How Does Maryland Regulate the Use of Handguns?
Recognizing that a large number of violent crimes stem from the use of handguns, Maryland law regulates how a person can wear, carry or transport these firearms. These regulations are designed to preserve peace and tranquility throughout the state as well as protect public rights and liberties.
Definition of a Handgun in Maryland
The definition of a handgun appears under Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 4-201. Under state law, the term handgun:
- Refers to a pistol, revolver or any other firearm that a person can carry in a concealed manner;
- Includes firearms such as short-barreled shotguns and rifles; and
- Does not include regular shotguns or rifles or antique firearms.
Wearing, Carrying or Transporting a Handgun in Maryland
The rules for wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun appear under Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 4-203. Whether openly or in a concealed fashion, state law prohibits any person from wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun:
- On their person;
- In a vehicle on a public roadway;
- At a public school or on school property; or
- With the deliberate intent to injure or kill another person.
That being said, there is an extensive list of exceptions under Maryland law. The exceptions to Section 4-203 include but are not limited to:
- Law enforcement officers who are authorized to wear, carry or transport a handgun as part of their official equipment;
- Military service personnel who are authorized to wear, carry or transport a handgun as part of their official equipment;
- Individuals with a valid state permit to wear, carry or transport a handgun;
- Supervisory employees who are authorized to wear, carry or transport a handgun in the course of employment;
- Individuals who are transporting an unloaded and enclosed handgun for purchase, sale or repair;
- Legitimate gun collectors who are moving unloaded and enclosed handguns for public or private exhibition; and
- Individuals who are wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun for hunting purposes.
Penalties for Violating Handgun Laws in Maryland
The penalties for violating Maryland handgun laws also appear in Section 4-203. There is a tiered system of penalties that increase for repeat offenders:
- First Offense — A single violation of Maryland handgun laws is a misdemeanor offense, generally punishable by 30 days to three years in prison and $250 to $2,500 in fines;
- Second Offense — A second violation of Maryland handgun laws is a misdemeanor offense, generally punishable by 12 months to 10 years in prison; and
- Third or Subsequent Offense — A third or subsequent violation of Maryland handgun laws is a misdemeanor offense, generally punishable by 36 months to 10 years in prison.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal help with handgun laws in Maryland, it can be extremely beneficial to reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, have proven capabilities in the field of criminal defense, including handgun laws. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.