The State of Maryland has tough gun laws especially compared to other parts of the United States.
Maryland gun laws regulate who can possess, carry, and sale firearms in the state. Several gun offenses exist in the Criminal Code and penalties include fines and jail time. The Maryland Criminal Code has both misdemeanor and felony gun offenses that depend on the facts and circumstances of the arrest and the individual’s background.
Misdemeanor Gun Offenses in Maryland
Enhanced Penalties for Wearing, Carrying, or Transporting Firearm
Additional Misdemeanor Gun Offenses in Maryland
There are additional misdemeanor gun offenses in Maryland including possessing deadly weapons on school property and giving access to a firearm to a child. The Maryland Criminal Code prohibits possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon on public school property. The maximum penalty for this offense is three years in prison and/or a $1,000.00 fine.
Maryland Criminal Code further prohibits granting children access to a firearm. The law considers a child in this situation to be someone under the age of 16. This crime prohibits leaving or storing a weapon in a place where an unsupervised child could access the weapon. The weapon also must be loaded. However, the Code provides several exceptions to this offense. First, its not a violation of the statute where the child is supervised by a person over the age of 18. Second, nothing prohibits the child from accessing the firearm if its in response to an unlawful entry into the home. Third, it does not apply to law enforcement officers. Finally, where the child has the proper hunter and firearm safety certificate, they are permitted access.
Possession of a firearm during a public demonstration is another Maryland misdemeanor gun offense. The law defines public demonstration as engaging in some type of public activity like speechmaking, marching, protesting, or holding a vigil, among other things. It is also illegal to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of the public demonstration, including possessing it in one’s vehicle. The maximum penalty for this offense is one year in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine.
Maryland Felony Gun Offenses
Unlawful possession if a firearm is another Maryland felony gun offense. Anyone convicted of a disqualifying crime cannot lawfully possess a firearm in Maryland. Accordingly, its important to understand what types of criminal convictions can disqualify an individual from possessing a gun in Maryland. These offenses include all felonies, crimes of violence, and any misdemeanors carrying a maximum penalty higher than two years.
Additional circumstances can disqualify a citizen from legally possessing or carrying a firearm in Maryland. Its illegal for people under 21 go carry a firearm in Maryland. In addition, a person subject to a Protective Order may not lawfully possess or carry a firearm in Maryland. In fact, judges will typically order anyone subject to a protective order to relinquish their firearms to a law enforcement agency. Someone designated a habitual drunkard or drug user can get disqualified from lawfully possessing or carrying a gun. This typically involves someone convicted of two controlled substances crimes, including one within the last five years. If someone gets convicted for DUI or DWI, they cannot possess a lawful gun if it occurred within the last year. The penalties range from a five-year mandatory minimum to a maximum of 15 years.
Maryland Assault Weapon Ban
Furthermore, its illegal to possess or use an assault pistol during a crime of violence. Conviction for possession of an assault pistol during a crime of violence carries a five year mandatory minimum prison sentence. If its an individual’s second offense, the mandatory minimum penalty jumps to 10 years. Each offense carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.
In addition, Maryland law prohibits machine guns. Criminal Code Section 4-401(b) defines what constitutes a crime of violence in Maryland. Machine gun possession for an aggressive or offensive purpose carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail. This offense is a misdemeanor. Use or possession of a machine gun during a crime of violence is a felony with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Hiring a Maryland Gun Attorney
Consequences for both misdemeanor and felony gun offenses can be severe. Penalties can include jail time, probation, and fines. Accordingly, if arrested, charged, or under investigation for a Maryland gun offense, its incredibly important to consult a qualified Maryland criminal defense lawyer with experience defending gun crimes. Attorney Morgan Leigh has represented individuals charged with both felony and misdemeanor offenses across the State of Maryland including Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties as well as surrounding counties. If you or a friend or family member are facing a Maryland gun charge or arrest, contact Attorney Morgan Leigh today for a full case evaluation.
Its important to have an attorney guide you through the criminal justice system. An aggressive attorney will fight to protect your constitutional rights and try to help mitigate the potential consequences you may face for a Maryland gun charge.