• Adam Zimmerman

Overview of Maryland Gun Laws

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Gun laws can change frequently, and this is not an authoritative collection of gun laws for the state of Maryland. For the most up-to-date information and to begin the process of applying for your Handgun Wear and Carry Permit, visit the Maryland State Police website at http://mdsp.maryland.gov.


Good and Substantial

The most important thing to understand about the state of Maryland is that they are a May Issue state. This means that they require you to provide a “good and substantial reason” you need to carry a gun. Most people would say that they want to carry a firearm for personal protection. In order to use this reason, you need to show verifiable proof that a specific threat exists, not a general threat such as “living in a bad neighborhood”.


Here is a full list of requirements to obtain a Maryland Handgun Wear and Carry Permit:


  • Applicant must be 21 years old (18 for purposes of employment)

  • A good and substantial reason for needing a permit

  • Complete a state-approved 16-hour firearms training course that includes live-fire

  • For each renewal, an additional 8-hour training course is required

  • Permits are issued to residents and non-residents


Some examples of “good and substantial reasons” to apply for an HWCP include:


  • The applicant is a business owner - this requires proof of at least six bank deposits in the business’s name

  • The applicant is an employee of a business - this requires a letter from the employer authorizing the employee to have a concealed weapon

  • Corrections Officers - must show proof of employment

  • Former Maryland law enforcement officers - must show proof of employment

  • Former Federal law enforcement officers - must have served in Maryland

  • Private Detective/Security Guard/Private Security

  • Personal Protection - must be able to prove a specific threat

Reciprocity

The state of Maryland does not recognize any other states’ concealed carry permits. However, several states recognize Maryland HWCPs. They are:


  • Alabama

  • Alaska

  • Arizona

  • Iowa

  • Idaho

  • Indiana

  • Kansas

  • Kentucky

  • Maine

  • Michigan

  • Mississippi

  • Missouri

  • Montana

  • New Hampshire

  • North Carolina

  • Ohio

  • Oklahoma

  • Puerto Rico

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Utah

  • Vermont

  • Virginia

  • Wisconsin


Other Gun Laws

Although not specifically written in the law, Maryland follows common law principles which make it a Castle Doctrine state. This means that you are able to defend your home and everyone in it with deadly force. Additionally, Maryland Code says that a person is not liable for the personal injury or death of someone who enters their home or place of business if:


  • They reasonably believe that deadly force was necessary to repel an attack and;

  • The amount of force used was reasonable for the situation


Maryland also has a duty to retreat, which means that outside of your home or business, an individual is required to attempt to retreat before using deadly force to defend themselves, if possible.


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