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Maryland Assault Weapon Laws
This is a brief outline of the various laws governing assault pistols and machine guns in Maryland. For answers to specific questions, or for help with a gun charge in Maryland, please contact a Maryland gun lawyer here.
- Deadly Weapons, Generally
- Bulletproof Armor
- Unlawful Target Practice
- Using a Firearm or Antique Firearm in a Commission of a Crime
- Possession of a Firearm at a Public Demonstration
- Assault Pistols
- Machine Guns
Assault pistols and machine guns are heavily regulated weapons that are prohibited in almost all situations and are accompanied with heavy penalties for violating these laws.
Assault Pistols Sections 4-301 through 4-306
Definitions: Section 4-301
An assault pistol is defined as one of the following firearms or a copy of one of the following firearms:
- AA Arms AP-9 semiautomatic pistol
- Bushmaster semiautomatic pistol
- Claridge HI-TEC semiautomatic pistol
- D Max Industries semiautomatic pistol
- Encom MK-IV, MP-9, or MP 45 semiautomatic pistol
- Hecklet and Kock semiautomatic SP-89 pistol
- Holmes MP-83 semiautomatic pistol
- Ingram MAC 10/11 semiautomatic pistol and variations (including the Partisan Avenger and the SWD Cobray)
- Intrac TEC-9/DC-9 semiautomatic pistol that is any centerfire variation;
- P.A.W.S. type semiautomatic pistol
- Skorpion semiautomatic pistol
- Spectre double action semiautomatic pistol (i.e., Sile, F.I.E., Mitchell)
- UZI semiautomatic pistol
- Weaver Arms semiautomatic Nighthawk pistol, or
- Wilkinson semiautomatic “Linda” pistol
Generally Section 4-303
It is illegal for a person to (1) transport an assault pistol into Maryland or (2) possess, transfer, purchase, sell, offer to sell, or receive an assault pistol. Section 4-303(a).
This does not apply to individuals who lawfully possessed an assault pistol before June 1, 1994, and who registered the assault pistol before August 1, 1994. Section 4-303(b)(1). It also does not apply to individuals who are transporting an assault pistol directly to law enforcement as a result of a court order to surrender the weapon if the weapon is unloaded and secured. Section 4-303(b)(2).
If an individual violates this section, then the individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Section 4-306(a).
If a person uses an assault pistol, or a magazine capable of holding more than 20 rounds of ammunition, in the commission of a crime of violence or any felony, then that person is guilty of a separate, distinct misdemeanor punishable by five to 20 years in prison in addition to penalties from the primary crime. Section 4-306(b)(2).
If a person has a prior conviction for using an assault pistol or a magazine with a capacity of more than 20 rounds while committing a crime of violence or a felony, and that person violates this section again, then that individual faces 10 to 20 years in prison in addition to the penalties of the primary crime. Section 4-306(b)(3).
Machine Guns Sections 4-401 through 4-405
For the purposes of these sections on Machine Guns, a crime of violence is defined in Section 4-401(b) as:
- Murder (in any degree)
- Rape (in any degree)
- Assault in the first degree
- Burglary (in any degree)
- Escape in the first degree
A machine gun is defined in Section 4-401(c) as any loaded or unloaded weapon capable of discharging more than one shot or mullet from a magazine automatically by a single pull of the trigger.
Possession or Use of a Machine Gun for Offensive or Aggressive Purpose
If a machine gun is present in a room, boat, or vehicle, it is considered evidence of possession or use of the machine gun by each and every person occupying the room, boat, or vehicle. Section 4-402(a). Under Section 4-402(b), possession or use of a machine gun is permissible under any of the following circumstances:
- The possession of a machine gun for a scientific purpose
- Manufacturing, selling, and transporting machine guns for or to a military force or peace officer of a state, a political subdivision of a state, or the United States
- The possession of a machine gun that cannot be fired and is kept merely as a keepsake, curiosity, or ornament
- The possession of a machine gun for a purpose that is manifestly not aggressive or offense (i.e., testing ammunition for lawful purposes)
- The transportation of a lawfully possessed machine gun by a person who has a court order mandating the surrender of the machine gun when:
- The machine gun is unloaded and secured, the person has notified the appropriate law enforcement that the machine gun is being transported in accordance with the court order, and the person transports the weapon directly to the appropriate law enforcement unit, barracks, or station.
Under Section 4-405(a), possession or use of a machine gun is presumed to be for an offensive or aggressive purpose when:
- The machine gun is on premises that is not owned or rented for permanent residence or business occupancy by the person who is possessing the machine gun,
- The machine gun is in possession of, or used by, and unnaturalized foreign-born person, a person with a prior conviction for a crime of violence (in any jurisdiction), or the machine gun is not registered (details on registration found in Section 4-403), or
- The machine gun has empty or loaded shells that are susceptible of being used or have been used in the machine gun in the immediate vicinity of the weapon.
If a person possesses or uses a machine gun for an offensive or aggressive purpose, then that person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Section 4-405(c).
Use of Machine Gun in a Crime of Violence Section 4-404
It is illegal for any person to (1) use or possess a machine gun (2) while committing or attempting to commit any crime of violence (see definitions above for list of what constitutes a crime of violence). Section 4-404(a). If an individual uses a machine gun in a crime of violence, then that individual is guilty of a felony (distinct and separate of the primary crime) and faces penalties of a felony conviction with up to 20 years in prison. Section 4-404(b).
How a Maryland Assault Weapon Lawyer Can Help
Unlike some other types of firearms and weapons, assault pistols and machine guns are heavily restricted. In fact, they are prohibited except in very specific circumstances proscribed by the law. In addition, the penalties for violating these statutes can be severe. If you are charged with an assault weapon offense, please contact a Maryland assault weapon lawyer today.