadly Weapons on School Property
As previously stated, deadly weapons are not permitted on the grounds of public schools, according to Section 4-102 of the Maryland criminal code. This includes a gun, knife or any other weapons deemed deadly under state law.
Exceptions to this law include:
- Law enforcement officers
- Educational, organized shooting activities
- Anyone hired by the county board of education to guard school property
- Anyone with a written invitation from the principal using a weapon for an educational purpose
Violating this law results in penalties of up to three years imprisonment, up to $1,000 in fines or both.
Machine Gun Registration
Under the Uniform Machine Gun Act contained in Section 4-402 of the Maryland criminal code, individuals in the state are allowed to possess a machine gun if it is:
- For scientific purposes
- Not used as a weapon, but rather a keepsake
- Used for a purpose that is manifestly not aggressive
- Being transported to law enforcement per a court order
As stated in Section 4-403, all machine guns must be registered with the manufacturer. The registration must include:
- Serial number
- Method of manufacture
- Name, address and occupation of the recipient
- Date the gun was manufactured, sold, loaned, gifted or delivered
Failure to register a machine gun can result in fines up to $100.
Target Practice Laws Vary
Under Section 4-108 of the Maryland criminal code, individuals in Anne Arundel, St. Mary’s and Caroline Counties are prohibited from taking target practice, or discharging a weapon in general, on another individual’s land without getting written permission from the property’s owner first.
Failure to do so in Anne Arundel and Caroline Counties can result in a misdemeanor charge that is punishable by $250 to $1,000 for the first offense. Each offense following the first is punishable by fines between $500 and $1,000.
In St. Mary’s County, violation of the law can result in fines up to $1,000.
Child’s Access to Firearms
Maryland criminal code Section 4-104 specifies that leaving a firearm in a place where a child (an individual under the age of 16) can access it is a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine up to $1,000.
If the child in the case is an individual older than 18 years of age or has a hunter or firearm safety certificate, this law does not apply. If the child used unlawful entry to obtain the firearm, or the firearm belonged to a law enforcement officer on active duty, an accused offender could also be exempt from charges.
Our seasoned Maryland gun lawyers have years of experience dealing with the state’s complex and often confusing firearm laws. By working with one of our defense attorneys, you’ll have the best possible chance of receiving a positive outcome in court and resuming your life as normal.