Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States


Total prohibition                                                                                         Total freedom

0 —— 10 —— 20 —— 30 —— 40 —— 50 —— 60 —— 70 —— 80 —— 90 —— 100


Traveler’s checklist:

  • Standard firearms ownership: unrestricted, but permit required for handgun sales
  • Semi-auto gun / high capacity magazines: import of assault weapons prohibited;
  • transfer or sale of over 10 shot magazines prohibited
  • Machine Gun Ownership: state registration; otherwise compliance with federal law
  • Firearm law uniformity: preemption law, firearm laws uniform throughout state
  • Right of Self-Defense: no NRA-model castle doctrine, duty to retreat in public areas
  • Open carry: prohibited in all public areas
  • Concealed carry: license required; granted on a discretionary basis; no reciprocity for  non-residents with carry permits from other states
  • Vehicle carry and transportation: loaded, readily accessible handguns prohibited;
  • exceptions exist for unloaded transport; rifles & shotguns must remain unloaded
  • State Parks: possession and carry of firearms prohibited except at designated ranges
  • Restaurants serving alcohol: permittees may carry while eating in dining areas – see p.3
  •  Duty to notify LEO of permit status: upon demand of police officer
  • Vehicle gun possession at colleges: subject to college administrative policy

         Maryland has a multitude of restrictions on the possession of handguns
and military pattern semi-autos (assault weapons).  The state requires handgun
purchasers to be licensed.   Any firearm classified as an “assault weapon” is banned
from import entirely.   And the sale or transfer of any over 10 shot magazine is prohibited.
Handgun carry is similarly regulated so that it is almost impossible for an unlicensed
person to carry a handgun legally.

         Maryland permittees: The state requires a license to carry a loaded
handgun on one’s person or in a vehicle.  The state police issue such permits on
a highly discretionary basis to persons demonstrating a compelling need for a 2-
year term.  Maryland will issue permits to nonresidents on rare occasions.  But
the state will not recognize carry permits from other states.

Persons without Maryland permits: A traveler without a
Maryland permit may not carry a handgun on foot or in a vehicle in a loaded or
readily accessible manner.  But he may transport an unloaded handgun in a secure
case if he is traveling to a recognized shooting competition, bonafide gun show,
hunting exercise, or some other gun-related event.  Magazines may remain loaded
while in a vehicle as long they are not attached to, or inserted into, any handgun.
Travelers passing through the state may transport inaccessible handguns even if they
are not traveling to one of these events as long as the weapons are unloaded, cased
and, either stowed in the trunk, or locked in a case if the vehicle has no trunk.

     All Persons: Rifles and shotguns may be transported in a vehicle for any reason.
But, due to Maryland’s conservation/hunting laws, the weapons must be unloaded and
secured in commercial cases or gun racks regardless of whether one has a permit.

Maryland’s preemption statute provides uniformity for most gun laws
throughout the state.  But localities may still regulate the discharge of firearms
within their limits and the carry of firearms within 100 yards of schools, parks,
churches, public buildings, and places of public assembly.  A recently enacted self-
defense law provides homeowners with civil immunity from damages sustained by
unlawful intruders against whom the homeowner employs deadly force.