Prosecution of Gun Offenses in Maryland
A person can be charged with gun offenses if they are unlawfully possessing, carrying, or using firearms in Maryland. Prosecutors take gun cases very seriously. It is essential that if someone is facing prosecution of gun offenses in Maryland, that they consult an experienced attorney right away.
Strict Gun Laws
Maryland gun laws would be considered more strict as compared to other places in the United States because there has been a trend in other states to allow people to wear and carry their guns under any circumstance. Maryland has not followed that trend, –and it is still illegal to transport a handgun in Maryland unless a person falls under some very, very specific exceptions. In order to wear or carry concealed, an individual has to apply with the state. And so, Maryland is bucking that trend of making it easier to possess or carry a gun.
Prosecutors Treat Gun Offenses
Prosecutors are aggressive when it comes to handling gun cases. It is not unusual for prosecutors to attempt to have someone sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentences, specifically down on the lower eastern shore. There are several countries that have partnered up with the federal attorney general’s office of the United States, and they collaborate in a way so that the county prosecutor is able to ask the federal prosecutor to take over prosecution of gun offenses in Maryland. It’s more likely in a situation in which the defendant has previously been convicted of something like this or is also suspected of being very involved in either the illegal distribution of firearms or drug distribution. If the person is considered to be kind of a high-level player in drug distribution, then it’s possible that the prosecutor’s office would ask that their case specifically is taken by the federal prosecutor’s office.
The rationale behind involving the federal law is that when someone is convicted under the federal system, there is either no chance of any type of parole or that person’s opportunities for parole are extremely limited. So, when someone receives a sentence in Federal Court, they are receiving a day-for-day sentence. That’s different than the state system in which there are much more lenient rules regarding parole and a person is likely to serve just a fraction of their sentence versus serving their sentence day-for-day as it was imposed.
The other issue with the federal process is that when people are imprisoned in the federal system, they are typically removed from the state of Maryland. So, that person that is sentenced would truly be removed from their community and would be taken to a place where it’s just highly unlikely that they are going to be able to continue to associate with the same group of people with whom they were collaborating on drug distributions or firearms sales.
In the same way, when there is an upturn in violent crime or an upturn in homicides and shootings within an area, then the prosecutor’s office gets that much more aggressive about prosecuting those types of crimes. In areas that have seen an increase in gang violence, whether it’s a legitimate gang that is actually a nationwide group or groups of young people who are gathering up and behaving as if they are some sort of gang, there certainly has been an increase in prosecution of gun offenses in Maryland.
Unfortunately, when it comes to gangs there is a correlation between their actions, the type of illegal things that they do, and the fact that they do that, often times, with guns. In that scenario, the prosecutor’s office has gotten very aggressive in prosecuting any crimes that seem to be gang-related and certainly are pursuing the gun charges that might be associated with that crime.