Most Maryland residents may be aware of their constitutional right to bear arms. As per the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the right to bear arms is not to be infringed. However, as much as one would like to believe that there are not limitations on the right to bear arms, state and federal law both regulate it to a certain extent. There is a duty to balance the right with public concern about safety and, therefore, various rules have been enacted in order to do just that.
Firstly, the state itself regulates sale and purchase of handguns. As per Art. 27, a seven-day waiting period has been imposed before prospective gun buyers can complete their purchase. There are also provisions limiting the categories of people who may or may not own guns and also the type of firearms that can be purchased.
In addition to state regulation, there is also federal regulation. Federal regulations trump state regulations. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act is one such federal act that is applicable to Maryland residents also. According to this law, background checks must be conducted before a firearm can be purchased from someone who is a federally licensed dealer, importer or manufacturer. As per this law, it is also illegal for certain persons to ship or transport any firearm or receive any firearm that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. These limitations apply to people who have been convicted of a crime that is punishable by more than one year in prison, is addicted to a controlled substance or has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, among others.
In order to ensure that their gun possession is not violating federal or state regulations, it is important to be familiar with what the law is. If one finds themselves facing weapons charges, they should consider consulting an experienced attorney to understand their rights and how to avail them.