Repeatedly after the first news stories break, we find out that the perpetrators of violent crime were suffering from mental illness. While most mentally ill people are not violent, too often we are left confused as to how somebody who was known to be mentally ill and a danger to others was able to legally acquire a gun. Maryland’s gun laws include a specific set of parameters for those citizens who have been diagnosed with, or treated for, mental illness.
The current laws are under review by a special panel, which is examining how to protect innocent citizens as well as the constitutional rights of those who have received treatment for mental illness but pose no threat to society. As it stands, however, state law prohibits anyone who meets the following criteria from purchasing or owning a gun in Maryland:
- Convicted and dangerous but not criminally responsible
- Found to be incompetent to stand trial and dangerous
- Certified and committed (when records are available)
- Voluntarily admitted with at least a 30-day stay
- Subject to guardianship and dangerous
- Developmentally disabled
This means that the following mentally ill persons can obtain a gun legally:
- Someone who was found to be incompetent to stand trial, but not dangerous
- Someone who was found not criminally responsible and not dangerous
- Someone who is subject to guardianship but not dangerous
On the other hand, somebody who was never thought to be dangerous but who voluntarily spent at least 30 days in an inpatient program is prohibited from buying and owning firearms. The law is unclear regarding those individuals who have been in outpatient treatment.
The Second Amendment protects the right of American citizens to bear arms. If you believe that your rights are being wrongly infringed upon, call the Maryland law firm with more than a hundred years of experience fighting for American values.