Maryland

Maryland Law

Maryland Domestic Violence Firearm Purchase and Possession Prohibitions

Maryland prohibits persons convicted of a disqualifying crime or a “violation classified as a common law crime and received a term of imprisonment of more than 2 years” from possessing a regulated firearm and ammunition.1 Maryland prohibits persons convicted of a crime of violence from possessing a rifle or shotgun.2 Maryland prohibits persons convicted of or who plead guilty to a “disqualifying crime that the court determines to be a domestically related crime” from possessing a regulated firearm, a rifle, or a shotgun and requires these persons to surrender their regulated firearm, rifle, or shotgun within 2 business days after the conviction to a state or local law enforcement agency or to a federally licensed firearms dealer3. Maryland does not prohibit the subject of an interim domestic violence protective order from possessing any firearm or order the surrender of any firearm. Maryland may prohibit the subject of a temporary domestic violence protective order from possessing any firearm for the duration of the order and order the surrender of any firearm to law enforcement “if the abuse consisted of:

  1. [T]he use of a firearm by the respondent against a person eligible for relief;
  2. [A] threat by the respondent to use a firearm against a person eligible for relief;
  3. [S]erious bodily harm to a person eligible for relief caused by the respondent; or
  4. [A] threat by the respondent to cause serious bodily harm to a person eligible for relief[.]”4

Maryland prohibits the subject of a final domestic violence protective order from possessing any firearm for the duration of the order and orders the surrender of any firearm to law enforcement5.

MARYLAND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTIVE ORDER FIREARM REMOVAL

Civil Domestic Violence Protective Orders That Require Firearm Removal

If a court issuing a temporary domestic violence protective order prohibits the respondent from possessing a firearm, the court may “order the respondent to surrender to law enforcement authorities any firearm in the respondent’s possession[.]”6 A court issuing a final domestic violence protective order “shall order the respondent to surrender to law enforcement authorities any firearm in the respondent’s possession[.]”7

Individuals Who May Petition for a Protective Order

The following persons may petition for a domestic violence protective order:

  1. Persons eligible for relief; or
  2. Persons seeking relief from abuse on behalf of a minor or vulnerable adult, including
    1. The State’s Attorney for the county where the child or vulnerable adult lives, or, if different, where the abuse is alleged to have taken place;
    2. The department of social services that has jurisdiction in the county where the child or vulnerable adult lives, or, if different, where the abuse is alleged to have taken place;
    3. A person related to the child or vulnerable adult by blood, marriage, or adoption; or
    4. An adult who resides in the home.8

The following persons are “persons eligible for relief”:

  1. Current or former spouses;
  2. Persons who have had a sexual relationship with the respondent and resided with the respondent for at least 90 days within 1 year before the filing of the petition;
  3. Persons “related to the respondent by blood, marriage, or adoption;”
  4. A person who is “a parent, stepparent, child, or stepchild of the respondent or the person eligible for relief who resides or resided with the respondent or person eligible for relief for at least 90 days within 1 year before the filing of the petition;”
  5. Persons who are considered a “vulnerable adult”;
  6. Persons who have a child in common; and
  7. Persons who have had a sexual relationship within 1 year before filing the petition.9

Removal Process

A respondent ordered to surrender any firearm in his or her possession must surrender to law enforcement.10 The respondent to a temporary or final domestic violence protective order may transport a firearm if the respondent is carrying a protective order requiring the surrender of the firearm and:

  1. the firearm is unloaded;
  2. the respondent has notified the law enforcement unit, barracks, or station that the firearm is being transported in accordance with the protective order; and
  3. the respondent transports the firearm directly to the law enforcement unit, barracks, or station.11

Penalties for Violation

Violation of a temporary or final domestic violence protective order may result in criminal prosecution and imprisonment, or a fine, or both12. Violation of a temporary or final domestic violence protective order may also result in a finding of contempt13. Noncompliance with the relief granted in a temporary or final domestic violence protective order is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days imprisonment, up to a $1,000 fine, or both for the first offense and up to 1 year, up to $2,500, or both for any subsequent offenses.14

Return of Firearms to Respondents

Law enforcement shall provide a respondent who surrenders a firearm information on the process for retaking possession of the firearm15. Respondents may retake possession of firearms at the expiration of a temporary protective order if they are not ordered to surrender their firearm pursuant to a final protective order and if they are otherwise legally entitled to own or possess the firearm16. Respondents may retake possession of firearms at the expiration of a final protective order if their final protective order is not extended and if they are otherwise legally entitled to own or possess the firearm17.

This page was updated February 25, 2020. Please note that data used are the most recent available data.