Maryland generally prohibits wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun, whether concealed or open, on or about the person without a permit.1 This prohibition does not apply on real estate that the person owns or leases, where the person resides, or within the confines of a business establishment that the person owns or leases.2
Though Maryland law states that the Secretary of the Maryland State Police (“Secretary”) shall issue a handgun carry permit within a reasonable time to any person who meets the minimum statutory requirements to receive a permit, those minimum requirements provide the Secretary with significant discretion to issue or deny such permits, so Maryland is properly considered a “may-issue” state.3 The Secretary is only required to issue a handgun carry permit when he or she finds, based on an investigation, that the applicant (1) has not exhibited a propensity for violence or instability that may reasonably render the person’s possession of a handgun a danger to the person or to another, and (2) has good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.4
Any person wishing to obtain a handgun carry permit must also:5
- Be an “adult;”
- Have no felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions for which a sentence of imprisonment for more than one year has been imposed (unless such a person has been pardoned or successfully petitioned for relief from this prohibition);
- If under age 30, have no adjudications of delinquency in a juvenile court for any act that would be a felony or “crime of violence” if committed by an adult or for any misdemeanor carrying a statutory penalty of two years or more, and have never been committed to any detention, training or correctional institution for more than one year as a juvenile;
- Have no convictions involving the possession, use or distribution of controlled substances, and not be presently an alcoholic, addict or habitual user of a controlled dangerous substance, (unless the habitual use of the controlled dangerous substance is under legitimate medical direction); and
- Meet all federal and state requirements to possess a handgun, as outlined in the Maryland Prohibited Purchasers Generally section.
Applicants for a first-time permit are required to submit a nonrefundable application fee not to exceed $75.6
A handgun carry permit will be revoked if the permittee no longer satisfies the qualifications to hold a permit or fails to carry the permit any time they carry, wear or transport a handgun.7 Anyone failing to return to the Secretary their revoked permit is criminally liable for a misdemeanor.8
Permittees are criminally liable for a misdemeanor if they wear, carry or transport a handgun while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.9 Maryland also imposes a misdemeanor upon any person who carries, wears or transports a handgun, whether concealed or in open view, without a valid handgun permit. The Secretary of State Police retains the power to limit the geographic area, circumstances, or times in which the handgun permit is effective.10
Firearm Safety Training
To qualify for a handgun permit, applicants must also have successfully completed prior to application and each renewal, a firearms training course approved by the Secretary that includes:
(i) 1. for an initial application, a minimum of 16 hours of instruction by a qualified handgun instructor; or
2. for a renewal application, 8 hours of instruction by a qualified handgun instructor;
(ii) classroom instruction on:
1. State firearm law;
2. home firearm safety; and
3. handgun mechanisms and operation; and
(iii) a firearms qualification component that demonstrates the applicant’s proficiency and use of the firearm.11
An applicant is exempt from the training course requirement if he or she:
- is a law enforcement officer or a person who is retired in good standing from service with a law enforcement agency of the United States, the State, or any local law enforcement agency in the State;
- is a member, retired member, or honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States or the National Guard;
- is a qualified handgun instructor; or
- has completed a firearms training course approved by the Secretary.12
Duration & Renewal
Maryland handgun carry permits generally expire “on the last day of the holder’s birth month following 2 years after the date the permit is issued.”13 Permits may be renewed for successive periods of three years each, upon application and payment of a renewal fee.14 Applicants must continue to possess the qualifications set forth in the handgun permitting rules of Maryland Code Ann., Public Safety § 5-306 to renew a permit.15
Disclosure or Use of Information
In Maryland, any information obtained by the Secretary from the Maryland Criminal Justice Information System Central Repository of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services pursuant to the Secretary’s request for a criminal history records check on a handgun permit applicant:
- Is confidential and may not be disseminated; and
- Shall be used only for the licensing purpose authorized by Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-305.16
No relevant statutes currently exist, indicating that Maryland does not recognize concealed weapons permits issued in other states.
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- Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-203(a), (b)(2), Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-303.
- Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-203(a), (b)(2).
- See Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-306(a).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-306(a)(6).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-306(a), (c).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-304(b)(2)(i). Additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit suspension or disqualification information, are detailed under Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety §§ 5-304, 5-305 and 5-306.
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-310(a).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-313. For review procedures for persons denied a permit, see Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety §§ 5-311 and 5-312.
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-314.
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-307(b).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-306(a)(5).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-306(b).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-309(a).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-309(b).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-309(b).
- Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-305(e).