Maryland Gun Rights

Maryland Open Carry Laws

A review of over a hundred studies from 10 countries found that in many cases, gun control legislation is associated with lower rates of gun-related crime, suicide, and accidental shootings.
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Maryland is one of just six U.S. states without a constitutional provision for the right to bear arms, but this isn't to say that the issue has not been in the courts. In May 2016, Senate Bill 208 repealed an existing requirement that anyone applying to renew a wear and carry permit submit fingerprints each time. This pleased guns rights supporters, but then, in October, Maryland residents filed a challenge to the state's existing gun laws in federal court on the grounds that they infringe upon citizens' constitutional rights.


Concealed Carry

Maryland is a “may-issue” state, meaning that officials are not bound by law to issue a concealed carry permit to applicants. Maryland’s permit system is restrictive, rejecting permits for most citizens. They're typically issued only to certain professionals such as doctors, correctional officers, former police officers, private detectives and persons making deposits or receiving money. Permits are sometimes issued for personal protection, but only if there is documented evidence of recent threats, robberies or attacks. Documented evidence is defined as police reports or notarized statements from witnesses.

No permits are issued to persons who have been convicted of common crimes carrying sentences of two or more years' imprisonment, or if they have a propensity for violence, are habitual drunkards or are addicted to drugs. The cost of a permit is $75, not including fingerprint fees.

It is valid for two years. The renewal fee is $50 and a secondary submission of fingerprints is no longer required. 

States that honor Maryland’s permits include: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Vermont.

Maryland does not honor permits other than its own.

The Castle Doctrine

Maryland enacted a castle law in 2010 that provides immunity to persons who use deadly force to protect their homes or businesses from attack under appropriate circumstances. The person must reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to repel the attack for the immunity to apply and only “reasonable force,” given the circumstances, may be used.

Pro-Gun Provisions

Maryland has a preemption law that prevents municipal and county governments from enacting gun laws more restrictive than state law. The state also has a law protecting firing ranges.

Open carry is not permissible in Maryland.


  • Gun bans: Certain handguns are banned, including all “assault pistols,” any handgun manufactured after 1985 that isn’t listed on the state’s roster of approved handguns, and any handgun manufactured after 2003 that is not equipped with an integrated mechanical safety device.
  • Waiting periods for gun purchases: There is a seven-day waiting period for the purchase of handguns and assault weapons.
  • License or permit to purchase guns: Completion of a handgun safety course is required to purchase a handgun. Additionally, a permit is required for any handgun purchase within 30 days of a prior purchase. Sales or transfers of handguns or assault weapons must be made through licensed dealers.
  • Registration of guns: No.