Maryland Wear and Carry Permit Restrictions and Gun Laws

5 min read

wooden gavel on gun law book
wooden gavel on gun law book

Understanding the various wear and carry restrictions in the state of Maryland is essential for anyone wanting a concealed carry permit, especially considering that as of October 1st, 2023, open carry is no longer permitted.

Maryland's gun laws are known for being stringent, with specific regulations on where and how you can carry a firearm. Remaining compliant with Maryland law is not too hard if you have a firm grasp of the specifics.

Concealed Carry Permit Application: Who Is Restricted

Obtaining a concealed carry handgun permit in Maryland, officially known as a Wear and Carry permit, involves navigating a series of stringent criteria set by state law.

The Maryland State Police oversees the issuance of these permits, and several restrictions apply to who can successfully apply for and receive a CCP.

Age and Residency Requirements

To be eligible for a wear and carry permit in Maryland, applicants must be at least 21 years old. People between 18 and 21 may be eligible under certain conditions. Maryland residents and non-residents are welcome to apply.

Criminal History

Applicants must have a clean criminal record. Individuals with felony convictions, certain misdemeanor convictions, or any history of violent behavior are typically disqualified from obtaining a CCP.

Additionally, those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse or who have been convicted of domestic violence offenses are restricted from carrying a handgun.

Mental Health Considerations

Maryland law also restricts individuals with certain mental health conditions from obtaining a Wear and Carry permit.

Applicants who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution or who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder that may affect their ability to safely handle a firearm are generally prohibited from receiving a permit.

Protective and Peace Orders

Those who are subject to a protective or peace order are restricted from carrying a firearm. This includes both temporary and permanent orders as the state prioritizes the safety of all individuals involved in such situations.

Training Requirements

Applicants must complete a Maryland State Police-approved firearms training course.

This course must be conducted by a qualified handgun instructor and includes a minimum of 16 hours of instruction covering firearm safety, state gun laws, and live-fire training.

Discretion of the Maryland State Police

Ultimately, the Maryland State Police have the discretion to approve or deny Wear and Carry permit applications based on their assessment of the applicant's qualifications.

They thoroughly review all submitted materials, including background checks, to ensure that only eligible and responsible individuals receive the right to carry a concealed firearm.

Maryland Location Restrictions for Firearms

Maryland's gun laws impose numerous restrictions on where individuals with a Wear and Carry permit can legally carry their concealed firearm.

These location restrictions are designed to enhance public safety by ensuring that firearms are kept out of sensitive areas and situations.

  • Schools and Educational Institutions: Firearms, including those carried under a Wear and Carry permit, are prohibited on the grounds of public and private schools, colleges, universities, and childcare centers.

  • Government Buildings: As with federal law, firearms are not allowed in government buildings such as courthouses, police stations, and state or local government offices.

  • Public Demonstrations and Events: Carrying firearms is prohibited at public demonstrations, rallies, and large gatherings to ensure public safety.

  • Bars and Restaurants Serving Alcohol: As of October 2023, permit holders are prohibited from carrying in these establishments.

  • Private Property and Businesses: Property owners and businesses have the right to prohibit firearms on their premises, and permit holders must respect these restrictions.

  • Public Transportation: Firearms are banned on public transportation systems including buses, trains, and subways to ensure passenger safety.

  • Places of Worship: Policies regarding firearms in places of worship vary by institution, and permit holders should adhere to specific rules set by each place of worship.

  • Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities: Firearms are generally prohibited in hospitals, clinics, and healthcare facilities to maintain a safe environment for patients and staff.

  • Casinos and Gaming Establishments: As part of their security policies, casinos and gaming establishments typically prohibit firearms.

Maryland Magazine and Ammo Restrictions

Maryland imposes specific regulations concerning the types of magazines that individuals can buy within the state. These restrictions are part of Maryland's broader efforts to regulate firearms and enhance public safety.

Magazine Restrictions

Maryland law prohibits the sale or transfer of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. However, possession of such magazines is not specifically addressed, so they could be legally purchased out of state.

There are limited exceptions to this restriction, including certain firearms used for official duties by law enforcement officers and military personnel.

Ammunition Restrictions

While there are no specific state laws limiting the quantity of ammunition an individual can possess, Maryland law prohibits the possession of ammunition by individuals prohibited from owning firearms (such as convicted felons).

Certain types of ammunition, such as explosive ammunition, are restricted in Maryland.

Transportation of Firearms in Maryland

In Maryland, firearms must be carried or transported in a specific manner to comply with state law:

  • Unloaded Condition: To transport a handgun, it must be unloaded unless the person has a valid Wear and Carry permit and the firearm is being carried openly or concealed in accordance with the permit.

  • Securely Enclosed: Firearms should be secured in a case and kept separate from ammunition during transportation. The case should be locked to prevent unauthorized access.

  • Vehicle Transport: When transporting firearms in a vehicle, they should be stored in the trunk or other secure container excluding the glove box and console.

  • Exceptions: There are exceptions for individuals engaged in hunting, target shooting, or other lawful activities where the firearm must be readily accessible.

Maryland Concealed Carry Reciprocity With Other States

Maryland does not recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states. This means that individuals who possess a CCP from another state cannot legally carry a concealed firearm in Maryland.

Maryland's strict regulations require individuals, including non-residents, to obtain an MD concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed firearm within its borders.

However, Maryland residents with a valid firearms permit may be able to carry concealed in certain other states that have reciprocity agreements with Maryland.

Permit holders must research and understand the specific reciprocity agreements between Maryland and other states before carrying a concealed firearm outside of Maryland.

Penalties for Violating Carry Restrictions

Violating Maryland's carry restrictions can lead to serious legal consequences.

Individuals found carrying a concealed firearm in prohibited locations such as schools, government buildings, or public demonstrations can face criminal charges.

Penalties may include fines, imprisonment for up to three years, and the revocation of the Wear and Carry permit.

Moreover, individuals convicted of firearms violations may lose their right to possess firearms in the future and face challenges in obtaining or renewing a Wear and Carry permit.

Wear and Carry Permit Application Process

Applying for a Wear and Carry permit in Maryland involves several steps to ensure compliance with state regulations.

Prior to application, applicants must complete a Maryland State Police approved firearms training course, which covers firearm safety, state gun laws, and practical shooting skills.

Following training and instruction by a qualified handgun instructor, applicants complete the application form, upload their electronic fingerprint transmission receipt, undergo a background check, and provide documentation proving identity, age, and residency.

This is all submitted through the Maryland State Police Licensing Portal. Maryland law enforcement agencies review each application carefully, evaluating the applicant's qualifications and ensuring all requirements are met.

Upon approval, applicants are issued a Wear and Carry permit. The initial permit expires on the last day of the holder’s birth month two years after the date the permit is issued.

Permits may be renewed for successive three-year periods pending the approval of the renewal application.