ghost gun laws

Understanding Maryland Ghost Gun Laws

As of 2022, ghost gun laws in Maryland require ghost guns to be formally registered with the state. This legislation was designed to make Marylanders safer, as ghost guns have been a growing problem. What are ghost guns, and what ghost gun laws do you need to follow as a Maryland firearm owner?

What Are Ghost Guns?

Ghost guns are also known as privately made firearms. These guns can be made at home using kits or through 3D printing. Because ghost guns are privately manufactured instead of through another company, they do not have serial numbers, which can make them totally untraceable. These gun kits are incredibly dangerous, as they can put guns into the hands of those who would not pass a background check, including domestic abusers and violent offenders.

Through implementing ghost gun legislation, lawmakers are taking one step towards making it harder for criminals to obtain unregistered guns. For example, one of the biggest manufacturers of ghost guns recovered in Baltimore was a company named Polymer80. This company marketed its gun kits to gun traffickers, minors, and criminals who would otherwise be unable to get guns. The city filed a lawsuit against the company in 2022 and just reached a $1.2 million settlement with the company that prevents Polymer80 from advertising or selling ghost guns in the state and requiring them to immediately cease all operations in Maryland. Thanks to these laws, municipalities are able to prosecute businesses and individuals who were previously harder to stop.

Maryland’s Ghost Gun Laws

Maryland’s ghost gun laws were put into effect on June 1, 2022, and they were designed to close the registration loophole that ghost guns previously benefitted from. Anyone who possessed non-serialized firearms, including ones that were not finished, was required to have them marked with a personal identification number before March 1, 2023. As of June 1, 2022, all new firearms that are purchased in kit form must be serialized, whether or not they are assembled.

The ghost gun laws in Maryland forbid the purchase, sale, offer to sell, or transfer of any ghost guns that do not have a serial number. If you are caught in possession of a firearm that does not have a serial number, you can be convicted of a misdemeanor and receive a $10,000 fine and/or five years of jail time. These penalties can stack on top of other potential criminal penalties, like illegal possession of a firearm.

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