Maryland Gun Laws

Complete guide to gun laws in Maryland

Updated: February 19, 2020

Updated April 6, 2019:

 

Your guide
mark woodward

Mark Woodward

Mark Woodward

Maryland gun laws operate on a “May Issue” policy at the state level. This means you must show good cause as to why you should have a permit and supply documentation to confirm your reasons for a permit to be issued. Some reasons could be safeguarding cash for a business or working for a security firm. The "May Issue" policy makes obtaining a handgun permit in Maryland fairly difficult but not impossible. Marylands constitution has no provision to protect the right of individuals to bear or keep firearms.


Your guide
Image

Mark Woodward

Maryland gun laws operate on a “May Issue” policy at the state level. This means you must show good cause as to why you should have a permit and supply documentation to confirm your reasons for a permit to be issued. Some reasons could be safeguarding cash for a business or working for a security firm. The "May Issue" policy makes obtaining a handgun permit in Maryland fairly difficult but not impossible. Marylands constitution has no provision to protect the right of individuals to bear or keep firearms.

Maryland gun laws operate on a “May Issue” policy at the state level. This means you must show good cause as to why you should have a permit and supply documentation to confirm your reasons for a permit to be issued. Some reasons could be safeguarding cash for a business or working for a security firm. The "May Issue" policy makes obtaining a handgun permit in Maryland fairly difficult but not impossible. Marylands constitution has no provision to protect the right of individuals to bear or keep firearms.

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Quick facts

Carry In Vehicle SEE DETAILS
Must Notify Officer NO
State Park Carry NO
Gun Signs Enforced SEE DETAILS
Open Carry NO
Restaurant Carry YES
Constitutional Carry NO
See Details
See Details

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total active ccw
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States honoring
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CCW licenses
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MD honors
States not
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honoring MD license

Maryland Reciprocity Map

  • Issuing State
  • MD license honored
  • MD license not honored
  • MD residential license only
  • Issuing State
  • MD license honored
  • MD license not honored
  • MD residential license only

Maryland reciprocity guide for handgun permits

Maryland does not honor any other states CCW license/permit. There is one exception and that is for armored car drivers if they are on duty and have a valid CCW permit from another state.

A word of caution, there are license plate reader cameras placed around the state. These cameras are connected to various databases including CCW permit holder lists from some states and background check programs. So the chances are good they will know you are a CCW permit holder if you visit the state.

States that will honor a Maryland handgun permit
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states

Resident Permits
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin

Non-Resident Permits
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin

Handgun permits Maryland will honor
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states

Maryland will not honor any other states handgun permits.

States that will not honor a Maryland handgun permit
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states

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, .

District
Washington D.C.

Overview of the Maryland handgun permit

texas state flag
Maryland state flag
  • Issue policy - May Issue
  • Issued to - Residents & Non-Residents
  • License Fee - $75
  • License Valid - 2 years

Handgun Permit Overview

The Maryland Wear & Carry permit is initially issued for 2 years for a new application but on subsequent renewals that increases to 3 years. It can be very difficult for an individual to obtain the permit if they cannot demonstrate a valid reason they need to carry a handgun. The permit can be easier to obtain if you have a business interest in Maryland. However, the permit would be restricted to only allow carry when you were running the business.

Non-Resident Licenses

Handgun permits are available for non-residents. The application process for non-residents is the same as for residents. Be warned though that is nearly impossible for non-residents to obtain a carry permit. You would need to show good cause as to why you need a permit and supply police reports along with other documentation.

Maryland Non-Resident permit is valid in:
AK, AL, AR, AZ, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, MD, MO, MS, MT, NC, OH, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI,

Maryland Code: Public Safety -Article 27 - Crimes And Punishments: Handguns : § 36E. Permits.

Handgun Training

New applicants are required to complete a 16 hour firearms training course, this is reduced to 8 hours when you renew a permit. The course consists of instructions in firearm law, handgun operation and mechanisms, firearm safety in the home and shooting 25 rounds from a distance of 15 yards with a 70% accuracy rate. For security guards, armored car drivers, detectives and special police the distance is increased to 25 yards and 50 rounds will need to be fired with the same 70% accuracy rate.

Once the training course is completed a new application must be made within 2 years from the courses completion date. If you file a renewal application then you have 2 years from the date of filing to complete the training course.

There are exemptions from training as follows for individuals who have;

  • Already completed a firearms training course that has been approved by the state.
  • Completed the DNR Hunter Safety course.
  • Been honorably discharged from the National Guard or armed forces.
  • Have a handgun permit and is an employee of an armored car company or legally owns a regulated handgun.
  • Is an active or retired law enforcement officer from a United states or state law enforcement agency.
  • Is a qualified handgun instructor registered with the Maryland State Police.

You can search for a qualified instructor on the Maryland Police website.


Requirements to qualify for a Maryland handgun permit

  • Must be at least 21 years old.
  • Has not been convicted of a felony or of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
  • Has not been committed within the previous 10 years to any juvenile detention center for longer than one year.
  • Is not an addict or alcoholic nor has ever been convicted of an offense that involves the possession or distribution of a controlled substance.
  • Has not, based on the results of investigation, exhibited a propensity for violence or instability.
  • Must show good cause as to why you need a firearm.
  • Has completed a firearms training course.
  • Federal Law - Prohibits the following persons
maryland handgun wear and carry permit

How to apply for a Maryland handgun permit

Follow these steps to obtain a permit;

  1. Complete your firearm training course, 16 hours of training is required for new applications.
  2. Have your finger prints taken at a Maryland fingerprint processing center (instructions on form).
  3. Applications are now only accepted on a PDF form which can be downloaded from our forms section. Only version 12/2012 is accepted.
  4. Once you have filled out the PDF application form print it out.
  5. You will the need to mail it with the following documents to the address below;
    • Completed application form
    • Copies of firearms training certificate
    • Passport size color photo, taken within last 30 days
    • A money order or cashiers check for $75
  6. Mail to this address;

    Maryland State Police,
    Licensing Division,
    1111 Reisterstown Road,
    Pikesville, MD 21208
    ATTN: Handgun Permit Unit

  7. You will be notified within 90 days by mail if your application has been approved or denied.
Tips on applying for a handgun permit and buying a handgun.

How to renew your Maryland handgun permit

  • A new or initial permit will expire 2 years after it was issued in the month the holder was born.
  • Permits that have been renewed are valid for 3 years.
  • Renewal applicants will need to complete a 8 hour firearms training course within 2 years after filing their renewal application.
  • Renewal reminders are not sent out by the licensing division, it is up to the permit holder to take note of the expiration date on their permit and begin any renewal process.
  • Permits can be renewed within 90 days before the expiration date.
  • According to the MD Police website if a permit is past it's expiration date then a late fee of $5 per day will be charged. There is a maximum limit of $150 for late fee's. However, this conflicts with the info below, also from the MD Police.
  • If the permit has not been renewed by the expiration date then you will need to make an application for a new permit.

Schedule of fee's for a Maryland handgun permit

Application Conditions Original Renewal
Individual $75 $50
Active/Retired law enforcement officer from Maryland
$0
Duplicate/Modification $10
Late renewal fee $5 per day, maximum of $150

Essential forms for a Maryland handgun permit

texas ccw forms

If you have trouble viewing these forms in your browser as we did then click on the download button and save the form to your computer. You should then be able to click on the form and open it, make sure you have a PDF viewer installed.

Days to process
0
new license

Off-limit places in Maryland for carrying a firearm

Image Image
Places listed as off limits apply even if you have a Maryland permit to carry.

Off-limits

  • Any property belong to a Public School. The law just says "Public School" but does not indicate what type of public school.
  • Demonstration - you cannot be within 1000 feet of the demonstration
  • In legislative buildings
  • On any aircraft
  • In a lodging establishment.
  • Dredge boats unless it is a 10 gauge shotgun
  • Around or inside any public buildings or grounds owned by the state.
  • Chesapeake Forest Lands
  • In any State Forests
  • In State Parks
  • Any highway rest area owned by the state, unless the weapon is properly secured within the vehicle.
  • Adult rehabilitation centers
  • Child care centers, unless it is a small center inside a residence.
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law.

Allowed

  • State game management areas
  • All areas of the state not listed as Off-Limits

Maryland gun laws & statutes

maryland state capitol building
Maryland state capitol building
Maryland has some strict gun laws so to protect yourself you need to know them. Not knowing the law is no defense if you end up in court. If you just learn the laws below you will be off to a good start.

Summary table

Subject Handguns Long Guns Notes
Concealed carry permit required Yes N/A Policy is May Issue. Permits are difficult to obtain.
Purchase permit required Yes No Requires a handgun qualification license.
Registration of firearm Yes No Handguns and automatic weapons require registration with police.
Permit needed for open carry? Yes No Requires carry permit for handgun but usually only police or security guards open carry.
Background checks on private gun sales required Yes Partial Sales must go through a licensed dealer or police.
Magazine size restriction Yes Yes Limited to 10 rounds. Possession of higher capacity magazine is legal if purchased out of state.
State preemption Yes Yes Most local laws are preempted by state laws but there are a few laws that are not.
Assault weapons banned Yes Yes There is a ban on certain models of firearms.

Rating of gun laws

Rates how friendly Maryland gun laws are compared to other states.
Poor

Maryland gun laws you need to know

Vehicle carry

(With no pistol license)

NO
Without a permit to carry it is illegal to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle. If you have a permit to carry then there are no restrictions on carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle. 4-203 Transporting handgun

Open carry

(With no pistol license)

NO

You will need a permit to carry a handgun either concealed or openly. Although open carry is technically legal it is not advisable in this state. You would most certainly be stopped by the police and your actions could be used as a reason to revoke your permit. The only people who openly carry in Maryland are the police or security guards.

Must inform officer

(On contact by law)

NO

There is no law in Maryland that states you must inform law enforcement you are carrying a firearm. However, there is a law that states you must have a valid carry permit in your possession if you carry, transport or wear a handgun. You would need to present the permit if asked by a law enforcement officer.

Sec. 5-308 Possession of permit.

State park carry

NO
It is illegal to carry in the following areas;
  • State Parks: NO - Admin code 08.07.06.04
  • State/National Forests: NO - Admin code 08.07.01.04
  • State Wildlife Management Areas: YES - Nat. Res. code 10.4 Sec. 4.10.408(d)
  • Road Side Rest Areas:  NO - Admin code 11.04.07.12

No gun signs enforced

NO

We have not found any laws giving gun signs the force of law. However, we advise everyone to abide by any gun sign they encounter whether they are lawful or not.

Restaurant carry

YES

"Yes" or "No" states if you can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Some restaurants may be posted with "NO GUN" signs. Check with the staff if this means just the bar area. If we have indicated a "Yes" then it should be legal to have a meal without drinking alcohol.

Constitutional carry

NO

Maryland does not have constitutional carry.

Quick overview of the new Red Flag law.
There is no provision for the right to bear arms in Maryland.

Off-limit statutes


Other CCW statutes


Self Defense Laws

There is one statute on self defense laws but in general nearly all Maryland's self defense laws are based on case law and not statutes.

Wikipedia has a full page devoted to Maryland's self defense laws.


Long guns in Maryland

hunter with rifle

Purchasing a long gun in Maryland is much easier than purchasing a handgun. But you still need to meet a few requirements as follows;

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Supply state ID.
  • Have a background check done by a federally licensed dealer.

The only other thing you need to be aware of is that Maryland bans a number of weapons which are classified as "Assault Weapons". If you purchase from a federally licensed dealer in Maryland then you can be sure that what he is selling is legal in Maryland.


Transporting Long Guns

Compared to handguns where there are many laws regarding transportation long guns have only a few laws which mainly cover Regulated Firearms (Assault Weapons). All long guns that are regulated and handguns have restrictions on transporting them into Maryland.

Hunting Regulations

  • You cannot have a loaded firearm leaning against a vehicle or placed inside or on the vehicle.
  • When a firearm is used for bear or deer hunting the cartridges used cannot have full metal jacket bullets, they are required to have soft tips.
  • Magazines used for firearms in bear or deer hunting cannot have more than 8 bullets loaded.

Maryland licensing office

Image
Applications and renewals are only accepted by mail.

Maryland State Police
Licensing Division

Contact


Address 1111 Reisterstown Road

CityPikesville, MD 21208

Phone (410) 653-4200

Hours


Monday – Friday 8am – 4:30pm

Saturday Closed

Sunday Closed


Frequently asked questions on Maryland gun laws


The research

Disclaimer

The information contained on this page is not legal advice but is merely a starting point for your own research. It is up to you to decide what the best course of action is for your circumstances. We are not lawyers, if you'd like individualized legal advice, we'd be happy to refer you to some law practices with known firearm specializations. It is crucial that you understand the law before you carry a firearm. Also, remember that just because a statute may clearly say one thing or another, that doesn't mean all members of law enforcement know it. That also goes for lawyers and even judges too.

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ThozalarTho ZalarAnnie OakleyAdamDale S. Recent comment authors
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Tho Zalar
Guest
Tho Zalar

We may be moving to Md. I own many handguns and rifles. Would i be able to keep these weapons in my home?

Dale S.
Guest
Dale S.

The problem with Maryland and states like it is US! We allow our government servants to take away our rights by following unjust laws with impunity. Now, they’ve been emboldened by years of unfettered disregard for the constitution, which Is the “ law of the land”.

Vince
Guest
Vince

Moving from Pennsylvania to Maryland. Maybe one of the worst decisions of my life. Will definitely move back to PA if nothing changes in Maryland. Very unconstitutional of Maryland. Seems like this gun control is working well in Baltimore by the way! Not…

Kid
Guest
Kid

Wow sounds like y’all up there in MD just have to hope some thug doesn’t choose your house to rob, rape and kill in because you can’t kill him or you will go to prison. Vote those idiot politicians out of office and protect your families!

Paul
Guest
Paul

I moved from state because it is communist state. I moved and have 3 state carry permits that covers about 35 or 36 states. I was in Army security agency, I was a cop yet I come back to visit my home state and family and fear for my freedom and life. This state has taken your rights to protect your life and/irr your loved ones because of the stupid stupid Democrats, and Hogan is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. I am constantly worried y rights will be disregarded and at almost 70 years of age. I can’t run from… Read more »

Dale S.
Guest
Dale S.

I agree with you. We have a constitutionally recognized right to keep and bear arms, and so I will do just that!

Michael bub
Guest
Michael bub

What is required if i move from maryland to PA while owning a long barrel rifle? Do i need to make any phone calls or fill any forms?

Jeffrey bryan
Guest
Jeffrey bryan

I was told that in Md u can’t carry your weapon unless on duty. After reading this page I assume as long as I have my permit i can carry (concealed) is this correct?

Michael B
Guest
Michael B

On duty as what??

Christopher Haas
Guest
Christopher Haas

Maryland is a “Wear and Carry” state, also called “Open Carry”, so you can walk around with your weapon visible (but probably not a great idea in most situations).

Adam
Guest
Adam

No you cant unless your a law enforcement officer or have the very rare concealed carry license. The HQL License only lets u buy a handgun. Maryland is no where near being an open carry or an concealed carry for everyone kind of state. The only way to get one is to have proof your life is in immediate danger with facts and papers to make your claim. So basically to even take up arms against someone who broke into your house if you shoot them you will go to jail unless you can prove you seconds away from dying.… Read more »

Jared Jackson
Guest
Jared Jackson

Maryland doesn’t really have a concealed carry permit. The only way you can have one is if your an officer or you have shown substantial reason (witness testimony, police records) to the overlords that your life may be in danger. Living in a dangerous city or neighborhood such as Baltimore does not count. All other permits only Grant you the ability to carry when you are on the specified job that they granted it to you for such as real estate, security etc. It’s crazy because technically they can label you as a felon if you were pulled over and… Read more »

Annie Oakley
Guest
Annie Oakley

Not True !!! If you are a business owner you can apply and chances are GOOD you WILL be able to obtain a wear and carry .

james arnold
Guest
james arnold

I’m getting ready for a trip to Alaska and i want to take my hand gun for protection in the bush with my bear spray. I have a Utah carry conceal permit that is good up there. Can i transport the gun in a locked case to the airport BWI.

Michael B
Guest
Michael B

Yes. Ammo in a separate container (originall box or a magazine) in the same locked container

Former MD resident
Guest
Former MD resident

So the reporter says “only a handful” of people can report a red flag on a gun owner: 1) Law enforcement – Ok I suppose 2) Health Professional – Ok if they really see potential for harm, and are not anti-gun 3) Spouse or family member – Well this opens a real can of worms and welcomes abuse from disgruntled relatives 4) Someone you are dating, previously dated or have children with – This is wrought with potential abuse to lawful gun owners by ex-girlfriends for malicious reasons or any other reason the former relation may justify in their mind!… Read more »

Anon
Guest
Anon

Hi everyone. I just have a comment on open carry in general. I have always worked with the public. I have to tell you when someone comes in with a gun in his or her pocket, people are going to get freaked out. I know people carry concealed weapons. I just have to live with that. However I am asking you all to be nice to other people and don’t walk around a building open to the public, such as a library or retail store, with a gun sticking out of your pocket. People are terrified of being shot, for… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Maybe be respectful of my constitutional rights and mind your business. If it scares you don’t look.

Brian
Guest
Brian

You might not want to come to Colorado Springs, CO if seeing someone open carrying a firearm scares you. If someone intends do commit violence with a firearm they are going to do so and a criminal will usually hide their weapon until they are on their intended victim(s)

anon
Guest
anon

Just went through the process for MD W&C permit. Overall, I didn’t have a bad experience like some. Yes it takes some work and research to understand what it takes for training and justification requirements in order to obtain a permit, but it’s not impossible. For those that live in MD and believe they have reasonable justification to carry, go for it now before Hogan is out of office. The appeal board is already being scrutinized by anti-gun officials. Who knows whats going to happen in the coming years. This attention will only limit options for rightful permit to carry… Read more »

Greg
Guest
Greg

It sucks

Logan
Guest
Logan

Holy sh** what a crappy tyrannical state haha

Jerry Meek
Guest
Jerry Meek

Why does the State of Virginia Honor Maryland’s CCW Yet Maryland not Honor Virginia’s ?
Seems Strange if not Hypocritical to me.

Jami Green
Guest
Jami Green

Virginia’s law are a lot “looser” than Maryland’s.

Michael B
Guest
Michael B

Democrats fear armed citizens

Krissy Sneckenburg
Guest
Krissy Sneckenburg

I’m traveling from NY to NC and would like to carry my pistol w me. I have a NY State concealed carry pistol permit. Can I carry pistol in a locked box w ammo in different locked box?

Rich H
Guest
Rich H

As long as it is separated out of arms reach gun, magazine, ammo

Floyd
Guest
Floyd

Is there still a 7 day wait if a family member from another state gifts a gun? If so, can I initiate the transfer 7 days before he brings it to me, and then go see the FFL to complete the transfer?

Marylouise G. DeMasse
Guest
Marylouise G. DeMasse

Newby

Kevin Chapman
Guest
Kevin Chapman

In Maryland can i wear openly a weapon on my property

Henry
Guest
Henry

I am 17 and looking to be a shotgun when i turn 18 soon , so from research im not able to purchase a handgun but i can purchase any kind of long gun , which from my understanding include , shotguns , and hunting rifles . Can anyone tell me if its possible or , if ive been doing bad research

Eddie B
Guest
Eddie B

Good luck becoming a shotgun

Not a hater
Guest
Not a hater

Henry must have meant “to buy a shotgun” not “to be a shotgun”.

Mel
Guest
Mel

Lol

Dale S.
Guest
Dale S.

????

Ben
Guest
Ben

Hey Henry i just bought my first shotgun when i turned 18 not to long ago, but you cant buy a handgun when you are 18, you must be 21 and have a HQL (Handgun Qualification Licence) to buy a hand gun in the state of maryland. But yes you can buy any long gun as long as it is not banned buy maryland and is not an AR-15 style, so just hunting rifles and shotguns for now.

James s.
Guest
James s.

At the age of 18, you can buy basically any long gun in the state of maryland. That includes shotguns, hunting rifles and even ar-15’s. If it was illegal to own an ar-15, than no gun stores would be allowed to sell them.

Zac
Guest
Zac

As long as you are 18 at the time of purchase you are ok. You have to have a background check and fill out a form but other than that you can go to your local Walmart or gun dealer buy anything from a shotgun to a rifle as long as it’s legal in the state where you reside. Hangs you must wait till you are 21.

JJC
Guest
JJC

If I’m reading this right, Maryland doesn’t issue a non-resident permit. How does one pass through the state in an automobile while holding a license in the surrounding states? I’ve tried to download the application to see if it clarifies this but the link deosn’t work on this site nor the MD government site. The state surely seems to be succeeding at making anything to do with handguns difficult.
JC

Yuh
Guest
Yuh

If traveling through Maryland Federal law will cover you if the handgun is unloaded and in a locked case.

Yuh
Guest
Yuh

From vehicle carry section

JJC
Guest
JJC

Interesting, thanks. I live in Upstate NY and visit NC frequently so I need to drive through PA, MD, and VA. Both PA and MD seem to be such outlier states. So as long as I keep my unloaded handgun in a locked case I should be able to pass through the three states legally. And NC recognizes my NY permit so I don’t even need any other permits.

Thozalar
Guest
Thozalar

They should have wide berms a mile before the state line so you can unload and store your arms properly.

Don
Guest
Don

Md does issue nonresident

Sam
Guest
Sam

Well, thank goodness, you can travel through WV. and then in to VA. Then keep it moving without issue. I live in South Central PA , 22 miles from MD, we just go around to the West of MD . WV, and VA. honors PA. It may take a little longer, but we enjoy the scenery and we just leave a little sooner

MAW
Guest
MAW

Only difficult for Law Abiding Citizens. Criminals open Carry and shoot all the time during the day and night and yet I would have to keep my “weapon” seperated from the ammunition in a lock box in the trunk of my car. Maybe the criminals should be in office, they seem to keep getting away with doing whatever they want.