Maryland follows the "May-Issue" policy at the state level, which means you must show justifiable reason and sufficient documentation to confirm the issuance of a permit is valid. The purchase of a handgun in Maryland is reasonably difficult, but not impossible. All purchases from a private individual/company require a permit to purchase, background checks, and firearms registration. Afterward, all private sellers must process the transfers of handguns and assault weapons through a licensed dealer or designated law enforcement agency. Furthermore, Maryland established a handgun roster that sets a limitation, particularly on the list of handguns that are allowed to be sold in the State.

All individuals who wish to carry a firearm -- either openly or concealed --  MUST apply for a Maryland Wear/Carry Handgun Permit or WCHP. The State issues licenses for both residents and non-residents that are at least 21-years-old and with proven and substantial reason to carry a handgun. To apply, any person MUST complete a state-approved 16-hour firearm training course (additional eight hours of training for renewal applications) that includes live-fire training. The State's reciprocity does not honor permits issued by any other States.

Maryland WCHP Process

Minimum Requirements:

  • The applicant MUST be at least 21-years-old; with
  • No conviction or felony or crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;
  • Not been committed within the previous ten years to any juvenile detention center for longer than one year;
  • Not an addict or alcoholic; or
  • Never been convicted to an offense that involves the possession or distribution of a controlled substance;
  • And, never exhibited a propensity for violence or instability based on the investigation.
  • The applicant must provide justifiable reasons why the use of a firearm is necessary.
  • He/She completed the state-approved firearms training course.
  • He/She meets the Federal Law requirements.

To apply for a Maryland Wear/Carry Handgun Permit, please refer to the steps provided below:

  • You must complete the state-approved 16-hour firearm training course.
  • Proceed at any Maryland fingerprint processing center to have your fingerprint taken.
  • Download the application form
  • Fill out the form and have it printed
  • Complete the application via the online licensing portal; or
  • Mail your application form along with other supporting documents on the address provided below:
    • Maryland State Police,
      Licensing Division,
      1111 Reisterstown Road,
      Pikesville, MD 21208
      ATTN: Handgun Permit Unit
    • Include the following documents:
      • Completed application form
      • Training Certificate copy
      • Passport-size color photo (MUST be taken within the last 30 days)
      • Money order or cashier's check for $75
  • You will be notified via mail within 90 days if your application is approved or denied.

Initial permits are valid for two years and expire on the last day of the holder's birth month and can be renewed for successive periods of three years each.

To renew your WCHP license, please refer to the steps provided below:

  • All licensees must process their renewal application within 90 days from the expiration of the permit. If the Licensing Division failed to receive your request by the expiration date, your license is deemed permanently expired. Therefore, you must process a new application.
  • Complete an 8-hour firearms training course within two years of submitting your renewal application.
  • Go to State's online licensing portal and complete your application.
  • Provide the following documents:
    • Firearms Training Certificate copy
    • Two passport-sized color photo taken within the last 30 days
    • Application Fee
  • You will be notified within 90 days via mail if your application is approved or denied.

Here is the summary of all the licenses fees based on application type:

  • Individual/Regular Application:
    • Original - $75
    • Renewal - $50
  • Active/Retired Maryland Law Enforcement Officer - No Charge
  • Duplicate/Changes - $10
  • Late Renewal Fee - $5 per day (max of $150)

Maryland CCW Basics

Must Notify Officer

No - Must Notify Officer

Maryland Gun Laws do not require you to inform a law enforcement officer if you are carrying a firearm. However, the law states that you MUST bring along your valid carry permit if you have a gun for carrying, transport, or wear.

No Weapons Allowed

No - "No Weapons Allowed" Sign Not Enforced

There is nothing in Mary Gun Laws that states you should adhere to any signs that prohibit the carrying of a firearm upon entering a private property or business. However, it is highly suggested to submit if you encounter such posting, whether it's unlawful or not.

Purchase and Possession


A permit is not required to purchase a rifle or shotgun in the state of Maryland.  Handguns and assault rifles are regulated by the state for any sale, transfer, rental, or possession.  No person shall sell, rent, transfer, or purchase a regulated firearm unless through a firearms dealer.  Maryland law does however, allow for the private sale or transfer to be executed through a designated law enforcement agency.

It is illegal to sell or transfer regulated firearms to any person who:
•   Is less than 21 years of age;
•   Has been convicted of a crime that disqualifies him/her from purchasing or possessing a regulated firearm;
•   Is a fugitive from justice;
•   Is an alcohol abuser;
•   Is a drug abuser of a controlled substance;
•   Has a history of violent behavior toward self or others, and suffers from any mental disorder;
•   Has been committed to a psychiatric facility for the treatment of a mental disorder for more than 30 days;
•   Is currently under an order of protection (non ex parte);
•   Has been determined to be delinquent of juvenile crimes that if committed by an adult would disqualify him/her from possessing or purchasing a regulated firearm, if under age 30; 
•   Is under the influence of any drug or alcohol;
•   Has not completed a certified firearms safety course conducted by the Police Training Commission (or one that meets those standards) if on or after January 1, 2002, or has participated in a straw purchase;

There is a seven-day waiting period whereby the Secretary of the Maryland State Police may disapprove the purchase of a regulated firearm from any dealer, by an applicant.  An application must be completed by the buyer of regulated firearms and submitted to the dealer or law enforcement agency to be forwarded to the Secretary of the State Police for investigation.  The applicant must enclose a $10 fee along with proof of eligibility to purchase or possess a handgun, and a description (including serial number) of the firearm being purchased.

The application to purchase or possess a regulated firearm shall be denied if false or incomplete information is included in the application, or if the purchaser is ineligible.  The handgun may be delivered to the applicant if no action is taken after seven days of the dealer forwarding the application to the Secretary of the State Police.  Firearms dealers licensed by the Maryland State Police generally wait for approval from the State Police before delivering the handgun to the recipient, however.  The seven-day waiting period still applies, even if the application is approved before the end of the period.

A hearing may be requested in writing by a denied applicant, within 30 days of receiving notice from the Secretary of the State Police and shall be scheduled within 15 days.  The decision, subject to review by the court, shall remain sustained unless there is evidence that the Secretary acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner.

Unless a person can demonstrate that his/her firearm must be replaced immediately if lost or stolen, he/she may only purchase one regulated firearm in a 30-day period.  If this is the case, the owner of the firearm must provide the firearms dealer a copy of the police report reporting the firearm lost or stolen, the date, description of firearm, location of the loss or theft, date the loss or theft was reported to law enforcement, and his/her name and address.

No handgun manufactured after January 1, 1985, not included on the Handgun Roster of approved handguns may be lawfully manufactured, offered for sale, or sold.  A Handgun Roster Board is composed of the Secretary of the State Police and 10 members appointed by the Governor of Maryland.

The status of personalized handguns (handguns that contain a device only allowing an authorized user to activate the firearm) is reviewed by the Handgun Roster Board and a report is made annually to the Governor concerning the availability of such firearms in the commercial marketplace.

No handgun manufactured on or before December 3, 2002 may be offered for sale or transfer by a regulated firearms dealer unless it has an external safety lock.  As of January 1, 2003, handguns manufactured after December 31, 2002 must only be sold with an internal mechanical safety device. 

A regulated firearm presented for sale or transfer on a table or fixed display at a gun show requires that the seller obtain a temporary transfer permit from the Secretary of State Police.  The Secretary will issue the permit upon a criminal background investigation (that does not disqualify him/her) within seven days of application, for a $10 fee.  No person shall receive more than five temporary transfer permits in a calendar year, and additional permits beyond the initial first permit shall be free of charge.


A permit to possess a rifle or shotgun is not required by the state of Maryland.

No person shall possess a regulated firearm if he/she:
•   Has a conviction for a crime that would disqualify him/her;
•   Has a conviction for a common law crime whereby they have received a prison term for more than two years;•   Is a fugitive from justice;
•   Is an alcohol abuser;
•   Is a drug abuser or addict involving a controlled substance; Has a history of violent behavior against self or others, and suffers from a mental disorder, or has been committed to a mental health treatment facility for a period of 30 consecutive days.  This can be overturned with a physician’s certificate that states that the person can possess a regulated firearm without presenting danger to self or others.  (This shall pertain to any owner of a shotgun or rifle as well).
•    Is currently under an order of protection, (non ex parte) or;
•   Has been determined to have been a delinquent minor where a juvenile crime was committed that would disqualify him/her if committed by an adult, if 30 years old or younger.An assault pistol may not be currently sold or offered for sale, transferred, received, or transported into the state of Maryland.  Owners of existing assault pistols may continue to retain their firearms if they were registered with the Secretary of the State Police before August 1,1994.  Any assault pistol purchased, sold, transferred, received or possessed in the state of Maryland may be seized as contraband and disposed of by law enforcement.  The following is a list of semiautomatic pistols or their copies referred to as “assault pistols”:
•   AA Arms AP-9;
•   Bushmaster;
•   Claridge HI-Tec;
•   D-Max Industries;
•   Encom Mk-IV, MP-9, and MP-45;
•   H & K SP-89;
•   Holmes MP83;
•   Ingram MAC 10/11 and any variations, including Partisan Avenger and SWD Cobray;
•   Intratec TEC-9 and DC-9 (centerfire only);
•   P.A.W.S.;
•   Skorpion;
•   Spectre;
•   Uzi;
•   Weaver Arms “Nighthawk”;
•   Wilkinson Arms “Linda”.

It is illegal after June 1, 1994 to sell, offer for sale, purchase, receive, or transfer any magazine that is detachable holding more than 20 rounds, with the exception of a tube magazine for a 22.  Possession of such is not prohibited.

Carrying a Firearm


It is illegal to carry a handgun whether openly or concealed on or about the person without a permit to do so.  It is further illegal to transport a handgun in any vehicle on public roadways, waterways or airways, or in parking lots utilized by the public.  It is permitted however to carry a handgun on any property or premises, whether business or residential, if owned or leased by the handgun owner.

Any rifle or shotgun must be unloaded during transport.

A handgun may be transported if it can be demonstrated that it is being carried, worn, or moved for the following purposes:

•   While traveling to or from the place of legal purchase, or a repair shop;
•   While traveling between residences, or a business and residence owned by him/her;
•   While traveling to or from a sport shooting event, target practice, a target shoot, hunting, trapping, a dog obedience class or show; or
•   A public or private exhibition while transporting the collection of a genuine gun collector.
•    The handgun must be carried in an enclosed case or holster unloaded if transported to any of the above places.  Any person wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun with intent to injure or kill another will incur an additional penalty if convicted.


An applicant wishing to carry a handgun shall make application on the printed application form to the Secretary of State Police for a permit to carry, and include a notarized letter that states his/her reasons for applying for a permit.

The permit may be issued by the Secretary if it is found that the applicant:

•   Is at least 18 years old;
•   Is not a convicted felon for a crime committed that is punishable in prison for a period exceeding one year;
•   Has not been convicted of a crime that involves a controlled substance, including the use, distribution, or possession of that substance;
•   Is not addicted to, or an abuser of alcohol or a controlled substance;
•   Has not exhibited violet or unstable tendencies, (based on an investigation) and;
•   Has demonstrated a valid and substantial reason to carry a handgun that includes a finding that the permit is considered necessary as a reasonable precaution, based on an investigation;
•   In cases where the applicant is under 30 years of age, the Secretary of the State Police will qualify him/her for a permit if he/she has not been:
•       determined to be a delinquent juvenile in the past who was confined to a detention, training, or correctional institution for more than a period of one year;
•       considered a juvenile delinquent who committed a crime that would be one of violence, a felony, or punishable for a period of more than two years, if committed by an adult.

Restrictions may be added to the permit by the Secretary, according to his discretion, that may limit the location, circumstances, or time during which the handgun can be carried.

A non-refundable fee of $75.00 shall be paid to the Secretary upon submission of the application.  A fee of $50.00 is payable for a permit renewal, and $10.00 will be charged for a modified or duplicate permit.   These fees may be reduced for permits that limit the time and place of carry.

The permit shall be valid for a period of two years and will expire on the last day of the permitee’s birth month.  Renewal of a permit is valid for a period of three years.  The permittee must carry the permit with him/her at all times while carrying, wearing, or transporting the handgun.  The permit shall be valid for each handgun legally carried by the permitee.

It is illegal to carry a handgun while under the influence of any drug or alcohol.

An informal review by the Secretary of the State Police may be requested in writing by an applicant or permitee in the case of any denial, revocation or limitation placed on a permit.  This must be done within 10 days after receiving the written notice of the Secretary’s initial action.  Further, a denied applicant may instead request in writing, a review of the Secretary’s decision by the Handgun Permit Review Board, if done within 10 days of the initial decision.

Antiques & Replicas

State firearms law does not apply to antique firearms.  A firearm is considered an antique if it was manufactured before 1899, or is a replica thereof, that cannot fire fixed ammunition, or can fire fixed ammunition that is not any longer available in the United States through normal commercial channels.

Machine Guns

A machine gun shall be considered any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded where more than one single shot can be discharged from the weapon automatically by a single function of the trigger.  A machine gun may not be used for an aggressive or offensive purpose and must be registered with the Secretary of Police within 24 hours of acquiring, and every year thereafter.  The fee for registration shall be $10.00.

It is presumed that the machine gun is in possession for offensive or aggressive purposes if there is:

•   no registration of the machine gun,
•   a violent crime committed by a possessor of such a firearm, or the person is an alien,
•   possession of the firearm on premises other than one’s own residence or business (either owned or rented), or•   in cases where empty shell casings for the machine gun can be found in the immediate area thereof.This law does not contradict any regulation for a machine gun that is:
•   sold, transported, or manufactured for any United States peace officer, or military member authorized to possess such a firearm,
•   in possession for purposes of scientific research or examination,
•   not suitable for use and possessed as an ornament, keepsake, or souvenir,
•   possessed for reasons that are non-aggressive or offensive.

Range Protection

§ 5-403. 1 
§ 5-403. 1. Sport shooting ranges

Sport shooting range defined

(a) In this section, “sport shooting range” means an area designed and used for trapshooting, skeet shooting, or other target shooting.

Application of section to private nuisance actions only

(b) This section applies only to private nuisance actions and does not apply to public nuisance actions.

Date of establishment of sport shooting range

(c) If there has been no shooting activity at a sport shooting range for a period of 3 consecutive years, the date of resumption of shooting activity is considered the date of the establishment of a sport shooting range for purposes of this section.

Actions against shooting range prohibited if range in operation when property acquired

(d)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person may not bring a civil nuisance action for noise against a person who owns, operates, or uses a sport shooting range located within the vicinity of the property of the person bringing the action if the sport shooting range was established as of the date the person acquired the property.

(2) This section may not be construed to limit a nuisance action against a sport shooting range established on or after June 1, 1997.

Maryland Concealed Carry Reciprocity

Maryland Reciprocity States

States that will honor a Maryland handgun permit

Resident Permits
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin

Non-Resident Permits
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin

Handgun permits Maryland will honor

Maryland will not honor any other states handgun permits.

States that will not honor a Maryland handgun permit

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, .

Washington D.C.

Restricted Areas

  • Any property belongs to a Public School. The law just says "Public School" but does not indicate what type of public school.
  • Demonstration - you cannot be within 1000 feet of the demonstration
  • In legislative buildings
  • On any aircraft
  • In a lodging establishment.
  • Dredge boats unless it is a 10 gauge shotgun
  • Around or inside any public buildings or grounds owned by the state.
  • Chesapeake Forest Lands
  • In any State Forests
  • In-State Parks
  • Any highway rest area owned by the state, unless the weapon is properly secured within the vehicle.
  • Adult rehabilitation centers
  • Child care centers, unless it is a small center inside a residence.
  • Places where carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law.

Non-Restricted Areas

  • State game management areas
  • Bars/Restuarant that serve alcohol
  • WMAs
  • Place of Worship
  • All areas of the state not listed as Off-Limits


It is illegal to alter or obliterate any serial number or manufacturer's identifying mark on a firearm.  It is presumed that anyone in possession of such a firearm is the perpetrator of the offense.

The state of Maryland reserves the right to regulate all firearms in areas of possession, sale, carrying, and transportation.

It is illegal to carry a firearm or other deadly weapon on the grounds of any public school.

It shall be considered a separate crime to commit any felony or violent acts using a handgun.  The courts shall impose a sentence of no less than five years without probation or suspension in addition to any other sentence imposed for these crimes.

It is illegal to store or leave any firearm loaded where it can be accessed by a minor, unsupervised, under the age of 16.

A separate container that is sealed, holding a spent casing must be included in a box for shipment of any handgun by any manufacturer that is sold, rented, or transferred in the sate of Maryland.  Dealers of handguns must confirm the manufacturer’s compliance with this regulation and forward the container holding the spent casing for the handgun to be sold or transferred, to the state police upon receipt.

Maryland Off Limits Statues

(2) (i) "Demonstration" means one or more persons demonstrating, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding a vigil, or engaging in any other similar conduct that involves the communication or expression of views or grievances and that has the effect, intent, or  ropensity to attract a crowd or onlookers.
(6) (i) "Public place" means a place to which the general public has access and a right to resort for business, entertainment, or other lawful purpose.
 (ii) "Public place" is not limited to a place devoted solely to the uses of the public.
 (iii) "Public place" includes:
 1. the front or immediate area or parking lot of a store, restaurant, tavern, shopping center, or other place of business;
 2. a public building, including its grounds and curtilage;
 3. a public parking lot;
 4. a public street, sidewalk, or right-of-way;
 5. a public park; and
 6. other public grounds.
(b) Prohibited. –
(2) A person may not have a firearm in the person's possession or on or about the person at a demonstration in a public place or in a vehicle that is within 1,000 feet of a demonstration in a public place after:
 (i) the person has been advised by a law enforcement officer that a demonstration is occurring at the public place; and
 (ii) the person has been ordered by the law enforcement officer to leave the area of the demonstration until the person disposes of the firearm.
(c) Penalty. -- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or both. c. 25, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2016.

(e) Firearms and other devices restricted. --
 (1) This subsection does not apply to:
 (i) a law enforcement officer of any state or of the federal government who is carrying out duties of the office; or
 (ii) a person whom the officer summons to help in making an arrest or in preserving the peace.
 (2) A person may not willfully bring an assault weapon or other firearm or destructive device, as defined in § 4-501 of the Criminal Law Article, into or have an assault weapon or other firearm or destructive device in a building where:
 (i) the Senate or the House has a chamber;
 (ii) a member, officer, or employee of the General Assembly has an official office; or
 (iii) a committee of the General Assembly, the Senate, or the House has an office.
(f) Penalties. -- A person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or both.

History: Acts 2002, c. 213, § 6, eff. Oct. 1, 2002.. 

(a) An innkeeper may refuse to provide lodging or services to or may remove from a lodging establishment an individual who:
(6) the innkeeper reasonably believes possesses property that may be dangerous to other individuals, such as firearms or explosives; or

Acts 2016, c. 228, § 1, eff. July 1, 2016

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the State preempts the right of a county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district to regulate the purchase, sale, taxation, transfer, manufacture, repair, ownership, possession, and transportation of:
 (1) a handgun, rifle, or shotgun; and

 (2) ammunition for and components of a handgun, rifle, or shotgun.

b) (1) A county, municipal corporation, or special taxing district may regulate the purchase, sale, transfer, ownership, possession, and transportation of the items listed in subsection (a) of this section:(i) with respect to minors;
(ii) with respect to law enforcement officials of the subdivision; and
(iii) except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, within 100 yards of or in a park, church, school, public building, and other place of public assembly.

Acts 2010, c. 712, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2010.