Maryland, updated July 2, 2004
§ 4-101. Dangerous weapons.
(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated. (2) “Nunchaku” means a device constructed of two pieces of any substance, including wood, metal, or plastic, connected by any chain, rope, leather, or other flexible material not exceeding 24 inches in length.
(3) (i) “Pepper mace” means an aerosol propelled combination of highly disabling irritant pepper-based products.
(ii) “Pepper mace” is also known as oleoresin capsicum (o.c.) spray.
(4) “Star knife” means a device used as a throwing weapon, consisting of several sharp or pointed blades arrayed as radially disposed arms about a central disk.
(5) (i) “Weapon” includes a dirk knife, bowie knife, switchblade knife, star knife, sandclub, metal knuckles, razor, and nunchaku.
(ii) “Weapon” does not include:
1. a handgun; or
2. a penknife without a switchblade.
(b) Exceptions for certain individuals.- This section does not prohibit the following individuals from carrying a weapon:
(1) an officer of the State, or of any county or municipal corporation of the State, who is entitled or required to carry the weapon as part of the officer’s official equipment, or by any conservator of the peace, who is entitled or required to carry the weapon as part of the conservator’s official equipment, or by any officer or conservator of the peace of another state who is temporarily in this State;
(2) a special agent of a railroad;
(3) a holder of a permit to carry a handgun issued under Title 5, Subtitle 3 of the Public Safety Article; or
(4) an individual who carries the weapon as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger, subject to the right of the court in an action arising under this section to judge the reasonableness of the carrying of the weapon, and the proper occasion for carrying it, under the evidence in the case.
(1) A person may not wear or carry a dangerous weapon of any kind concealed on or about the person.
(2) A person may not wear or carry a dangerous weapon, chemical mace, pepper mace, or a tear gas device openly with the intent or purpose of injuring an individual in an unlawful manner.
(3) (i) This paragraph applies in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Caroline County, Cecil County, Harford County, Kent County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, St. Mary’s County, Talbot County, Washington County, and Worcester County.
(ii) A minor may not carry a dangerous weapon between 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise, whether concealed or not, except while:
1. on a bona fide hunting trip; or
2. engaged in or on the way to or returning from a bona fide trap shoot, sport shooting event, or any organized civic or military activity.
(1) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both.
(2) For a person convicted under subsection (c)(1) or (2) of this section, if it appears from the evidence that the weapon was carried, concealed or openly, with the deliberate purpose of injuring or killing another, the court shall impose the highest sentence of imprisonment prescribed.
[An. Code 1957, art. 27, § 36; 2002, ch. 26, § 2; ch. 213, § 6; ch. 571, § 1; 2003, ch. 17; ch. 21, § 1.]
Maryland Case Law:
– “‘Gravity knife’ constituted a dangerous or deadly weapon.”
– “Pocketknife with the blade already open did not require
any time to open the knife, as one would with a penknife,
contained all the offensive qualities of a switchblade or
gravity knife because it was instantly available for
violent use, and was not a penknife within the statutory
– “On the face of the statute, there is no indication
contradicting the view that a penknife is a penknife
whether small or large, whether the blade is closed or
open, whether the blade is locked open or unlocked, and
whether it is carried concealed or openly.” (1991)
– “A folding knife without switchblade but with a locking
device… falls within the exception for ‘penknives
without switchblade” in this section.” (1986)
– ” A buck [sic] knife (a knife having a blade which folds
into the handle and which locks into place when open)
carried with the blade open was ‘penknife without
switchblade’ within statutory exception, and this status
was not altered by knife’s blade-locking device or fact
that it was carried with its blade open.” (1991)
– “Where defendant’s conviction was on the basis that the
utility knife was a dangerous and deadly weapon per se,
but the Court did not consider defendant’s intent, the
Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and remanded for
a new trial.” (1992)
– “Location of the defendant, including whether he or she is
in a public place or on private property, is simply one
factor for the trier of fact to consider…” (1995)
– “For objects not legislatively classified as dangerous and
deadly per se, the State must prove that the object is
within the class described as any other dangerous or
deadly weapon of any kind.” (1992)
– “Where the only evidence presented was that the object
appellant was carrying was a knife over three inches long,
this evidence was insufficient to meet the statutory
requirements of this section.” (1992)
§ 4-102. Deadly weapons on school property.
(a) Exceptions.- This section does not apply to:
(1) a law enforcement officer in the regular course of the officer’s duty;
(2) a person hired by a county board of education specifically for the purpose of guarding public school property;
(3) a person engaged in organized shooting activity for educational purposes; or
(4) a person who, with a written invitation from the school principal, displays or engages in a historical demonstration using a weapon or a replica of a weapon for educational purposes.
(b) Prohibited.- A person may not carry or possess a firearm, knife, or deadly weapon of any kind on public school property.
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both.
(2) A person who is convicted of carrying or possessing a handgun in violation of this section shall be sentenced under Subtitle 2 of this title.
[An. Code 1957, art. 27, § 36A; 2002, ch. 26, § 2; ch. 213, § 6.]
§ 4-105. Transfer of switchblade or shooting knife.
(a) Prohibited.- A person may not sell, barter, display, or offer to sell or barter:
(1) a knife or a penknife having a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife, commonly called a switchblade knife or a switchblade penknife; or
(2) a device that is designed to propel a knife from a metal sheath by means of a high-compression ejector spring, commonly called a shooting knife.
(b) Penalty.- A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or a fine of not less than $50 and not exceeding $500 or both.
[An. Code 1957, art. 27, § 339; 2002, ch. 26, § 2.]