Child Access Prevention
In 2023, Maryland strengthened its CAP law. Effective October 1, 2023, the law provides that a person “may not store or leave a loaded firearm in a location where the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised minor has access to the firearm.”1 A minor is defined as someone under the age of 18.2
This section does not apply if:
- The minor’s access is supervised by an individual age 18 or older;
- The minor’s access was obtained as a result of unlawful entry;
- The firearm is in the possession or control of a law enforcement officer while the officer is engaged in official duties; or
- The minor has a certificate of firearm and hunter safety.3
State administrative regulations may impose storage requirements in certain locations.
Maryland has no law that requires unattended firearms to be stored in a certain way.
A licensed firearms dealer may not sell or otherwise transfer any handgun in Maryland, manufactured on or before December 31, 2002, without an “external safety lock.”4 An external safety lock is an external device that is attached to a handgun with a key or combination lock and is designed to prevent a handgun from being discharged unless the device has been deactivated.5
In addition, a licensed dealer may not sell or otherwise transfer any handgun in Maryland that was manufactured after December 31, 2002 unless the handgun contains an “integrated mechanical safety device.”6 An integrated mechanical safety device is a disabling or locking device built into a handgun and “designed to prevent the handgun from being discharged unless the device has been deactivated.”7
Maryland does not require firearm owners to lock their weapons.
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- Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-104(c).
- Md. Rules of Inter Code § 24 (2013).
- Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-104(b).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-132(c)(1).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-132(a)(3).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-132(c)(2).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-132(a)(6).