A Primer on Maryland Concealed Carry Laws
Maryland concealed carry laws give the state a reputation that rivals even California’s strict firearm policies, specifically with four words echoed skeptically within the Second Amendment community: good and substantial reason.
It is illegal to carry a firearm in Maryland without the state’s permit, and among other qualifying criteria, providing a “good and substantial reason” is a requirement before being issued one.
Applying for that permit is a straightforward process. Qualifying, however, is the real puzzle.
Applying for a Maryland Wear and Carry Permit
The Maryland wear and carry permit application, which is available online, will only be accepted by the Maryland State Police Licensing Division if the PDF is completed electronically and then printed — no handwritten applications will be accepted.
The applicant must submit all relevant and necessary documentation (there is no such thing as too much documentation in this state) with the application when they mail it to the Licensing Division.
Fingerprints, which have a separate fee from the application itself, must be taken at an approved Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services location. Include the receipt from that transaction within the application packet, and throw in two 2x2 color passport style photos.
There are a few qualifying categories that will bar an applicant from receiving a permit:
- Felony convictions.
- Misdemeanor convictions resulting in imprisonment for more than a year.
- Criminal offense convictions that resulted in more than 2 years of incarceration.
- Convictions related to controlled dangerous substances.
- There are restrictions for those who are currently alcoholics or addicted to or habitually using controlled dangerous substances, unless under medical direction.
- A personal history of violence or instability that would indicate others would be in danger if the applicant possessed a handgun
- Not having a good and substantial reason to wear, carry or transport a handgun.
- Not having conducted a Maryland State Police approved firearms training course prior to submitting the original or renewal application.
Maryland requires a 16 hour training course before submitting the initial application and an eight hour course within two years prior to submitting a renewal application, which must be done within 90 days of expiration. They do not send a reminder to reapply.
All course instructors are approved by the state, and listed in a public directory of qualified handgun instructors in Maryland.
Maryland is a may-issue state, which is really where the “good and substantial reason” clause comes into play.
The “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun is often proven with documentation of “recent threats, robberies, and/or assaults, supported by official police reports or notarized statements from witnesses,” according to the wear and carry permit application.
Again, if there is documentation to back up the claim that a permit is needed, include it. The Licensing Division alots 90 days for processing the application packet and included documentation.
Business owners and employees applying for a permit need to submit photocopies of a traders license or business license, and there are specific requirements listed on the application for permits regarding “making deposits, cash flow or requesting a permit for one of your employees, or if you are an employee and you have permission from your employer to obtain a permit.”
There is also documentation required for professional activities (doctors, pharmacies and the like), correctional officers, former police officers, private detectives, security guards and special police.
The fee for an initial application is $75 and any subsequent and renewal applications are $50. Retired police need not pay a fee.
Given that Maryland honors the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, there is a separate class of handgun permit with a separate application for Maryland’s LEOSA identification card. The LEOSA card application will require a front and back photocopy of the Maryland Department of State Police separated/retiree photo ID card, a photocopy of the Maryland or out-of-state-driver’s license, a copy of the printed receipt from a successful eMDSP LEOSA application submission and forms 29-40c, 29-40d and 29-40e.
If the application is approved, it expires on the last day of the permit holder’s birth month two years after it’s issued. Each renewal will last three years.
If denied, the applicant may request a review from the Handgun Permit Review Board and attempt to appeal the decision, according to Md. PUBLIC SAFETY Code Ann. § 5-312. Additional evidence and documentation of need may be presented.
Given that per statute, the Secretary is afforded the right to “limit the geographic area, circumstances, or times of the day, week, month, or year in which a permit is effective,” there are a few locations where firearms are prohibited.
Maryland Concealed Carry Laws Prohibit Firearms in Certain Locations
Given the complex influence Maryland concealed carry laws have, the state has designated a number of areas where firearms are prohibited.
According to Maryland State Police, do not carry a firearm within the following locations:
- Child care centers, with an exception for small centers in residences
- Community adult rehabilitation centers
- State highway rest areas
- State parks
- State forests
- Chesapeake forest lands
- State buildings and grounds
- Dredge boats
- Lodging establishments wherein the innkeeper reasonably believes individuals possess property that may be dangerous to others
- Aircrafts “engaged in air commerce services”
- Legislative buildings
- Within 1,000 feet of a demonstration in a public place
- On school property
That is by no means an exhaustive list, nor is any of this a completely exhaustive guide or legal advice. Be sure to research any other state and federally prohibited areas and restrictions.
Those traveling within or through the state with a firearm should also note that there specific restrictions upon them as well.
Maryland Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Out-of-state visitors will find Maryland concealed carry reciprocity agreements to be, well, nonexistent.
About half of the country recognizes a valid Maryland wear and carry permit, however, so those traveling from Maryland with their permit should find decent coverage.
The specific states who recognize Maryland’s concealed carry permit can and will change, so be sure to stay up to date with a CCW reciprocity map.
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About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.