Handgun Offenses

The State of Maryland in among the strictest State’s in the Country when it comes to handgun possession. In many States there are what is known as “shall issue laws”. This means that as long as the person does not have a criminal record or is otherwise disqualified such as by have mental illness or being a habitual drug user, the State is required to issue the person a concealed carry permit for a handgun. In a few States, a permit is not even required to carried a concealed weapon. This is not the case in Maryland. In Maryland it is extremely difficult to obtain a concealed carry permit and there are harsh penalties for those caught carrying a handgun without one. Moreover, carrying or illegally possessing a handgun is not limited to situations where the weapon is physically in a person’s possession. It is also illegal to transport a handgun in a motor vehicle without a concealed carry permit.

It can also be illegal to possess a handgun or a regulated weapon even in one’s own home if the person has been previously convicted of a disqualifying crime. This is an area of considerable misunderstanding by the public. Most people believe that only FELONY convictions disqualify a person from handgun possession. This is incorrect. Under Maryland law a person is disqualified from possessing a handgun if that person is convicted of a felony, a crime of violence or a statutory misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of more than 2 years. Depending on the specific crime that the person has been convicted of, the statute carries with it a mandatory penalty of five years in prison that may not be suspended and must be served without parole. There is also considerable confusion among many people as to the meaning of the term “possess”. Many people believe that the word possess means to own; it does not. Merely picking up a gun and holding it for seconds, amounts to possession under Maryland Law. Indeed, in Baltimore County, police have recently been charging people with illegally possessing a handgun after being convicted of a disqualifying crime for simply renting a handgun at a gun range even though the weapon never left the property of the range. People have also been successfully prosecuted for illegally possessing a handgun for simply being in close proximity to a handgun such as being a passenger in a motor vehicle where a handgun is recovered by the police

Once again, it obviously goes without saying that it is imperative for someone who is charged with a handgun offense to immediately retain an aggressive and experienced criminal defense team to defend them. The STSW Criminal Defense Team has collectively successfully defended hundreds of clients who have been charged with handgun offenses over the past two decades. It is not an exaggeration to say that your choice of attorneys in a case such as this can be the difference between going home and spending the next five years in prison.