Catonsville Gun Lawyer
In an effort to reduce violent crimes, lawmakers in Maryland have enacted strict gun control laws with severe penalties. Sometimes these laws are enforced against otherwise law-abiding citizens in Catonsville, which may work against the intent of legislators.
Because the penalties are severe, it is wise for anyone charged with a firearm offense to seek counsel from an experienced Catonsville gun lawyer. A hardworking criminal defense attorney who understands applicable gun laws and successful defensive strategies could help work toward the optimum outcome based on the circumstances.
Overview of Applicable Gun Laws
Although the state constitution has no provision guaranteeing the right to bear arms, Catonsville residents, of course, have the protections offered the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, these rights are not unlimited and are subject to state and local laws. Although gun control has not typically addressed at the county level, Baltimore County Council members have proposed legislation in this area, so it is important to be aware of any location regulations in addition to state and federal laws.
Most gun charges involve violations of state laws. Moreover, most of these laws concern prohibitions against handguns as opposed to “long guns” such as rifles and shotguns, with assault rifles being the exception. While it is important for anyone with a firearm to understand the legal requirements and limitations, it is especially important to understand the state laws concerning the purchase, possession, use and transportation of handguns.
Prohibitions and Restrictions on Handguns
Many of the laws restricting handgun use are found in Title 4, Subtitle 2 of the Maryland Criminal Code. Section 4-203 prohibits carrying or transporting a handgun either on the body or in a vehicle in a public place. The prohibition applies equally whether the gun is concealed or carried openly.
Exceptions to the Rule
However, the prohibition does not apply to authorized individuals such as law enforcement personnel or to those carrying a handgun with a valid permit, so long as they comply with the applicable limitations. The restriction also does not apply to transportation of handguns for purposes such as repair or participation in competition, if the weapon is unloaded and carried in a case.
More significantly, the prohibition does not apply, and therefore the law permits “the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun” on a person’s own property, home or business, or by a supervisor in the course of employment, so long as the carrying of the handgun is authorized by the business owner or manager.
This crime is described as a misdemeanor, but a first offense is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Penalties increase if the gun is carried on school property or with the intent to injure or kill another.
Use of a Handgun is Penalized More Severely
Using a handgun, rifle or even antique gun in commission of a violent crime is a serious offense even if the firearm does not work. Those convicted of this offense face up to 20 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of five years in many cases.
Other Gun Violations
In addition to restrictions on the possession or use of firearms, state statutes contain many other prohibitions involving guns. These include:
- Possessing firearm on school property (§4-102)
- Attempting to remove a firearm from a law enforcement officer (§4-103)
- Placing a loaded firearm in a location where a child can reach it (§4-104)
- Improper use of stun gun (§4-109)
- Use of restricted firearm ammunition during commission of a violent crime (§4-110)
Penalties for these offenses vary, but even gun crimes referred to misdemeanors often carry very heavy penalties. A Catonsville gun lawyer could attempt to mitigate the penalties someone may face.
Working with an Experienced Catonsville Gun Attorney
Criminal offenses involving firearms can be tricky to understand because of the complex definitions involved. As noted above, there are many exceptions to the prohibitions, so demonstrating that a particular situation fits one of those exceptions may prove to be the key to the case.
An experienced Catonsville gun lawyer could devise the right defensive strategy based on your unique situation. To protect your rights and start building your defense, call now.