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Gun laws in Maryland regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Maryland in the United States.
Map of USA MD

Location of Maryland in the United States

State ConstitutionEdit

The Constitution of Maryland contains no provision protecting the right to keep and bear arms. The State preempts some local firearm regulations, though local governments may regulate firearms with respect to minors and areas of public assembly. Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, Gaithersburg, and Baltimore are known to have local firearm regulations.[1][2][3]

The Constitution of Maryland, Declaration of Rights, Art. 2. The Constitution of the United States, and the Laws made, or which shall be made, in pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, are, and shall be the Supreme Law of the State; and the Judges of this State, and all the People of this State, are, and shall be bound thereby; anything in the Constitution or Law of this State to the contrary notwithstanding. This section states that the Constitution of the United States shall be the Supreme Law of the state The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides for the right to bear arms, therefore, the Maryland Constitution does provide for the protection of the right to keep and bear arms. <>

Regulated firearmsEdit

The Maryland State Police maintain a registry of "regulated firearms" that are allowed to be sold within the state. Dealers must forward the manufacturer-included shell casing in its sealed container to the Department of State Police Crime Laboratory upon sale, rental, or transfer of a "regulated firearm" for inclusion in their ballistics database, known as the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS).[2][3]

Laws prohibiting firearmsEdit

As of 1 October 2013, detachable magazines for semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic centerfire rifles which are capable of holding more than 10 rounds may not be purchased, manufactured or sold, though they may be possessed (but not transferred) by persons who already owned them prior to enactment of the 2013 changes. Certain pistols are banned and are defined as "assault pistols." Any of the "assault pistols" on the list are lawful to possess only if they were registered prior to August 1, 1994.[1] Only handguns on the official handgun roster may be sold in the state. Private sales of "regulated firearms," which includes handguns, are permissable, but must be done at a local MSP barracks. As of 1 Oct, and HQL is required for the sale, as well as a background check and a mandatory seven day waiting period.. A person must obtain a safety training certificate prior to purchasing "regulated firearms" and present that certificate prior to each purchase. With some limited exceptions, only one "regulated firearm" may be purchased in any 30-day period. Handguns manufactured on or before December 31, 2002 must be sold or transferred with an external safety lock. Handguns manufactured after December 31, 2002 may only be sold or transferred if they have an internal mechanical safety device.[2][3]

Firearms are prohibited from certain places, including schools and demonstrations.

Carrying a handgun, whether openly or concealed, is prohibited unless one has a permit to carry a handgun or is on their own property or their own place of business. The Maryland State Police may issue a permit to carry a handgun at their discretion and based on an investigation.[2][3] On March 5, 2012, a federal judge ruled in Woollard v Sheridan that Maryland's "may issue" concealed carry law is unconstitutional, writing, "A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and substantial reason' why he should be permitted to exercise his rights." The Maryland Attorney General's office appealed the ruling.[4] On March 21, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (U.S. Federal) unanimously overturned the District Court ruling, holding that the "good & substantial cause" requirements imposed by Maryland law are permissible infringements on the 2nd Amendment.[5]

Recent eventsEdit

On April 4, 2013, the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation imposing significant new restrictions on gun ownership. The bills ban the sale of certain semi-automatic firearms that they define as assault weapons, limit magazine capacity to ten rounds, require that handgun purchasers be fingerprinted and pass a training class in order to obtain a handgun license, and bar persons who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution from possessing firearms. Governor Martin O'Malley signed the legislation into law on May 16, 2013.[6]

Summary tableEdit

Subject/Law Long Guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
Permit to purchase required? No Yes Md Public Safety Article Section 5-117.1[7] A Handgun Qualification License is required, unless exempted (Active Duty/Retired Military with identification cards, Active/Retired Law Enforcement with department credentials); training is required, unless exempted; fingerprints are required; background checks are required; does not invalidate the requirement to perform an comprehensive background check for every handgun purchase transaction.[7]
Firearm registration? No Yes The state police maintain a permanent record of all handgun transfers.
Owner license required? No No
Carry permits issued? No Yes Maryland is a "may issue" state for concealed carry. Applicants must demonstrate a "good and substantial reason" to carry a handgun. Permits are normally very difficult to obtain.
Open carry permitted? No Yes Open carry is technically permitted with a concealed carry license, but is not generally practiced.
State preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes Maryland has state preemption for most but not all firearm laws.
"Assault weapon" law? No* Yes Md Criminal Law Article Section 4-303 *.50 BMG caliber rifles and certain other models are are considered "regulated firearms". There is also a ban on "assault pistols". Beginning October 1, it will be illegal to possess either an "assault long gun" or a "copycat weapon" with more than one banned feature (folding stock, grenade/flare launcher, flash suppressor) unless registered before date of enactment.[7]
Magazine Capacity Restriction? Yes Yes Illegal to purchase, sell or manufacture magazines with a capacity of greater than 20 rounds within Maryland. However, possession of magazines greater than 20 rounds is legal. These may not, however, be transferred to a subsequent owner. Starting October 1, 2013 the magazine size restriction will be 10 rounds.
NFA weapons restricted? No* No* *Automatic firearms must be registered with the state police and short barreled rifles and shotguns must be owned in compliance with federal law.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – State Laws and Published Ordinances – Firearms" (PDF). Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "State Gun Laws: Maryland", National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Maryland State Law Summary", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  4. Associated Press (March 5, 2012). "Federal Judge Finds Right to Bear Arms Not Limited to Home, Md. Handgun Law Unconstitutional", The Washington Post. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  5. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (March 21, 2013). "Published Opinion - Raymond Woollard, et al. v. Denis Gallagher, et al.", 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
  6. Somers, Meredith (May 16, 2013). "O’Malley signs Maryland gun-control measure into law", Washington Times. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 (PDF). Retrieved October 9, 2013.

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