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Maryland Gun Laws

Like many states in the region, Maryland has very restrictive gun laws. In fact, the Maryland state constitution contains no provision protecting the right for individuals to keep and bear arms. Local governments have limited ability to preempt state firearms regulations. Obtaining a firearm in Maryland can be a complicated process, and as a ‘may issue’ state, Maryland has the right to deny any concealed carry applicants.

Maryland Gun Laws at a Glance


Concealed Carry Premit Required Yes
Open Carry Premitted Yes, with permit
Waiting period before purchasing Yes
Lost and Stolen Firearm Reporting Yes
Firearms License Required for Purchasing Yes, for handguns
Universal Background Check Yes / No for long guns
Firearm Registration Yes / No for long guns
Large Capacity Magazine Ban Yes

Firearm License Requirements


To obtain a handgun in Maryland, prospective transferees are required to have a valid handgun qualification license. In lieu of such a license, the transferee may possess either of the following:

  • Valid credentials from a law enforcement agency or retirement credentials from a law enforcement agency
  • A valid Military ID and evidence showing that he or she is an active or retired military member
  • The state must issue a handgun qualification license to any person who meets the following criteria:
  • Is at least 21 years old
  • Is a resident of Maryland
  • Has demonstrated satisfactory completion, within three years prior to the submission of his or her application, of a firearms safety training course approved by the Secretary. This course must include:
    • A minimum of four hours of instruction by a qualified handgun instructor
    • Class instruction on state firearm law, home firearm safety, and handgun operation
    • A firearms orientation component that demonstrates the person’s safe operation and handling of a firearm
  • Based on an investigation, is not prohibited by federal or state law from purchasing or possessing a handgun
  • Within 30 days of the application, the Secretary of State must issue a handgun qualification license or a written denial that includes the reason for rejection.

    In addition, Maryland requires that purchasers of state-defined handguns and assault weapons submit an application form prior to purchase. If the transfer is approved, the person has 90 days to complete the purchase.

Background Checks


Maryland requires Universal Background Checks on state-defined handguns and assault weapons. Unlicensed firearms sellers must process transfers of handguns and assault weapons through a licensed dealer or a designated law enforcement agency.

Private sales of rifles and shotguns do not need to be processed this way and the purchasers are not subject to background checks when buying them.

Gun Shows


Maryland requires all vendors who are displaying handguns and assault weapons for transfer to hold either:

  • A valid Maryland regulated firearms dealer’s license or
  • A temporary transfer permit issued by the Secretary of the Maryland State Police

Vendors displaying rifles and shotguns do not need either of these. The private transfers of these firearms are not subject to federal or state background checks.

Hardware and Ammunition Restrictions

Hardware Restrictions
Assault Weapons Prohibited.
50 Caliber Rifles Permitted, but subject to enhanced background checks, minimum age restrictions, and waiting periods.
Machine Guns Permitted -- Must be registered with the Secretary of Maryland State Police.
Large Capacity Magazines Prohibited.
Ammunition Explosive and incendiary ammunition prohibited.

Prohibited Persons


In Maryland, the transfer of a regulated firearm (meaning a handgun or assault weapon) must be denied if the transferee:

  • Has been convicted of a violent crime.
  • Has been convicted of a felony or of conspiracy to commit a felony
  • Has been convicted of a crime for which he or she received imprisonment for more than two years
  • Has been convicted of a Maryland misdemeanor that carries a penalty of more than two years
  • Is a fugitive from justice
  • Is a habitual drunkard
  • Is an addict or habitual user of any controlled dangerous substance
  • Is suffering from a mental disorder and has a history of violent behavior (unless the purchaser possesses a physician’s certificate stating that he or she is capable of possessing a regulated firearm without danger to himself, herself, or others)
  • Has been confined for more than 30 consecutive days to a facility (unless the purchaser possesses a physician’s certificate stating that he or she is capable of possessing a regulated firearm without danger to himself, herself, or others)
  • Is visibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Is under 21 years of age
  • Is a participant in a “straw purchase”
  • Is subject to a “non ex parte civil protective order”
  • If under the age of 30 years at the time of the transaction, has been adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would be a disqualifying crime if committed by an adult
  • Has not completed a certified firearms safety training course, required to obtain a regulated firearm

Prohibited Places

Location Restrictions Exceptions
Schools Maryland prohibits any person from carrying or possessing a firearm on public school property. Firearms may be carried for school activities with the approval of the school administrator.
Vehicles Maryland prohibits the transportation of a handgun, whether openly or concealed, in a vehicle. Maryland also prohibits the possession of a loaded handgun, shotgun, or rifle in any vehicle. This does not apply when transporting a handgun to and from:
  • A place of purchase or repair
  • A residence and business
  • An organized military activity, formal or informal target practice, sport shooting event, or hunting

Concealed Carry Laws


Notify Officer No
“No Gun” Signs Not Enforced
In-Vehicle Carry Not Permitted
Restaurant Carry Not Permitted
State Park Carry Permitted
While Hunting Permitted

Obtaining a Concealed Carry License

Maryland is considered a ‘may issue’ state. The secretary is only required to issue a handgun carry permit if he or she finds that the applicant has not exhibited violent or unstable tendencies, and has good and substantial reason to carry a handgun.

Requirements for a Concealed Carry License
Maryland may issue a concealed carry permit to anyone who:
  • Be an “adult”
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions for which the sentence of imprisonment was more than one year
  • If under age 30, have no adjudications of delinquency in a juvenile court for any act that would be a felony or “crime of violence” if committed by an adult or for any misdemeanor carrying a statutory penalty of two years or more
  • Have never been committed to any correctional institution for more than one year as a juvenile
  • Have no convictions involving the possession, use or distribution of controlled substances
  • Not be presently an alcoholic, addict, or habitual user of a controlled substance
  • Meet all federal and state requirements to possess a handgun, as outlined in the Maryland Prohibited Purchasers Generally section.

Concealed Carry Firearms Training

As stated in the above qualifications, an applicant must complete a firearms training course prior to submitting his or her application. The firearms training course must include:

  • A minimum of 16 hours of instruction by a qualified handgun instructor, or for a renewal application, 8 hours of instruction by a qualified handgun instructor
  • Classroom instruction on:
    • State firearm law;
    • Home firearm safety
    • Handgun mechanisms and operation
  • A firearms qualification component that demonstrates the applicant’s proficiency and use of the firearm
  • Is a law enforcement officer
  • Is a member, retired member, or honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States
  • Is a qualified handgun instructor

Concealed Carry Location Restrictions

Even with a valid concealed carry license, you may not carry concealed firearms at the following locations:

  • Public schools
  • Child care centers
  • State parks
  • State and national forests
  • Chesapeake Forest Lands
  • State Highway rest areas
  • On Commercial aircraft
  • Lodging establishments where the innkeeper has notified an individual that the establishment refuses to provide further lodging
  • Dredge boats
  • Adult Rehabilitation Centers
  • In or around State-owned public buildings
  • Any building where the Senate or the House has a chamber
  • Any building or grounds where a member, officer or employee of the General Assembly has an official office or any Joint Hearing Room
  • Demonstration at a public place or in a vehicle within 1,000 feet of a demonstration
  • If prohibited by a local municipality, within 100 yards of or in a park, church, school, public building and other places of public assembly
  • Any place while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. Gun laws can change frequently, especially at the state and local levels. Application of gun laws can be unique to an individual’s situation. We recommend that each individual consult with a competent and qualified legal professional before purchasing, transporting, or using any firearm or firearm-related product.