I do not have a protective order against the abuser, and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Can s/he have a gun?
Even if you do not have a protective order against the abuser and s/he has not been convicted of any crime, Maryland state law makes it illegal to buy or have a firearm if a person:
- is under the age of 30 and s/he has been adjudicated “delinquent” by a juvenile court for an act that would be a disqualifying crime if committed by an adult;
- is a fugitive from justice;
- is a drug addict;
- has a mental disorder and has a history of violent behavior against a person;
- has been found to be “incompetent to stand trial” or “not criminally responsible;”
- has been voluntarily admitted to a mental facility for more than 30 consecutive days or has been involuntarily committed to a facility for any period of time;
- is under the protection of a court-appointed guardian, unless the guardian is only because of a physical disability;1 or
- s/he is under age 21, although there are some exceptions, listed in section (d) of the statute.2
If any of these apply to your situation, please talk to an advocate in your area about how this law is being enforced.
If none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Safety Tips page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help. You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety. See our MD Advocates and Shelters page to find a local domestic violence organization near you.
For additional information on gun laws in Maryland, you can go to the Giffords Law Center website.
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun under other circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 MD Code, Public Safety § 5-133(b)
2 MD Code, Public Safety § 5-133(d)
I've read through all of this information, and I am still confused. What can I do?
Trying to understand both federal and state law can be confusing, but there are people out there who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.
- You can also contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the federal firearm law and how it applies to you: 1-800-903-0111, ext. 2.
- You can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area - see our MD Advocates and Shelters page.
- You can write to our Email Hotline.