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Maryland Gun Laws and How They Compare Nationally

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By    |   Monday, 17 Nov 2014 08:41 PM

Maryland gun laws impose some of the toughest restrictions on gun owners in the United States. In fact, Maryland is one of six states that do not have a constitutional provision that guarantees the right to bear arms. The five states that join Maryland in not specifically securing the individual right to bear arms are California, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.

In 2013, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization that seeks to “influence firearm policy and legislation,” ranked all 50 states in terms of their firearm policies. Maryland’s strict gun laws earned the state the ranking of fourth in the nation, and Maryland was described as having “some of the strongest gun laws in the country.”

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That same year Maryland passed the Firearm Safety Act, which is largely viewed as one of the strictest gun laws in the nation. In part, the law was enacted in response to the tragic Newtown massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, which occurred in 2012.

The Washington Post
reported that the Firearm Safety Act “ratcheted up the state’s already tough rules,” and that due to provisions in the bill, Maryland would join, “Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey in requiring fingerprinting of gun buyers.”

The Firearm Safety Act was challenged in federal court but was upheld in August 2014. As reported in the Washington Times, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake’s written opinion stated that the law “seeks to address a serious risk of harm to law enforcement officers and the public from the greater power to injure and kill presented by assault weapons and large capacity magazines.”

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Below are some of the general provisions of the Firearm Safety Act. It is important to note that the new regulations are not retroactive to firearms and magazines purchased or possessed prior to Oct. 1, 2013.
  • Gun owners must report the theft of a firearm within 72 hours.
  • New Maryland residents must register their firearms within 90 days with the Maryland State Police.
  • The bill defined 45 specific rifles as “Assault Long Guns” and banned the sale of assault guns and any “copycat” versions, which met the specific criteria delineated in the bill.
  • The purchase, transfer, or sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines is prohibited, and magazine size is restricted to no more than 10 rounds.
  • Possession of any ammunition by persons not qualified to possess a firearm is prohibited.
  • Handgun purchases require a handgun qualification license from the Maryland State Police and the completion of a firearms orientation course.
With the addition of the Firearm Safety Act regulations, Maryland’s already tough gun laws became even more prohibitive to gun owners. With specific restrictions on the sale, transfer, rent, or possession of handguns, a ban on assault-type weapons, restrictions on ammunition capacity and possession, and strict licensing requirements, Maryland will continue to rank as a state with some of the strongest gun laws in the nation.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws of your state and destination before travel.

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Maryland gun laws impose some of the toughest restrictions on gun owners in the United States. In fact, Maryland is one of six states that do not have a constitutional provision that guarantees the right to bear arms.
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Monday, 17 Nov 2014 08:41 PM
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