Section 4-203 of Maryland’s criminal law – firearms transportation laws.
by Baltimore firearms possession defense attorney Brandon Mead.
It is hard to argue that Maryland’s jurisdiction is one with some stringent laws on transporting firearms. The need for owners to have a legitimate need when transporting them, coupled with transportation provisions, is somewhat confusing. Suffice to say; it is legal to transport firearms and to an extent illegal. Therefore, legal issues arise during the transportation process, and you might find yourself facing trial in court.
Here is what you need to know about transporting firearms in Maryland.
Maryland Gun Laws
Section 4-203 of Maryland’s criminal law makes it illegal to wear, carry or transport a handgun regardless of whether it is concealed or in the open. However, there are exceptions relating to transporting firearms, which, as provided in section 4-203 of the statute, allow individuals to transport them. Those exceptions among others include:
- Transporting a gun to or from a legal purchase or sale
- Bona fide gun collectors provided it is unloaded and enclosed
- If you are transporting a gun for organized military activities:
- Target shooting
- Sporting events
- Formal or informal target practice
Otherwise, failure to meet the exceptions provided in the statute relating to firearms’ transportation is a subversion of the law, and you risk arrest.
What Amounts To Legal Transportation?
To avoid violating the law, you need to ensure that you do the following as part of the best practice:
- If you purchase a gun, ensure you go home directly.
- If you intend to go to a gun range, it is imperative to head home after doing so.
- If you are going to fire a weapon, the law provides that you must not drink or do drugs while at it. Additionally, the statute prohibits driving under the influence with a firearm in the vehicle.
An important fact to note is that the law requires that Maryland gun owners keep receipts to show where they are coming from. Also. If you intend to use public means, you need to be aware of the prohibitions regarding the transportation of firearms in public transport. It is unlawful!
How To Legally Transport Firearms
The safety of both the gun owner and the firearm is paramount. Therefore, measures to ensure you comply with the regulations regarding transportation include:
Ensure you store the firearm in a compartment. In such a case, you should store the firearms separately from the ammunition. If you intend to put it in a trunk, ensure that the truck has a safe or locked box for storage. Essentially, you should store it away from any individual’s reach in the vehicle. This prevents intruders or anyone from accessing it while driving.
A previously convicted felon is not qualified to transport firearms. If found to be transporting firearms unlawfully, such persons are prosecuted based on the violation of the law relating to transporting firearms and by virtue of being disqualified from doing so.
Out- of- State Residents
The law in Maryland is not relaxed even on out-of-state residents. The majority of persons found to be transporting firearms are usually residents from other states. Often, their firearms laws in their states are reasonable; thus, they go by the assumption that they can invoke a permit in other states where necessary. However, in Maryland, conceal licensing permits are distinct from other states. Therefore, it is hard for them to evade arrests when found transporting firearms.
Tough criminal sanctions back the stringent laws. Therefore, offenders might find themselves facing criminal convictions with a minimum mandatory jail sentence of thirty days and a maximum sentence of up to 3 years.
However, those persons with previous convictions under section 4-203 are subject to imprisonment for not less than one year or not exceeding ten years.
If you have been arrested and charged with unlawful transportation of firearms, it is imperative to contact a Baltimore firearms defense attorney. This will help you reduce the charges, avoid huge fines and imprisonment on your record. Call us today at (410) 727-6400 for a free consultation.