Maryland

Get Help

If you are a victim and your abuser has a gun or you feel unsafe for other reasons, it is important to work with a victim advocate. The following organizations can help you find an advocate free of charge:

It is also helpful to have a lawyer assist you, particularly when you are seeking a protective order. You can find a lawyer using the Maryland Bar’s website. If you cannot afford a lawyer, contact Maryland Legal Aid. House of Ruth also has lawyers on staff.



How to Get Protection

What kind of domestic violence protective orders are available in Maryland?

Maryland courts can issue four types of domestic violence protective orders. In three of these orders, the court can help protect you from gun violence or threats of gun violence by an intimate partner:

  • Interim protective orders1*
  • Temporary protective orders2*
  • Final protective orders3*
  • Permanent final protective orders4*

Judges can prohibit some respondents* to temporary protective orders from possessing* firearms and require them to turn over their firearms to law enforcement.5 All respondents to final protective orders are prohibited from possessing firearms and must turn over their firearms to law enforcement.6

How can you get a protective order?

Click here to see if you are eligible for a protective order in Maryland.

You can find out more about how to get protection here or at WomensLaw.org.

You can find your local court here.

Court forms and Maryland’s Peace and Protective Order Guide can be found here.

What do I do if I do not qualify for protection as a victim of domestic violence, but I still need protection from someone? If you do not qualify for protection as a victim of domestic violence but need protection from someone (including a stranger, an acquaintance, or another person not covered under a domestic violence protection order), you might qualify for a peace order. You can also get a peace order if you are experiencing intimate partner violence that is not considered ‘abuse’ by the state, including harassment, revenge pornography, etc. Contact VictimConnect at (855) 484-2846 or a lawyer for more information. You can find a lawyer using the Maryland Bar’s website. If you cannot afford a lawyer, contact Maryland Legal Aid.

How can the court help protect you?

In Maryland, courts can prohibit respondents* to temporary protective orders from possessing* firearms and require them to turn over their firearms to law enforcement in certain cases.7

All respondents to final protective orders are prohibited from possessing firearms and are required to turn over their firearms to law enforcement.8 At the petitioner’s request, sometimes courts provide additional protections from gun violence, such as:

  • Prohibiting the respondent from purchasing firearms;
  • Ordering law enforcement to retrieve the respondent’s firearms if the respondent does not turn them in;
  • Requiring the respondent to appear before the court to self-report turning over his/her/their firearms as ordered;
  • Directing law enforcement to follow up with the respondent to make sure the respondent turned over their guns as ordered;
  • Scheduling a follow up compliance hearing* to ensure that the respondent has not accessed additional firearms since the order was issued;
  • Ordering law enforcement to go to your home at scheduled times to check in on your safety;
  • If the guns are shared marital property, the court can order the sale of the guns and divide the money between you;
  • Ordering the respondent to stay away from you, your children, your family, and anyone else in immediate danger, based on the threats and/or actions of the respondent;
  • Ordering the respondent not to hurt you or threaten to hurt you in the future;
  • Anything else you need to be safe.

How will the court know what you need to protect you from the respondent’s firearms violence?

In your petition* and during any of the hearings* you participate in when you are seeking protection, you will have the opportunity to tell the court about the respondent’s* threats or acts of abuse, especially ones involving firearms. Every situation is different, and it is important to talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. You can find a lawyer using the Maryland Bar’s website. If you cannot afford a lawyer, contact Maryland Legal Aid.

Your story will help the court decide what relief* to give you. Whether you are filling out court forms or speaking directly to the court, it is important to tell the court about the violence you experienced (working with a lawyer, if you have one), especially if the respondent used or threatened to use a firearm against you, a member of your family, any member of the community, or your pet. Among other things, this may include telling the court:

  • About incidents of physical violence or threats of physical violence and include dates wherever you can;
  • How the respondent used firearms to hurt or threaten you, your family, your pet(s), or anyone in the community;
  • If you fear that the respondent may use firearms violence or threats of firearms violence in the future;
  • If the respondent has threatened to harm him/her/themself. This may be a sign that the respondent intends to use a dangerous weapon like a firearm against you, themself, or other people;
  • If you can, the type(s), number, and location of firearms the respondent has access to.

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