Prince George’s County Gun Lawyer
Maryland’s legislature has enacted some of the harshest gun control laws in the country. Despite the 2nd Amendment’s guarantee of a citizen’s right to bear arms, Maryland severely limits where it is legal to do so and what sort of firearms a person may legally possess.
Especially when applied to handguns, any improper possession of a firearm is a crime in and of itself. However, the presence of a firearm at a crime scene makes any underlying criminal accusation much more serious. What might otherwise be a minor misdemeanor level offense can quickly transform into a felony if there is a gun at the scene.
No matter the type of criminal charge that an individual is facing, a Prince George’s County gun lawyer may be able to help. A capable defense attorney should understand Maryland’s gun laws and could work to protect an individual’s right to bear arms and to defend them against any allegation of illegal firearm use.
Gun Ownership Rules in Maryland
Maryland creates differing laws for legal gun ownership depending upon the type of weapon in question. Handguns are presumed to be illegally owned and carried. In fact, Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §4-203 states that no person can possess, carry, or otherwise transport a handgun in public. This applies to both concealed carry and open carry. However, a citizen is able to apply for a handgun permit with the State.
Penalties for Gun Offenses
Any violation of the handgun law is punishable by a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days and may result in a sentence to up to three years in prison. If a person has a previous conviction, the minimum jail sentence increases to one year.
Other firearms are always prohibited, and the State issues no licenses that allow for their use. Under Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §4-303, no person may possess, sell, transfer, or bring any assault weapon into Maryland. Assault weapons include:
- Assault long guns, such as military-style rifles
- Assault semi-automatic pistols
- Copycat weapons, such as semi-automatic rifles or shotguns
The illegal possession of an assault weapon is a misdemeanor where the court can sentence a guilty defendant to no more than three years in jail or a fine of up to $5,000. A Prince George’s County gun lawyer could attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.
The Use of a Firearm to Commit a Crime
Maryland also harshly punishes individuals who use a gun during the commission of a crime. Looking at an assault as an example, this involves threatening any person with physical violence. This is typically a misdemeanor level offense where a conviction is unlikely to result in jail time.
However, if a defendant is accused of using a firearm to threaten another, this makes the assault charge much more serious. According to Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §4-204, Maryland law requires courts to sentence guilty defendants to a minimum of five years in prison.
This is in addition to any penalty imposed for the underlying charge. For this reason, it is essential that individuals who are facing accusations of the use of a firearm during the commission of a crime be prepared to defend themselves in court.
How a Prince George’s County Gun Attorney Could Help
The purchase and possession of firearms in Maryland is very strictly controlled. It is difficult to purchase legal firearms and handguns require an owner to pass a background check and receive training. Other guns are always illegal to own. A violation of the gun possession laws will result in the firearm being seized by police and in the case of handguns, a conviction will result in a mandatory minimum jail sentence.
Even more severe are allegations that a defendant has used a gun to commit a crime. If the court convicts these people, the judge is required to sentence the defendant to five years in prison in addition to any other penalties that may accompany the core charge.
A Prince George’s County gun lawyer could help to prevent this from happening. Whether a client is accused of illegal gun possession, or a serious crime involving a firearm, lawyers work to defend their rights in court with diligence and passion. Contact an attorney today to discuss your case.