Gun Use in Somerset County
There are a variety of reasons that a person might own or use a gun in Somerset County, Maryland. Because gun regulations in Maryland are very strict, gun users can often end up with criminal gun charges, sometimes for activities they did not realize were illegal. Anytime someone is facing a criminal charge for gun use in Somerset County they should consult with a gun lawyer about potential defenses.
Hunting in Somerset County
There are a great number of residents of the lower Eastern Shore, including Somerset County, who hunt. It is a major part of the lifestyle and culture of the lower Eastern Shore and so it is not at all unusual for Somerset County residents to be hunters. Private land in Somerset County is often set aside just for purposes of hunting. People belong to hunt clubs or landowners set aside a pretty significant amount of their land and invite people to come down and use it for hunting purposes.
It is also not unusual for visitors to come to Somerset County for the sole purpose of a hunting trip. This takes place almost all year long—in the fall, the winter, and the spring. At any time, there is typically some sort of hunting season for some sort of animal.
Transporting Firearms Through the Area
If people are transporting their firearms through Somerset County and they do not realize that the laws are different in Maryland, they may still be charged with a criminal offense while conducting behavior that is completely legal in their state of origin. That happens pretty frequently because, in some of Maryland’s neighboring states, an individual can wear and carry a handgun and they do not need to get a separate carry-conceal permit. But in Maryland, a special permit is required to wear and carry a handgun.
Maryland also has very specific laws about transporting a firearm in a car. Under Maryland statute, wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun in general is prohibited and to do so is a crime. However, there are some very specific exceptions. For example, it is acceptable to carry a handgun either on the person or in a vehicle, if the person is transporting the handgun to a repair shop or between the person’s residences if they have more than one.
Even then that only can be done if the handgun is unloaded and is being carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster. Since that is a very specific statute with very specific elements, that could be completely different than the laws in, for example, Virginia or North Carolina. And so, unfortunately what can happen is that a non-resident, unknowingly, because they are not familiar with the laws in Maryland, illegally transports their firearm or a handgun and they end up with a Maryland gun charge.
One of the most common gun or firearm offenses in Somerset County is illegal possession of a firearm by someone under the age of 21, because in Maryland it is illegal for a person who is under the age of 21 to possess a firearm.
There are some very specific exceptions to that law, but generally speaking if someone is under the age of 21, they cannot legally possess a firearm in Maryland. Unfortunately, there is gang activity or gang-related activity taking place, not just in Somerset County, but on the lower Eastern Shore and throughout Maryland. Unfortunately, a lot of times young people under the age of 21 are caught with a gun and it can be incredibly damaging for that young person because they end up with a serious criminal record as a result of their age and as a result of possessing a firearm.