NewsIn Focus


How Maryland gun laws compare to Texas

Looking at the laws surrounding the purchasing of rifles following the massacre in Texas
Texas School Shooting
Posted at 4:48 PM, May 25, 2022

BALTIMORE — More information continues to be released by officials about the massacre at an elementary school in Texas.

19 kids and two teachers died in Uvalde, Texas after an 18-year-old brought firearms into the school.

As part of our In Focus commitment, WMAR-2 News is digging deeper and putting stories in context.

Today, that means taking a look at how Maryland's gun purchasing laws compare to Texas.

Texas code Section 46.06 deals with the "Unlawful Transfer of Certain Weapons."

In the Lone Star state, it's illegal to sell, rent or lease any firearm to anyone younger than 18 years of age, however you must be 21 years or older to get a permit for a handgun, per federal regulations.

It's also illegal to give, loan or sell a handgun to a person that the owner knows intends to use it in a crime, or if the person who wants the handgun is intoxicated.

Everytown, a gun control advocacy group, ranks Texas 34th in the country for it's 'Gun Law Strength.'

The group looks at 50 different policies types and shares whether or not a state has laws to that effect.

Texas has enacted 12 of the 50 policies on the list. These include secure storage requirement, a restriction on conceal carry for people who have committed a violent offense, a restriction on conceal carry in bars, and bars domestic abusers from getting guns when they are the subject of an emergency restraining order.

The NRA also compares state law sharing that for rifles, shotguns and handguns there are no permits to purchase, registration of firearms, licensing to owners or requirement of permit to carry in Texas.

Maryland has laws specific to rifles, in section 5-200s of it's Public Safety code. These laws specifically do not apply to to antique firearms or firearms that cannot be fired.

In Maryland, a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun must be registered with the federal government, unless the person is a member of law enforcement, the armed forces or National guard, a correctional officer or a sheriff.

One is also allowed to purchase a rifle or shotgun from a federally licensed gun dealer in Maryland if they are eligible under the laws in a neighboring state.

The state also restricts people from owning a rifle or shotgun if they've been convicted of a "disqualifying crime as defined in [section] 5-101 of this title," has been convicted of a crime and received a prison sentence of more than 2 years, is a fugitive, is a "habitual drunkard," is addicted to a CDS, suffers from a mental disorder and has a history of violent behavior against people, has been found incompetent for trial, etc.

This is all on top of the fact that Maryland law requires a person to submit a firearm application before the purchase of a regulated firearm.

To receive a license to purchase any firearm in Maryland, one must be at least 21 years old and not otherwise disqualified by restrictions.

A person is also restricted from buying more than one regulated firearm in a 30-day period, unless the person has been approved for a purchase of multiple firearms or it's for a private collection or collector series or it's a bulk purchase from an estate sale.

Maryland ranks 7th on Everytown's 'Gun Law Strength' rankings, with 38 of the 50 gun laws enacted in the state.

These include a Secure Storage requirement, like Texas, a Background Check and/or Purchase Permit requirement, a prohibition on Assault Weapons and a regulation of ghost guns, which passed in the previous legislative session.

The NRA categorizes Maryland as a 'Rights Restricted - Very Limited Issue' state and notes that handguns require permit to purchase, a registration of the firearm, a licensing of the owner and a permit to carry.

Rifles and shotguns, however, require none of these in Maryland, according to the NRA.