In Maryland, those who have been convicted of a “disqualifying crime” may not possess a statutorily defined “regulated firearm.” “Disqualifying crimes” include violent crimes, felonies and misdemeanors with statutory penalties of more than two years. However, after serving the sentence, a person who has been convicted of a “disqualifying crime” may pursue a pardon in order to regain the right to possess a firearm.
A pardon serves as proof that the convicted felon has adjusted back to society after serving the sentence. Therefore, people cannot apply for a pardon if they are still incarcerated. To be pardoned for a misdemeanor crime, a person must not commit any crimes for five years from either the date of sentence, release from prison or release from parole, whichever occurred last.
In general, to be pardoned for a felony crime, a person must not commit any crimes for 10 years from either the date of sentence, release from prison or release from parole, whichever occurred last. However, the Parole Commission reserves the right to consider cases for parole in these circumstances after seven years have gone by. Also, if a person was convicted of a statutorily defined crime of violence or crimes involving controlled dangerous substances, that person must not have committed a crime for 20 years before a pardon can be granted. However, the Parole Commission reserves the right to consider cases for parole under these circumstances after 15 years have gone by.
Keep in mind that a pardon does not remove the conviction from a person’s criminal record. To do that, a person will need to obtain an expungement. Also, there may be federal laws that apply to certain cases that would prohibit the convicted person from owning a firearm, despite Maryland laws on the topic. However, for some people, a successful pardon will restore their right to possess a firearm.