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How is Maryland Changing Your Gun Rights?

Maryland recently passed one of the strictest gun-control laws in the nation, and the 62-page bill is a hefty change for gun and gun-store owners. The Firearm Safety Act of 2013 (SB 281), which was signed by Governor O’Malley, takes effect on October 1, 2013. The new law makes Maryland the first state in almost 20 years to legally require people buying guns to be fingerprinted to obtain a license. There are only five other states with this rule.

While the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 is widely thought to be a reaction to gun violence, in particular to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December, many gun-store owners said the looming restrictions and bans have actually led to higher gun sales.

The following are some of the most notable changes that SB 281 has made to gun laws in Maryland, in addition to the new fingerprinting requirement:

  • Around 45 types of assault weapons are banned
  • Magazines that have more than a 10-round capacity are banned
  • Maryland residents who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility are banned from owning a regulated handgun, shotgun or rifle
  • Maryland residents who have been voluntarily admitted to a mental health facility for more than 30 days are banned from owning a regulated handgun, shotgun or rifle
  • Police officers can suspend a gun dealer’s license if they violate record keeping regulations
  • Maryland residents who purchase a handgun must pay for a $50 license that lasts for 10 years, and there is a $20 renewal fee
  • People moving to Maryland from another state must register their regulated firearms within 90 days of their move
  • A lost or stolen regulated firearm must be reported by its owner within 72 hours

The new legislation does not affect hunting rifles or shotguns. Maryland residents who purchased prohibited firearms or magazines before the bill takes effect are grandfathered in. A first offense for violating any aspect of this bill is a civil offense that is punishable by up to $500 in fines. Any subsequent violation is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.

A petition to overturn SB 281 failed, but the National Rifle Association (NRA), which did not back the petition, has stated that it will pursue legal action against the bill on grounds that it violates the Second Amendment.

If you have a previous criminal offense, or are concerned that you might be otherwise potentially limited by the new law, call our firm to talk to La Plata criminal defense attorneys with extensive experience.

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