Maryland’s gun laws are about to undergo a significant transformation. Democratic Governor Wes Moore recently signed into law two measures that establish stricter guidelines on gun ownership and carrying.
The Gun Safety Act of 2023, which sparked strong debate among lawmakers, places stricter regulations on who can carry firearms and where they can do so. The new law expressly prohibits carrying firearms in public spaces, such as “schools, hospitals, libraries, synagogues, churches, mosques, parks, and restaurants.” Basically, anywhere the public is gathering.
About 114,000 Marylanders can wear and carry a firearm in public.
Supporters say the law is necessary to reduce instances of violence in public spaces and increase public safety overall. Critics argue that it infringes upon the Second Amendment rights of gun owners and may prevent individuals from exercising their right to self-defense. The legislation was passed along party lines, with Democrats endorsing the bill as a means to curb gun violence, and Republicans arguing that it unfairly targets law-abiding gun owners.
These restrictions have implications for Ocean City, Maryland residents. The popular boardwalk and the bars and restaurants that line the city’s coastline fall under the places where carrying a firearm is now prohibited.
The law goes into effect on Oct. 1.
The state affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the Maryland State Rifle & Pistol Association, National Rifle Association has sued Gov. Moore over the signing of the bill and other gun safety measures. The organization said in the federal lawsuit that the law is unconstitutional.
Moore also signed into law a bill that will limit who can get a license to carry a concealed gun. The public safety gun law establishes clear guidelines on who can obtain a license to carry a concealed gun. The bill adds more stringent requirements for licensure, with a specific focus on the applicant’s mental health status and criminal history.
Starting Oct. 1, a concealed carry license will be denied to:
- People on supervised probation after being convicted of a crime with a penalty of more than one year in prison
- People caught driving while impaired (DWI) or under the influence (DUI)
- Those who violate a protective order
- People with a mental illness who have a history of violent behavior
- People who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for more than one month
- People subject to a protective order
The law also increases the criminal penalty for illegally carrying a gun from three to five years.
The move could significantly limit the number of concealed carry permits in Maryand, including Ocean City. However, proponents argue that these steps are necessary for public safety, especially in populated areas where the risk of gun-related incidents is higher.
If you are facing charges over gun control and possession, an Ocean City gun charges lawyer can help. The attorneys at Maronick Law LLC have experience with Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh gun matters.
Maronick Law LLC is open during the pandemic and continues to meet your legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact the law office at 410-881-4022 or via our website for a free consultation.