No matter where they stand on gun control, one thing that most people can agree on is that whatever laws exist should be followed and that serious consequences can result from failing to abide by gun control laws. Maryland happens to have one of the more rigorous set of gun control laws, and now gun-control advocates are trying to make it a model for other states in the nation to follow.
Maryland’s Gun Control Laws
Maryland’s gun control laws became much tougher in 2013 when new restrictions were passed.
Maryland requires that any handgun owner possess a license. It does not matter if the gun is open, concealed, in your car, in your boat, etc. – an owner must have a permit or license to own it. The law does not apply to guns being kept in someone’s own home.
Background checks on potential purchasers are also conducted, and law enforcement maintains an active roster of those who own guns.
Open carry permits are not easy to get. Those seeking a permit must show why they need to carry openly. This usually involves showing that one’s life or safety may be in jeopardy. There is no need for a permit for shotguns or so-called “long guns.”
Machine guns must be registered annually with the state, as well, and assault weapons with magazines that carry more than 10 bullets are prohibited.
No more than one gun can be purchased within a 30-day period and there is a seven-day waiting period before purchasers can take their guns home.
Laws Have Been Challenged in Court and by Neighboring States
Some of those laws are being challenged in court. Parts of the 2013 laws that banned numerous kinds of assault weapons from being owned at all were upheld by a federal judge, but the decision is on appeal.
While Maryland’s laws are serious, Mayland does border on states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia that have much more lenient laws. Thus, Maryland tends to see an influx of guns that were bought legally in bordering states and brought across state lines.
Legislators argue that Maryland’s laws have limited effect without other states following its lead and have pushed to have Maryland’s laws be passed nationally.
Traveling in and out of Maryland
About 17 states honor Maryland’s licensing, meaning that so long as carrying a weapon is legal in Maryland, it is legal in whatever state the gun owner is in. However, the reciprocal is not always true. Even if carrying a certain gun a certain way in your home state is legal, that does not mean that Maryland recognizes those laws.
Visitors need to make sure that they are in compliance with Maryland’s gun laws. For example, owning a weapon that does not require a permit in your home state is illegal to own if you come into Maryland with it and it has no permit.
Violating gun laws can lead to serious charges, and some of the laws can be complex. If you have been arrested or are charged with a gun-related legal violation, contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your rights.