PROHIBITED PERSONS

FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS CERTAIN PERSONS FROM PURCHASING OR POSSESSING FIREARMS, 

such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness. In Maryland, the Secretary of the Maryland State Police must deny a transfer of a regulated firearm when the prospective purchaser, lessee, or transferee:

  • Has been convicted of a crime of violence;

  • Has been convicted of any Maryland-classified felony;

  • Has been convicted of conspiracy to commit a felony;

  • Has been convicted of a common-law crime for which the person received a term of imprisonment for more than two years;

  • Has been convicted of any Maryland-classified misdemeanor that carries a statutory penalty of more than two years;

  • Is a fugitive from justice;

  • Is a habitual drunkard;

  • Is an addict or habitual user of any controlled dangerous substance;

  • Is suffering from a mental disorder and has a history of violent behavior, unless the purchaser, lessee, or transferee possesses a physician’s certificate stating that he or she is capable of possessing a regulated firearm without undue danger to himself, herself or others;

  • Has been confined for more than 30 consecutive days to a facility unless the purchaser, lessee, or transferee possesses a physician’s certificate stating that he or she is capable of possessing a regulated firearm without undue danger to himself, herself or others;

  • Is visibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

  • Is under 21 years of age; · Is a participant in a “straw purchase;”

  • Is subject to a “non-ex parte civil protective order;”

  • If under the age of 30 years at the time of the transaction, has been adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would be a disqualifying crime if committed by an adult; or

  • Has not completed a certified firearms safety training course, required to obtain a regulated firearm.


The prohibited categories for possession of a regulated firearm in Maryland are substantially similar to those prohibiting transfers, but do not include prohibitions for being “visibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs” or “a participant in a straw purchase,” and completing a certified firearms safety training course is not required. Moreover, the possession prohibitions include different, more expansive mental health restrictions, including any person who:

  • Suffers from a mental disorder and has a history of violent behavior against himself, herself or another person (this prohibition does not contain the physician certificate exception);

  • Has been found incompetent to stand trial;

  • Has been found “not criminally responsible;”

  • Has been voluntarily admitted for more than 30 consecutive days to a mental health facility;

  • Has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility; or

  • Is under the protection of a guardian appointed by a court under Maryland law, except for cases in which the appointment of a guardian is solely a result of a physical disability.


Maryland explicitly prohibits any person from possessing a regulated firearm or a standard rifle or shotgun if that person: · Has been convicted of a crime of violence;

  • Has been convicted of specified crimes related to controlled substances under Maryland law;

  • Has been convicted of an offense under the laws of another state or the United States that would constitute a “crime of violence” or one of the controlled substance-related crimes listed above if committed in Maryland;

  • Has been convicted of a disqualifying crime;

  • Has been convicted of a violation classified as a crime under common law and received a term of imprisonment of more than two years;

  • Is a fugitive from justice;

  • Is a habitual drunkard;

  • Is addicted to or a habitual user of a controlled dangerous substance;

  • Suffers from a mental disorder as defined by state law and has a history of violent behavior against himself, herself, or another person;

  • Has been found incompetent to stand trial under state law;

  • Has been found “not criminally responsible” under state law;

  • Has been voluntarily admitted for more than 30 consecutive days to a mental health facility as defined under state law;

  • Has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility as defined under state law;

  • Is under the protection of a guardian appointed by a court, except for cases in which the appointment of a guardian is solely as a result of a physical disability;

  • Is a respondent against whom: 1) a current non-ex parte civil protective order has been entered, or 2) an order for protection has been issued by a court of another state or a Native American tribe and is in effect; or

  • If under age 30 at the time of possession, has been adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would be a disqualifying crime if committed by an adult.