According to research on firearm restrictions, Maryland gun laws rank among the most stringent in the nation. That being said, many state officials feel more needs to be accomplished to further prevent dangerous individuals from maintaining access to guns. Two distinct classes of guns and regulations exist in Maryland-hunting firearms and handguns. They will be broken down as follows:
Rifles and Shotguns:
Permits to purchase and carry shotguns and rifles are not required
A license and registration at the time of purchase is not required
Background checks are not required at time of purchase
Handguns and Assault Weapons:
There is no permit required to purchase a handgun
Registration of handguns is required under Maryland gun laws
No license is required at time of purchase
A permit is required to carry a handgun under Maryland gun laws
A background check is required to purchase a handgun
The difference with these groups exists to dissuade the sale of handguns. Purchase of handguns or assault weapons are subject to disapproval from the state and law enforcement during a seven day waiting period.
During this time, the authorities will review the prospective buyer's application which includes questions pertaining to the expected use of the weapon, criminal history, and a description of the gun being purchased. The administrators will review the application, and if denied, the sale of that particular gun will be dissolved. An appeal is offered where further documentation must be sent to the secretary of police.
A permit is also mandatory to carry a handgun, but the requirements to obtain such a right are minimal. Fingerprints, safety training testing, and law enforcement are not involved in the permit process. The logic for a discrepancy between the two permits is simple-the process to purchase a handgun in Maryland is difficult; instituting a rigorous application process to conceal would be redundant.
Maryland law on gun is rigid for distributors of firearms. In addition to extensive record keeping which is later filed by the state, a license is required to sell all firearms under Maryland gun laws.
Limits on bulk purchases are also present-a buyer can only purchase one handgun per month with no exceptions. Maryland gun laws are also very strict in regards to guns in public places, juvenile purchases (must be 21) and child safety locks present on all firearms. These restrictions are among the most strict in the country, and have helped to control the illegal firearms market.
Although mostly strict, there are casual aspects to Maryland's gun laws. Inspections by police are not permissible on gun dealers, nor are security precautions required by the state for retail gun stores. Although ballistic fingerprinting is present under Maryland gun law, there is no mandatory micro-stamping on semi-automatic handguns.
Even with such strict restrictions on guns, Maryland routinely ranks among the most dangerous states in terms of violent crime statistics. One in every 156 citizens is the victim of a violent crime, while one in 11,427 is murdered.
These bleak numbers can be mainly attributed to Baltimore's struggles and failure to revitalize. Numbers may be misleading given the presence of dangerous urban landscapes. Although unpleasant, one can only imagine how the statistics would look if Maryland gun laws were mitigated.