Maryland now prohibits the possession, sale, offering of sale, transfer, purchase, receipt, or transportation into the state of an assault weapon, which includes assault pistols and assault long guns.1
There are various exceptions under the prohibitions, including returning an assault weapon to a customer in another state that was transferred to a licensed firearms dealer under the terms of a warrant or for repair, or for the possession of an inherited assault weapon as long as the person inheriting the assault weapon is not otherwise disqualified from possessing a regulated firearm.2 Additionally, a person who lawfully possessed an assault pistol before June 1, 1994 may continue to transport and possess the weapon if it was registered with the Maryland State Police before August 1, 1994.3
Assault weapons qualify as state-defined “regulated firearms,”4 and transfers of such guns, if allowed at all, are subject to enhanced background checks, firearms dealer regulations, private sales requirements and reporting of lost or stolen firearms regulations. In addition, purchasers:
- Must be age 21 or older (see the Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess Firearms in Maryland section);
- Are subject to the state’s seven-day waiting period ; and
- Are limited to one assault weapon in any 30-day period (see the Multiple Purchases & Sales of Firearms in Maryland section).
A licensed firearms dealer may continue to possess, sell, offer for sale, or transfer an assault long gun or a copycat weapon that the licensed firearms dealer lawfully possessed on or before October 1, 2013.5
A person who lawfully possesses or has a purchase order for, or completed an application to purchase an assault long gun or a copycat weapon before October 1, 2013, may:
- Possess and transport the assault long gun or copycat weapon; or
- While carrying a court order requiring the surrender of the assault long gun or copycat weapon, transport the weapon directly to a local law enforcement unit if the person has notified the unit that the person is transporting the assault long gun or copycat weapon in accordance with a court order and the weapon is unloaded.6
A person may transport an assault weapon to or from:
- An “ISO 17025 accredited, National Institute of Justice-approved ballistics testing laboratory;” or
- A facility or entity that manufacturers or provides research and development testing, analysis, or engineering for personal protective equipment or vehicle protection systems.7
See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law §§ 4-301(d), 4-303(a). Maryland law defines “assault long guns” to include a list of 45 specified firearms or their copies, including certain variations of those models. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(r)(2). Maryland also defines “assault pistols” to include 15 specified firearms or their copies, including certain variations of those models. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-301(c).
Under Maryland law, the definition of assault weapon also includes a “copycat weapon” which is defined as:
- A semiautomatic centerfire rifle that can accept a detachable magazine and has any two of the following: 1) A folding stock; 2) A grenade or flare launcher; or 3) A flash suppressor;
- A semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds;
- A semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 29 inches;
- A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds;
- A semiautomatic shotgun that has a folding stock; or
- A shotgun with a revolving cylinder. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-301(e)(1).
Under this law, “detachable magazine” means an ammunition feeding device that can be removed readily from a firearm without requiring disassembly of the firearm action or without the use of a tool, including a bullet or cartridge. Md. Code Ann. Crim. Law § 4-301(f). “Flash suppressor” means a device that functions, or is intended to function, to perceptibly reduce or redirect muzzle flash from the shooter’s field of vision. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-301(g).
- Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-302(3)(iii), (5).
- Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-303(b)(1).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(r).
- Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-303(b)(2).
- Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-303(b)(3).
- Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-303(b)(4).