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Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2020 ‘Domestic Violence & Firearms in Maryland.’ Who Can Have a Gun. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 4 December

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Domestic Violence and Firearms in Maryland

Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants

Maryland prohibits the sale or other transfer of a "regulated firearm" (handgun or assault weapon) to, or possession of a firearm by, any person convicted of a disqualifying crime, which is defined to include:

1) a crime of violence in Maryland or another state; or
2) any Maryland-classified misdemeanor that carries a statutory penalty of more than two years.

Maryland prohibits the possession of a rifle or shotgun by a person convicted of a crime of violence in Maryland or another state. This does not include all domestic violence misdemeanors under state law.

Federal law also prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by certain domestic violence misdemeanants.

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders

In Maryland, persons named as a respondent against whom a "non ex parte civil protective order" has been issued are prohibited from possessing a handgun or assault weapon. Moreover, no person may sell, rent or transfer a handgun or assault weapon to a person who is subject to a current "non ex parte civil protective order" issued pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-506. Federal law also prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by certain domestic violence protective order defendants.

Removal or Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders Are Issued

A final domestic violence protective order issued under Maryland Code Ann., Family Law § 4-506 must order the person subject to the order to surrender to law enforcement any firearm in his or her possession, and to refrain from possession of any firearm for the duration of the protective order.

Maryland authorizes, but does not require, courts issuing temporary domestic violence protective orders to require the subject of such order to surrender all firearms in the person's possession and require that the person refrain from gun possession for the duration of the temporary order. The court may order the surrender of guns in these instances if the abuse consisted of:

- Use of a firearm by the respondent against the person to be protected;
- Threat by the respondent to use a firearm against the person to be protected;
- Serious bodily harm by the respondent to a person to be protected; or
- Threat by the respondent to cause serious bodily harm to a person to be protected.

Law enforcement receiving a firearm lawfully surrendered must transport and store the firearm safely while the protective order is in effect. Maryland law addresses the retaking of possession of the firearm at the expiration of a protective order.

Removal or Surrender of Firearms at the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident

Maryland allows a law enforcement officer responding to an alleged domestic violence incident to remove a firearm from the scene if he or she:

1) has probable cause to believe an act of domestic violence has occurred; and 2) observed the firearm on the scene during the response.

The officer must provide information to the owner regarding the process for retrieving the firearm and must provide safe storage for the firearm during any related domestic violence legal proceeding. The owner may resume possession of the firearm at the conclusion of legal proceedings related to the domestic violence incident, unless ordered by a court to surrender the weapon…

[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]

ID: Q7026

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