Posted On: August 30, 2012

Maryland Officials Seek to Tighten Up Maryland Gun-Buying Laws

MD Gun LawLaw enforcement and court officials in Maryland are looking at ways to enforce the state’s gun-purchasing laws more strictly, after reports of individuals whose records should not have allowed them to buy a gun in Maryland were able to do so nonetheless.

The most recent case to come under scrutiny involves a man in Prince George’s County who, despite a mental health treatment background that should have barred him from gun purchases, was found to have been “passed” through a background check and thus purchased over a dozen firearms.

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Posted On: August 28, 2012

Maryland Removes Petitioners’ Names from Protective, Peace Orders

MD Protective Orders ChangeThe Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) recently announced that the state’s online Judiciary Case Search database will soon omit the names of petitioners who have filed requests for protective orders and peace orders. The GOCCP noted that privacy concerns have led to the change.

The reasoning for the change is based on Maryland Rule 16-1008(3)(B)(i), which states that custodians of judicial records “shall prevent remote access to the name” and other identifying information of a “victim or witness” to a criminal case, a juvenile delinquency case, or a protective order or peace order. The Office of the Administration of Courts (AOC) recently determined that this section of the rule includes the name and other contact information of petitioners who file for protective orders.

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Posted On: August 23, 2012

Understanding Maryland Firearm Laws and Children

Maryland has several laws that apply to firearms, especially when firearms are carried, used, or stored around children. Violating some of these laws, even unintentionally, may result in a criminal charge.

Maryland Weapons Crimes law states that “A person may not carry or possess a firearm, knife, or deadly weapon on public school property.” A person convicted of violating this law may face up to three years in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. Some exceptions exist, however, including exceptions for police officers, security guards hired by the school district, and persons who have written permission from the school to show a weapon as part of a historical or other educational lesson.

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Posted On: August 21, 2012

Anne Arundel, Annapolis Police Work Together to Prevent Car Thefts

Thefts from vehicles are often simply a matter of opportunity: items left in unlocked vehicles are easy to remove from the car. In order to cut down on the number of thefts from motor vehicles in and around Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, police from both jurisdictions are reminding motorists to guard their possessions more carefully.

MD Car Theft ArrestAs part of a program aimed at community education, police officers have begun patrolling parking lots in Annapolis and other areas in Anne Arundel County, peering into vehicles and checking door handles to see whether valuables are in easy reach for thieves. If they are, or if the vehicle is not locked, police will attempt to contact the vehicle’s owner to remind them that hiding valuables and locking the car is an easy to way to deter theft.

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Posted On: August 14, 2012

Prince George’s County Sees Crime Rates Drop

Maryland Crime RateCrime rates in Maryland counties fluctuate, but a general trend can often be picked out. This is true in Prince George’s County for the past two years, in which crime rates have dropped overall.

According to the Prince George’s County Police Department, the number of crimes in seven major categories was lower in August 2011 than in August 2010. Decreases were highest in the category of “violent crimes,” which includes homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. For instance, between August 2010 and August 2011, Prince George’s County saw a drop of 37.5 percent in homicides, from 16 deaths in 2010 to 10 in 2011. Robberies decreased 26.3 percent, and aggravated assault cases dropped 19.5 percent.

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Posted On: August 10, 2012

What Happens If I Refuse to Take a DUI Breath Test in Maryland?

MD Breath Test LawsDuring a traffic stop, a Maryland police officer may ask a driver to take a chemical breath test to check the level of alcohol, if any, in the driver’s system. Understanding Maryland’s chemical test refusal laws can help you protect yourself if you’re ever pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

Maryland has an “implied consent law,” which means that, if you have a valid Maryland driver’s license, there is an assumption that you have given your consent to submit an alcohol breath test should a police officer who suspects that you are operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs ask you to do so. If you refuse the test, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) may suspend your driver’s license for up to 120 days – even if you go to Court and are found not guilty of DUI at trial.

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Posted On: August 8, 2012

Federal Court Delays Loosening of Maryland’s Gun Laws

Maryland Gun Law LegislationIn March 2012, a U.S. District Court judge in Maryland found that the state’s concealed-carry laws, which allowed police units to allow or deny concealed pistol licenses based on their discretion, was an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment. As a result of the ruling and a separate directive, new gun laws in Maryland were scheduled to go into effect this summer, however the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has issued a stay, keeping Maryland’s current law in place while the case is appealed.

Currently, Maryland law requires those who apply for concealed-carry permits to pass a background check and to demonstrate that they have a “good and substantial reason” to carry a concealed handgun. Whether the reason is sufficiently “good and substantial” is left up to the police department handling the application.

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