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Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in Maryland

The unlawful possession of a firearm in Maryland is wearing or carrying a handgun. A first offense has a maximum penalty of three years with a minimum of 30 days. This minimum is not necessarily going to occur all of the time. The minimum punishment depends on whether a judge gives them a probation before judgment where an individual does not have to have any penalty.

Someone who has a firearm that is stolen, that is not lawfully purchased, or not registered, could put themselves at risk of getting not only arrested but convicted and put in jail. When facing charges of unlawful possession of a firearm in Maryland, it is important for that individual to contact an experienced gun lawyer right away.

Possession vs. Distribution

Laws for unlawful possession of a firearm in Maryland focus on both possession and distribution. Law enforcement wants to get illegal guns off the street, meaning guns that are in the hands of criminals, former felons, drug dealers, or people who should not have a firearm for any reason.

Simple possession is indistinguishable in terms of criminal activity and whether it is a first or second offense. A first offense of unlawful possession of a firearm in Maryland is typically a maximum of three years and increases to ten years on a second offense with a minimum one year. If there are multiple weapons, it can go even higher.

Maryland Gun Laws

In Maryland, Baltimore had the deadliest year, which continues to be on the upside. In 2015, Baltimore had 344 homicides and the prior year was 344. In 1993, it was 353. Between 1993 and 2015, police were able to really reduce that number. However, 90 percent of those homicides were results of shootings and over 900 people were shot in that year alone.

The prior governor’s administration really strengthened gun laws, especially handgun carry conceal strict laws. Unlawful possession of a firearm in Maryland laws have made possession of a handgun on an individual’s person and transportation to a vehicle harder for someone to do legally. The laws continue to change as part of Governor Hogan’s pledge. When elected, he said that it would not affect the changes in the strictness of gun laws even though there was an enormous amount of lobbying behind it.

The number of violent acts involving handguns has increased, rather than successful decreasing as a result of the new firearm strictness. This most likely means that guns are in the hands of criminals or other unlawful carriers.

Gun-Free Zones

Specifically, gun-free zones are places where people cannot go with firearms, even if they have a wear carry conceal permit. One place would be school property, while another is an individual within a thousand feet of a demonstration in a public place, legislative buildings, any aircraft, or air commerce services.

Other areas include public areas such as Chesapeake Forest Lands, state forests, state parks, state highways, adult rehabilitation centers, and childcare centers with some very small exceptions. Lodging establishments can be gun-free zones when innkeeper reasonably believes individuals possess property that may be dangerous to other individuals such as firearms or explosives. There are about 13 types of places in total that are gun-free zones.

The use of weapons in a gun-free zone, specifically the use of a weapon in a school zone or use or possession of a weapon on school grounds is punishable by up to five years in prison. Contacting a local attorney can help in better understanding your rights regarding unlawful possession of a firearm in Maryland.