If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?
Maryland state law says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he:
- has been convicted of a "disqualifying crime;"1
- has been convicted of certain drug related offenses in Maryland or elsewhere, listed in section 5-133(c)(1)(ii);2
- has been convicted of a “crime of violence” in Maryland or elsewhere. “Crimes of violence” include any of the following crimes or an attempt to commit any of them:
- arson in the first degree;
- assault in the first or second degree;
- burglary in the first, second, or third degree;
- carjacking and armed carjacking;
- escape in the first degree;
- voluntary manslaughter;
- murder in the first or second degree;
- rape in the first or second degree;
- robbery with a dangerous weapon;
- sexual offense in the first, second, or third degree;
- home invasion; and
- assault with intent to commit any of the above crimes or a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year;3
- has been convicted of a violation classified as a common law crime and was sentenced to prison for more than two years;
- is under the age of 30 and s/he has been found "delinquent" by a juvenile court for an act that would be a disqualifying crime if committed by an adult;
- is a fugitive from justice; or
- has been found guilty of driving while intoxicated three times, one of which must have been within the last year.4
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict a person's right to have a gun under certain circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 MD Code, Public Safety §§ 5-133(b)(1); 5-101(b-1)
2 MD Code, Public Safety § 5-133(c)(1)(ii)
3 MD Code, Public Safety §§ 5-133(c)(1)(i); 5-101(c)
4 MD Code, Public Safety §§ 5-133(b); 5-101(l)
How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?
Misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access. If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.
Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so
To read more about the NICS, please see What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?