details of Maryland handgun transportation law
For newcomers to the forum, a more complete explanation of the Maryland law regarding transportation of a handgun may be useful. I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
There is no requirement in Maryland law that a handgun must be transported with a trigger lock, or any kind of lock, or in a locked box, or in a trunk. The requirement is simply that the handgun be unloaded and in an enclosed case or enclosed holster.
The major restriction, of course, is that unless one has a carry permit, the unloaded handgun can only be transported to and from the "approved" destinations that are listed in the statute (see below). However, this does not apply if the destination of your journey, or your point of origination, are outside of Maryland, in which case the federal transportation law (18 USC 926A) trumps the state law. The federal law is actually more restrictive with respect to the manner in which the gun must be packaged, but when the federal law applies, it renders the state list of approved destinations irrelevant. It is important not to rely on the federal law for protection unless your journey complies with the requirement that the trip cross state lines (which includes, for this purpose, the border with the District of Columbia).
There is no restriction in Maryland state law on the manner in which ammo can be transported, other than the requirement that the handgun must be unloaded. There is no state law against transporting loaded magazines, as long as they are detached from the gun. A Maryland attorney, who works in law enforcement and who is well versed on firearms cases, told me that he knew of no case law to support the notion that a loaded magazine is forbidden.
Up until a couple of years ago, a couple of state agencies had misinformation on their websites indicating that magazines were to be unloaded for transportation, but that misinformation was removed when it was pointed out to them that there was no support for those statements in state law. If anybody knows of any information still being posted or circulated by any state or local government agency that continues to suggest that loaded magazines are verboten, please call them to my attention.
I have pasted in below (as I have before) the complete text of an e-mail that was sent to another gunowner about five years ago by Mark Bowen, who was then and is now a Maryland Assistant Attorney General who specializes in firearms issues. Mr. Bowen provided a succinct summary of the requirements of the state and federal laws that govern the transportation of handguns in Maryland.
Dear Mr. _______:
Maryland law generally prohibits the wearing, carrying or transporting of handgun, loaded or unloaded, concealed or openly: 1) on or about one's person; and, 2) in a vehicle traveling on a road or parking lot generally used by the public, highway, waterway, or airway of the State.
Individuals who have been issued a permit to carry a handgun by the Maryland Department of State Police (handgun carry permits issued by other states are not effective) are exempted from this law.
The following activities are also exempted: 1) the carrying of a handgun on the person or in a vehicle while the person is transporting the handgun to or from the place of legal purchase or sale, or to or from a bona fide repair shop, or between bona fide residences of the person, or between the bona fide residence and place of business of the person, if the business is operated and owned substantially by the person if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster; 2) the wearing, carrying, or transporting by a person of a handgun used in connection with an organized military activity, a target shoot, formal or informal target practice, sport shooting event, hunting, a Department of Natural Resources-sponsored firearms and hunter safety class, trapping, or a dog obedience training class or show, while the person is engaged in, on the way to, or returning from that activity if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster; 3) the moving by a bona fide gun collector of part or all of the collector's gun collection from place to place for public or private exhibition if each handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster; 4) the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a person on real estate that the person owns or leases or where the person resides or within the confines of a business establishment that the person owns or leases; 5) the wearing, carrying, or transporting of a handgun by a supervisory employee: in the course of employment; within the confines of the business establishment in which the supervisory employee is employed; and (iii) when so authorized by the owner or manager of the business establishment.
The federal law you cite (18 USC 926A) applies to the interstate transportation of a firearm (handgun or long arm) and supersedes Maryland law. It would have no bearing on the transportation of a firearm where the origin and destination are both within Maryland. It would however allow for the transportation of a firearm through the State of Maryland regardless of the Maryland law cited above.
For purposes of the exceptions to Maryland law, a handgun may be transported within the passenger compartment of the vehicle provided it is unloaded and in an enclosed case or holster. For purposes of the federal law exception, the firearm must be unloaded and not readily accessible from the passenger compartment.
Mark H. Bowen Assistant Attorney General
(end of quotation from Mr. Bowen)