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Maryland Domestic Violence Laws On Removal Or Surrender Of Firearms

GunSurrender

Domestic violence is a form of abuse under Maryland law where the abuser and the victim share a personal relationship. In these cases, the presence of any firearm can exacerbate an already strained situation. Accordingly, Maryland law enables the removal or surrender of firearms in domestic violence cases.

Removing Firearm from Domestic Violence Scene

The laws enabling the removal of a firearm from the scene of a domestic violence incident appear under Maryland Code of Family Section 4-511. When a law enforcement responds to a domestic violence incident, they may remove a firearm from the scene if:

  • There is probable cause to believe that domestic violence occurred; and
  • The officer observed the firearm at the scene of the incident.

When a law enforcement officer removes any firearm(s) under Section 4-511, they must:

  • Provide the alleged abuser with information on the process for recovering the firearm(s); and
  • Transport and store the firearm(s) in a way that prevents damage while in storage.

Surrendering Firearms Under Protective Orders

The rules governing temporary protective orders appear under Maryland Code of Family Section 4-505. When granting a temporary protective order, a Maryland judge may order the surrender of any firearms if the abuser:

  • Used a firearm against the victim;
  • Threatened to use a firearm against the victim;
  • Caused serious bodily harm to the victim; or
  • Threatened to cause serious bodily harm to the victim.

The rules governing final protective orders appear under Maryland Code of Family Section 4-506. Final protective orders require a hearing to determine whether abuse occurred, using preponderance of the evidence as the standard.

If a Maryland judge determines that abuse occurred, they may issue a final protective order and require the surrender of any firearms in the abuser’s possession. For the duration of the final protective order, the abuser must refrain from possessing any firearm.

Recovering Firearms After Protective Orders

The process for recovering a firearm after expiration of a protective order appears under Maryland Code of Family Section 4-506.1. When a protective order requires surrender of a firearm, a law enforcement officer must:

  • Take possession of the firearm(s) in question;
  • Provide the abuser with information on the process for recovering the firearm(s); and
  • Transport and store the firearm(s) in a way that prevents damage throughout the duration of the protective order.

Under Section 4-506.1, it is possible to recover any surrendered firearm after the expiration of the protective order in question. But there are several exceptions.

When a temporary protective order expires, the abuser may recover any surrendered firearm, unless:

  • A judge issues a final protective order that requires surrender of firearms; or
  • The abuser is no longer legally entitled to own or possess a firearm.

When a final protective order expires, the abuser may recover any surrendered firearm, unless:

  • A judge extends the duration of the final protective order; or
  • The abuser is no longer legally entitled to own or possess a firearm.

Do You Need Legal Help?

For help with your case, reach out to the skilled Bel Air domestic violence attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered. We are eager to assist you today.

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