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This is a topic that has certainly been in the news recently. And now there is a local angle after two teenagers were arrested for possibly planning a school shooting at Leonardtown High School, and one of their fathers was arrested for violating gun laws.

This post will give an overview of the most important gun laws in Maryland. Maryland actually has a lot of laws about guns. It is one of the most restrictive states in the nation regarding gun laws.

Therefore, use this post for informational purposes. But if you have a specific legal question about a gun law, you should seek a consultation with an attorney.

Assault Weapons

Maryland does ban a specific list of assault weapons. Assault weapons are hard to define from a legal perspective, so Maryland keeps a specific list of weapons that are banned.

The list of assault long guns is found in the state code at section 5-101 of the Public Safety article. A list of assault pistols is found at section 4-101 of the Criminal Law article. You can look up the statutes here, or you can see a list kept by the Maryland State Police here.

Detachable Magazines

Maryland also bans detachable magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. High capacity magazines are another frequent target of laws trying to define and ban assault rifles.

Machine Guns

Maryland bans machine guns, but so do the federal laws. Machine guns are generally defined as guns that allow continuous fire with one trigger pull. They are illegal in any state without very special licenses.

Maryland does have some specific enhanced sentences for anyone using a machine gun in a crime of violence or for aggressive purposes.

Rifles & Shotguns

Maryland does not ban or regulate rifles or shotguns that are not classified as assault weapons. You do not need a permit to purchase a shotgun or most “normal” rifles.


Handguns are not banned in Maryland, but they are heavily regulated. You must have a license to buy one. You must take a safety test to get the license. And your guns will be registered with the state at the time of purchase.

Maryland does not allow concealed or open carry of a handgun for the general public. You must have a license granted by the Maryland State Police. These licenses are hard to get. You have to show a “good and substantial reason” (regularly carrying large amounts of cash, for example) and you must pass a background check.

The specific laws on handguns in Maryland are voluminous and we cannot possibly list them all here.


Maryland has a lot of laws about guns. We have tried to summarize the biggest. We hope you found this listing informative. Feel free to share it with others who may have similar questions because of the newsworthiness of this topic right now.

Next Steps

Want to know more? Discover what you need to know about Maryland law. Click here to see our Free Legal Consumer Guides and get answers to your questions today. Know your options. Be informed. Protect yourself.

Need an attorney? Please contact us for a consultation today if you need an experienced lawyer in Waldorf and Lexington Park for your legal case.

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