Surveying Gun Crimes In Maryland Involving Handguns
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants the right to bear arms. But the Maryland Criminal Code imposes certain restrictions on that constitutional right, including laws against carrying or transporting handguns in specific situations. Any person who violates these laws can face severe criminal penalties under Maryland law.
Maryland Definition of Handguns
The definition of a handgun appears at Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 4-201. Under this section, the term “handgun” refers to:
- Short-barreled shotguns;
- Short-barreled rifles; or
- Other firearms capable of being concealed on the person.
Under Section 4-201, the term handgun does not include:
- Standard-length shotguns
- Standard-length rifles; or
- Antique firearms.
In this context, the term “antique firearm” refers to:
- A firearm manufactured before 1899 with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar ignition system;
- A replica of such a firearm that does not use rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition; or
- A replica of such a firearm that uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, which is no longer manufactured in the United States or readily available.
Maryland Laws Against Carrying/Transporting Handguns
The laws against carrying or transporting a handgun appear at Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 4-203. This section makes it illegal to openly or in a concealed fashion:
- Carry, wear, or transport a handgun on or about the person; or
- Carry, wear, or transport a handgun in a vehicle while traveling on any public road, highway, parking lot, waterway, or airway.
In addition, Section 4-203 makes it unlawful to violate the rules above:
- While on public school property;
- With the deliberate purpose or injuring or killing someone else; or
- With a handgun that is loaded with ammunition.
That being said, Section 4-203 establishes numerous exceptions to the handgun regulations above, including but not limited to:
- Law enforcement officers;
- Correctional officers;
- Members of the armed forces;
- Members of the public with concealed carry licenses.
Maryland Penalties for Carrying/Transporting Handguns
Section 4-203 also furnishes the penalties for violating Maryland handgun laws. These penalties can change drastically based on the circumstances of the offense. But generally speaking, a violation of Maryland handgun laws is punishable as follows:
- First Offense — Misdemeanor charges punishable by imprisonment for 30 days to three years and criminal fines between $250 and $2,500;
- Second Offense — Misdemeanor charges punishable by imprisonment for one to 10 years and criminal fines between $250 and $2,500; or
- Third or Subsequent Offense — Misdemeanor charges punishable by imprisonment for three to 10 years and criminal fines between $250 and $2,500.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you are facing criminal charges, don’t hesitate to reach out to a skilled Bel Air gun crime attorney. Contact us today at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered for help with your case.