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Maryland Gun Laws

Maryland Gun Laws



Over the past ten years, Maryland’s gun laws have undergone significant changes, reflecting the state’s commitment to responsible firearm ownership and public safety. From background checks to assault weapon bans, these developments aim to strike a balance between Second Amendment rights and community security. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the key advancements in Maryland’s gun laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, presented in bullet points:

2013 – Firearm Purchase Background Checks:

   – Maryland enacts laws requiring background checks for all firearm purchases, including private sales and transactions at gun shows.

2014 – Enhanced Reporting of Mental Health Records:

   – Maryland improves the reporting of mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to prevent firearm access by prohibited individuals.

2015 – Assault Weapon Ban Strengthening:

   – Legislation is introduced to enhance Maryland’s existing ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, focusing on reducing potential risks.

2016 – “Red Flag” Law Enactment:

   – Maryland becomes one of the first states to implement “red flag” laws, allowing law enforcement and family members to seek temporary firearm removal for individuals deemed a risk.

2017 – Enhanced Penalties for Gun Crimes:

   – Legislation is introduced to enforce stricter penalties for individuals convicted of gun-related crimes, aiming to deter illegal firearm use.

2018 – Enhanced Firearm Storage Requirements:

   – Maryland introduces regulations mandating safe firearm storage to prevent unauthorized access, particularly in households with minors.

2019 – Enhanced Background Checks for Concealed Carry:

   – The state tightens the background check process for concealed carry permit applicants, focusing on mental health history and criminal records.

2020 – Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms:

   – Maryland introduces regulations requiring reporting lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement, aiming to prevent potential diversion to illegal markets.

2021 – Enhanced Assault Weapon and Magazine Bans:

   – Legislation is introduced to further strengthen Maryland’s assault weapon and high-capacity magazine bans, addressing evolving firearm technologies.

2022 – Ammunition Purchase Restrictions:

    – Maryland explores regulations on ammunition sales, prompting discussions on responsible ammunition ownership and potential background checks.

2022 – “Red Flag” Law Review:

    – Maryland reviews its “red flag” laws to assess their effectiveness and potential improvements in implementation.

2023 – Firearm Training Requirements for Concealed Carry:

    – Proposed legislation aims to enhance firearm training requirements for concealed carry permit applicants, emphasizing responsible gun ownership and firearm handling skills.

2023 – Enhanced Mental Health Reporting:

    – Maryland continues to improve the reporting of mental health records to NICS to ensure the prevention of firearm access by prohibited individuals.

2023 – School Safety Legislation:

    – Maryland explores legislation to enhance school safety by permitting certain school staff to carry concealed firearms on school grounds, subject to proper training.

Maryland’s gun laws have evolved significantly over the past decade, reflecting the state’s dedication to responsible firearm ownership and community safety. From background check enhancements to discussions on “red flag” laws and the strengthening of assault weapon bans, these changes underscore Maryland’s proactive approach to firearm regulation. As the state continues to adapt its laws, it remains crucial for stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens to engage in informed discussions that balance individual rights with the security of the community.

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.