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Current Maryland Gun Laws for 2022.


Senate Bill 387/House Bill 425

The legislation will ban the purchase of unserialized firearms on June 1, 2022, and ownership on March 1, 2023.

Anyone who possesses a ghost gun after that date will be subject to a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years imprisonment, averting a lifetime ban on gun possession.

People who sell or transfer the firearms would be subject to a misdemeanor punishable by up to five years imprisonment or a $10,000 fine and would be unable to own firearms.


The state of Maryland has several rules and regulations pertaining to the ownership and use of firearms. As a gun owner, you should keep the following in mind:

  • You do not need a permit to purchase or carry rifles and shotguns in the state of Maryland. Registration of firearms and the licensing of owners is also not necessary for rifles or shotguns.

  • You do, however, need a permit to purchase and carry handguns. Registration of firearms and licensing of owners is also necessary for handguns. To apply for a handgun in Maryland, click on this link

  • If you do not have a permit, you may not wear or carry a handgun, openly or concealed. Without a permit, you are also prohibited from knowingly transporting a handgun in any vehicle traveling on public roads, waterways or airways.

  • You may not possess a firearm in Maryland if you are a habitual drunkard, a fugitive from the law, are under the age of 21 (for handguns), mental institution patient of 30 days or more, if you are addicted to a controlled substance, are a convicted felon (or have been convicted of a violent crime), and more. If you are caught unlawfully possessing a firearm, you may spend up to 10 years in prison, and if you have three or more unlawful possession convictions, you may spend at least 15 years in prison.

  • Though the sale or transfer of a rifle or shotgun to anyone under the age of 18 is illegal, it is not illegal to possess a shotgun while under the age of 18.

  • You may not obliterate or alter the manufacturer’s identification mark or number on a firearm. If you do, or even if you are caught in possession of a weapon with an altered/removed ID mark/number, law enforcement will assume you have committed the offense.

  • You may not carry a firearm of any kind on public school property. If you are found guilty of doing so, you may spend up to 5 years in prison

  • You may not have a loaded firearm in an area where you know or should reasonably know that someone under the age of 16 can access it.

  • Even if you have a gun permit, you still may not use a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Antique firearms are exempt from certain state laws, depending on individual circumstances surrounding the case.

Penalties For Unlawful Gun Possession in Maryland

There are various penalties you may face for unlawfully possessing a firearm within the state. Some of the penalties for the unlawful possession of a firearm (usually a misdemeanor) in Maryland are as follows:

  • First Offense: Up to 3 years of incarceration, as well as up to $2,500 in fines

  • Second Offense: Up to 10 years in prison, as well as potential fines

  • Third or Subsequent Offense: At least 3 years in prison, though no more than 10 years.



What Types of Handguns Are Illegal in Maryland?

Though in many cases, it is perfectly legal to own a handgun in the state of Maryland, the state prohibits the possession, use, and sale of what are referred to as “assault pistols.” If you are someone who is caught owning, using, or selling one of these assault pistols, you will most likely face harsh consequences, including up to three years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $5,000. Some examples of assault pistols are as follows:

  • AA Arms AP-9 semiautomatic pistol

  • A.W.S. type semiautomatic pistol

  • Skorpion semiautomatic pistol

  • Spectre double-action semiautomatic pistol (Sile, F.I.E., Mitchell)

  • UZI semiautomatic pistol

  • Weaver Arms semiautomatic Nighthawk pistol

  • Wilkinson semiautomatic “Linda” pistol

  • Bushmaster semiautomatic pistol

  • Claridge HI-TEC semiautomatic pistol

  • D Max Industries semiautomatic pistol

  • Ingram MAC 10/11 semiautomatic pistol

  • Partisan Avenger and the SWD Cobray

  • Intratec TEC-9/DC-9 semiautomatic pistol in any centerfire variation

  • Encom MK-IV, MP-9, or MP-45 semiautomatic pistol

  • Heckler and Koch semiautomatic SP-89 pistol

  • Holmes MP-83 semiautomatic pistol


How to Get a Handgun Permit in Maryland

To apply for a handgun in Maryland, you will have to do several things. First, you must have your digital fingerprints taken at a Maryland fingerprint processing center. From here, you will submit those digital fingerprints to the Maryland State Police. Next, you will submit your application to the Maryland State Police for the Maryland Handgun Qualification License. From here, you will complete the 16-hour Firearms Safety Training Course. At this point, you will receive your HQL card. Then, you will receive your HQL card, and verify it with a firearm dealer. Finally, you will complete your application to purchase a handgun, have that application submitted by a dealer to the Maryland State Police, and after waiting seven days, that application should be approved, and you will be allowed to purchase the gun from the dealer. At this point, the dealer will transfer the gun to you, and you will own your handgun. To apply for a handgun in Maryland, please click on this link

Where can you fire/discharge your firearms?


Legal Discharge of a Firearm

The easiest place to discharge a firearm in a way that is safe and secure is at a gun range. They are located throughout each county. The gun range will want the person to come in and fill out some paperwork, or present licensing, to show the person is the owner of the gun. If a person is going to a gun range to discharge their own firearm, he needs to make sure that he transports it properly and legally.

That means that it is completely unloaded, that is separate from the ammunition, and that both are stored in the trunk, as far back in the person’s vehicle as possible, so they are not able to grasp quickly or in their immediate control. Transportation is exceptionally important but taking a firearm to a gun range is going to be by far the safest thing a person can do because the person knows he is in an environment where he is allowed to fire. That is the number one priority for that person to discharge their weapon in a place where they can, in fact, do so.


Conditions for Unlawful Discharge

Outside of a gun range, is absolutely illegal to discharge any firearm. If the person is not hunting, it is illegal. Firing a gun into the air or on private property or a farm in some fashion is illegal. If a person unlawfully discharges their weapon in a populated area, the person could be charged with recklessly endangering the greater public. Even an accidental discharge can result in charges. If a person does not properly carry their firearm, it goes off in their pocket and shoots a hole in the sidewalk or their foot, the person can be charged for that, and the penalties can be quite severe.

This includes BB guns and pellet guns which are prohibited. Depending on what the circumstances are and the type of firearm that was discharged, the penalties can certainly vary, but the prosecutors do try to send a message with these. If a person is not at a firing range, the best bet is the person probably should not be firing that gun unless he is out hunting. Hunting requires a permit, and it must be in season.




Maryland General Assembly


Maryland Matters publication


Seth Okin – Criminal Lawyer


Albers & Associates


Maryland State Police

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