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What are the Gun Laws in Maryland?

A Synopsis of State Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms


Permit To Carry

Application for a permit to carry a handgun is made to the Secretary of State Police. In addition to the printed application form, the applicant should submit a notarized letter stating the reasons why he is applying for a permit.

The permit may be issued if the Secretary finds that the applicant:

  • Is 18 years of age or older.

  • Has not been convicted of a felony, or of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.

  • Has not been convicted of a crime involving the possession, use, or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance.

  • Is not an alcoholic, addict, or habitual user of a controlled substance.

  • Based on the results of an investigation, has not exhibited a propensity for violence or instability.

  • Based on the results of an investigation, has demonstrated a "good and substantial reason" to carry a handgun, including a finding that the permit is "necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger."

If an applicant is under the age of 30, the applicant is only qualified if the Secretary of the State Police finds that the applicant has not been:

  • Committed to a detention, training, or correctional institution for juveniles for longer than one year after an adjudication of delinquency.

  • Adjudicated a delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would be a crime of violence, a felony, or punishable by more than 2 years, if committed by an adult.

The Secretary, in his discretion, may add restrictions to the permit including limiting the location, circumstances or time at which the handgun may be carried.

The Secretary may charge a $75.00 nonrefundable fee payable upon submission of the application. The renewal fee is $50.00, and a duplicate or modified permit is $10.00. These fees may be reduced accordingly for a permit that is limited in time and place.

The permit is valid for two years after its issuance and expires on the last day of the holder’s birth month. Subsequent renewals are valid for periods of three years each. A permit holder must carry his permit whenever he carries, wears or transports a handgun. The permit is valid for each handgun legally in the possession of the person to whom the permit is issued.

It is unlawful for a permit holder to carry a handgun while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A person who is denied a permit, is denied renewal, has his permit revoked, or has a permit limited as to time and place may request the Secretary of the State Police to conduct an informal review. A written request must be filed with the Secretary within 10 days after receiving written notice of the Secretary’s initial action. Alternatively, a person may request that the Handgun Permit Review Board review the decision of the Secretary by filing a written request within 10 days of the Secretary’s initial action.


An antique firearm is defined as a firearm manufactured before 1899, or any replica thereof, which is not designed for firing fixed ammunition or which uses fixed ammunition and is no longer manufactured in the United States or readily available commercially. Antique firearms are exempt from state law.

Machine Guns

A machine gun is defined as a loaded or unloaded weapon wherein more than one shot may be automatically discharged from a magazine by a single function of the firing device.

Possession of a machine gun for an aggressive or offensive purpose is prohibited.

A machine gun must be registered within 24 hours of acquisition and annually thereafter with the Secretary of Police. There is a $10 fee.

A presumption of possession for an aggressive or offensive purpose is raised by (a) a failure to register the machine gun, (b) possession by a person who has been convicted of a crime of violence or by an alien, (c) possession elsewhere than on one’s premises owned or rented for permanent residence or business occupancy, or (d) when empty or loaded shells for the machine gun are found in the immediate vicinity thereof.

This law does not prohibit or interfere with any machine gun that is (a) manufactured, sold, or transported for a military force or peace officer of the United States, (b) possessed for scientific purposes, (c) not usable as a weapon and possessed as a curiosity, ornament or keepsake, or (d) possessed for a purpose manifestly not aggressive or offensive.


It is unlawful to alter or obliterate the manufacturer’s identification mark or number on any firearm. Any person in possession of such a weapon will be presumed to have committed the offense.

The Maryland state legislature has reserved to itself (and denied to county and local governments) the right to regulate possession, sale, carrying and transportation of firearms.

It is unlawful to carry any firearm or deadly weapon of any kind on any public school property.

The use of a handgun in the commission of a felony or any crime of violence is a separate crime. In addition to any other sentence imposed, the court is required to impose no less than the minimum sentence of five years, that may not be suspended, nor may probation be granted.

It is unlawful to store or leave a loaded firearm where a person knows or should know that an unsupervised person under 16 could gain access to it.

Any manufacturer that ships or transports a handgun to be sold, rented, or transferred in Maryland must include in the box with the handgun a separate sealed container holding a spent casing from that handgun. A handgun dealer must confirm compliance with this provision. A handgun dealer shall forward the sealed container holding a spent casing from the handgun that is subsequently sold or transferred to the state police.

Source: National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action

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