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Overview of Maryland Gun Laws

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

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

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


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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