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Complete guide to gun laws in Maryland

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.

Quick facts


Maryland Reciprocity Map

Permit Honored
Permit not honored
Residential permits only
Issuing state

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.


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


Maryland will not honor any other states handgun permits.


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, .

Washington D.C.

Pointers: Maryland Handgun Laws

Overview of the Maryland handgun permit

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

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.

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:

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

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.

Essential forms for a Maryland handgun permit

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.

Off-limit places in Maryland for carrying a firearm

Places 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. 

Places Allowed

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

Maryland gun laws & statutes

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

SubjectHandgunsLong GunsNotes
Concealed carry permit requiredYesN/APolicy is May Issue. Permits are difficult to obtain.
Purchase permit requiredYesNoRequires a handgun qualification license.
Registration of firearmYesNoHandguns and automatic weapons require registration with police.
Permit needed for open carry?YesNoRequires carry permit for handgun but usually only police or security guards open carry.
Background checks on private gun sales requiredYesPartialSales must go through a licensed dealer or police.
Magazine size restrictionYesYesLimited to 10 rounds. Possession of higher capacity magazine is legal if purchased out of state.
State preemptionYesYesMost local laws are preempted by state laws but there are a few laws that are not.
Assault weapons bannedYesYesThere is a ban on certain models of firearms.

Maryland gun laws you need to know


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


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.


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.


It is illegal to carry in the following areas;

  • State Parks: NO – Admin code
  • State/National Forests: NO – Admin code
  • State Wildlife Management Areas: YES – Nat. Res. code 10.4 Sec. 4.10.408(d)
  • Road Side Rest Areas:  NO – Admin code

“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.


Maryland does not have constitutional carry.


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.

There is no provision for the right to bear arms in Maryland.
Off-limit statutes

(b) A person may not carry or possess a firearm, knife, or deadly weapon of any kind on public school property

(2) (i) “Demonstration” means one or more persons demonstrating, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding a vigil, or engaging in any other similar conduct that involves the communication or expression of views or grievances and that has the effect, intent, or propensity to attract a crowd or onlookers.


  • (i) “Public place” means a place to which the general public has access and a right to resort for business, entertainment, or other lawful purpose.
  • (ii) “Public place” is not limited to a place devoted solely to the uses of the public.
  • (iii) “Public place” includes:
  1. the front or immediate area or parking lot of a store, restaurant, tavern, shopping center, or other place of business;
  2. a public building, including its grounds and curtilage;
  3. a public parking lot;
  4. a public street, sidewalk, or right-of-way;
  5. a public park; and
  6. other public grounds.

(b) Prohibited. –

(2) A person may not have a firearm in the person’s possession or on or about the person at a demonstration in a public place or in a vehicle that is within 1,000 feet of a demonstration in a public place after:

  • (i) the person has been advised by a law enforcement officer that a demonstration is occurring at the public place; and
  • (ii) the person has been ordered by the law enforcement officer to leave the area of the demonstration until the person disposes of the firearm.

(c) Penalty. — A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or both.

(a) Refusal. — An innkeeper may refuse to provide lodging or services to or may remove from a lodging
establishment an individual who:
(6) the innkeeper reasonably believes possesses property that may be dangerous to other individuals, such as
firearms or explosives; or

H. Security.

(9) Firearms, mace, tear gas or weapons of any other type may not be permitted in a facility.

.14 Weapons.

A. Definition.

(1) In this regulation, the following term has the meaning indicated.

(2) Term Defined. “Weapon” means:

  • (a) A device capable of propelling a projectile at high velocity by mechanical means, by explosion, or by expanding gas, including but not limited to a firearm, crossbow, or long bow;
  • (b) A dirk knife, bowie knife, switchblade (except a penknife without a switchblade), sand club, metal knuckles, razor, or nunchaku; or
  • (c) A device capable of:
  • (i) Inflicting death or bodily harm to an individual;
  • (ii) Maiming or killing wildlife; or
  • (iii) Destroying property.

B. Except as provided in Regulation .04 of this chapter and §§C and D of this regulation, possession or use of weapons or firearms by an individual other than a law enforcement officer is prohibited in Chesapeake Forest Lands.

C. Target shooting is permitted only at designated shooting ranges. The regulations governing the use of these ranges shall be posted and strictly enforced.

D. Except when legally hunting or legally target shooting, an individual may not discharge a firearm on land or waters owned or controlled by the Service. E. Firearms shall be unloaded, and arrows kept in a quiver or case, when in a Chesapeake Forest camping area in accordance with Regulation .07 of this chapter.

Other CCW statutes

A person to whom a permit is issued or renewed shall carry the permit in the person’s possession whenever the person carries, wears, or transports a handgun.

Wearing, carrying, or transporting handgun

(a) Prohibited. —

(1) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a person may not:

  • (i) wear, carry, or transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, on or about the person;
  • (ii) wear, carry, or knowingly transport a handgun, whether concealed or open, in a vehicle traveling on a road or parking lot generally used by the public, highway, waterway, or airway of the State;

(b) Exceptions. — This section does not prohibit:

(3) the carrying of a handgun on the person or in a vehicle while the person is transporting the handgun to or from the place of legal purchase or sale, or to or from a bona fide repair shop, or between bona fide residences of the person, or between the bona fide residence and place of business of the person, if the business is operated and owned substantially by the person if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster;

(4) the wearing, carrying, or transporting by a person of a handgun used in connection with an organized military activity, a target shoot, formal or informal target practice, sport shooting event, hunting, a Department of Natural Resources-sponsored firearms and hunter safety class, trapping, or a dog obedience training class or show, while the person is engaged in, on the way to, or returning from that activity if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster;

(5) the moving by a bona fide gun collector of part or all of the collector’s gun collection from place to place for public or private exhibition if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster;

(6) the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a person on real estate that the person owns or leases or where the person resides or within the confines of a business establishment that the person owns or leases;

Possession by person under age of 21 years prohibited; exceptions

(d)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person who is under the age of 21 years may not possess a regulated firearm.

(2) Unless a person is otherwise prohibited from possessing a regulated firearm, this subsection does not apply to:

  • (i) the temporary transfer or possession of a regulated firearm if the person is: 1. under the supervision of another who is at least 21 years old and who is not prohibited by State or federal law from possessing a firearm; and 2. acting with the permission of the parent or legal guardian of the transferee or person in possession;
  • (ii) the transfer by inheritance of title, and not of possession, of a regulated firearm;
  • (iii) a member of the armed forces of the United States or the National Guard while performing official duties;
  • (iv) the temporary transfer or possession of a regulated firearm if the person is:
    1. participating in marksmanship training of a recognized organization; and
    2. under the supervision of a qualified instructor;
  • (v) a person who is required to possess a regulated firearm for employment and who holds a permit under Subtitle 3 of this title; or
  • (vi) the possession of a firearm for self-defense or the defense of others against a trespasser into the residence of the person in possession or into a residence in which the person in possession is an invited guest.

Transport of regulated firearms

(e) This section does not apply to a respondent transporting a regulated firearm if the respondent is carrying a civil protective order requiring the surrender of the regulated firearm and:

  1. the regulated firearm is unloaded;
  2. the respondent has notified the law enforcement unit, barracks, or station that the regulated firearm is being transported in accordance with the civil protective order; and
  3. the respondent transports the regulated firearm directly to the law enforcement unit, barracks, or station.

Regulation of Weapons and Ammunition.

(a) State preemption. — Except as otherwise provided in this section, the State preempts the right of a county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district to regulate the purchase, sale, taxation, transfer, manufacture, repair, ownership, possession, and transportation of:

(1) a handgun, rifle, or shotgun; and

(2) ammunition for and components of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun.

(b) Exceptions. —

(1) A county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may regulate the purchase, sale, transfer, ownership, possession, and transportation of the items listed in subsection (a) of this section:

  • (i) with respect to minors;
  • (ii) with respect to law enforcement officials of the subdivision; and
  • (iii) except as provided in paragraph

(2) of this subsection, within 100 yards of or in a park, church, school, public building, and other place of public assembly. (2) A county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may not prohibit the teaching of or training in firearms safety, or other educational or sporting use of the items listed in subsection (a) of this section.

(3) A county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may not prohibit the transportation of an item listed in subsection (a) of this section by a person who is carrying a court order requiring the surrender of the item, if:

  • (i) the handgun, rifle, or shotgun is unloaded;
  • (ii) the person has notified the law enforcement unit, barracks, or station that the item is being transported in accordance with the court order; and
  • (iii) the person transports the item directly to the law enforcement unit, barracks, or station.

(c) Preexisting local laws. — To the extent that a local law does not create an inconsistency with this section or expand existing regulatory control, a county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may exercise its existing authority to amend any local law that existed on or before December 31, 1984.

(d) Discharge of firearms. —

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, in accordance with law, a county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may regulate the discharge of handguns, rifles, and shotguns.

(2) A county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may not prohibit the discharge of firearms at established ranges.

Governor’s Proclamation of State Of Emergency

(a) Authority to proclaim state of emergency. — During a public emergency in the State, the Governor may proclaim a state of emergency and designate the emergency area:

(1) if public safety is endangered or on reasonable apprehension of immediate danger to public safety; and

(2) on:

  • (i) the Governor’s own initiative; or
  • (ii) the application of: 1. the chief executive officer or governing body of a county or municipal corporation; or

2. the Secretary of State Police.

(b) Orders, rules, and regulations to control and terminate public emergency — Issuance. — After proclaiming a state of emergency, the Governor may promulgate reasonable orders, rules, or regulations that the Governor considers necessary to protect life and property or calculated effectively to control and terminate the public emergency in the emergency area, including orders, rules, or regulations to:

(1) control traffic, including public and private transportation, in the emergency area;

(2) designate specific zones in the emergency area in which the occupancy and use of buildings and vehicles may be controlled;

(3) control the movement of individuals or vehicles into, in, or from the designated zones;

(4) control places of amusement and places of assembly;

(5) control individuals on public streets;

(6) establish curfews;

(7) control the sale, transportation, and use of alcoholic beverages;

(8) control the possession, sale, carrying, and use of firearms, other dangerous weapons, and ammunition; and

(9) control the storage, use, and transportation of explosives or flammable materials or liquids considered to be dangerous to public safety, including “Molotov cocktails”.

(c) Orders, rules, and regulations to control and terminate public emergency — Notice. — Before an order, rule, or regulation promulgated under subsection (b) of this section takes effect, the Governor shall give reasonable notice of the order, rule, or regulation: (1) in a newspaper of general circulation in the emergency area;

(2) through television or radio serving the emergency area; or

(3) by circulating notices or posting signs at conspicuous places in the emergency area.

(d) Orders, rules, and regulations to control and terminate public emergency — Effect. — An order, rule, or regulation promulgated under subsection (b) of this section:

(1) takes effect from the time and in the manner specified in the order, rule, or regulation;

(2) may be amended or rescinded, in the same manner as the original order, by the Governor at any time during the state of emergency; and

(3) terminates when the Governor declares that the state of emergency no longer exists.

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

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.

Frequently asked questions on Maryland gun laws

Concealed carry handgun permits are issued by the Maryland State Police.

Yes, but the gun must be unloaded and in a carry case or holster with a flap. The ammunition must be kept separate. The carry case with gun inside should be placed in the vehicles trunk. The gun can only be transported between a residence and a repair shop, shooting event or a place of business if the business is operated or owned by the individual.

It is illegal to store a firearm in a location where a child could gain access to it. We recommend that a trigger lock is placed on the firearm and that it be kept in an unloaded state.

The state police maintain a list of banned guns which can be viewed by clicking on this link. Scroll to the bottom of the page then click on Banned List.pdf

No, these guns are not banned but would be regulated and not allowed to be sold in Maryland.

These devices are not a firearm so are not banned. However, when a handgun is placed in the device it becomes a “copycat weapon” and subject to prohibition.

Here is a list of LiveScan fingerprint locations.

Here is a list of reasons the state could prohibit an individual from having a firearm.

No, Maryland will not honor any permits from other states.

Maryland licensing office

Applications and renewals are only accepted by mail.


Monday – Friday    8am – 4:30pm

Saturday                  Closed

Sunday                    Closed


Address  1111 Reisterstown Road

City          Pikesville, MD 21208

Phone     (410) 653-4200