Possibly moving to Virginia/Maryland; gun laws for either?


April 9, 2006, 10:41 PM
I started planning last week to move back home to Arkansas towards the end of the year. I have obligations here in Washington state until August. Out of the blue, a very good friend calls me and asks if I can stay with his wife and daughter for a year starting in August, until he can get settled down there with them. They don't know yet if they'll be living in Maryland or Virginia.

I've heard some pretty negative things on this board about Maryland and its CCW laws, but Virginia seems to be less restrictive. I refuse to register my firearms with the state, and if either of those states requires that, I'll have to either forego this opportunity or pass my firearms to my father until such time that I can move back.

I already know I can find information on http://packing.org, but if anyone can share information on what I can expect, and perhaps some good ranges (I'll probably be working in or near Washington DC) it would be appreciated.


ps. I have several firearms that accept high capacity magazines, and I'll give them up when a certain place has a snowstorm.

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April 9, 2006, 11:10 PM
Stay out of Maryland. Crime, high taxes, oppressive laws, lousy sports teams, and incredible traffic are waiting for you. The only good thing I can think of in this area is that every road leads away from here.

Virginia is better. Of course, if you are going to work in DC, the difference in CCW laws is quite moot: DC has a complete ban on handguns, so you can't bring it with you. I believe you can't even have it in your car embedded in a block of poured concrete wrapped in chain and padlocks.

I've been living in Maryland since 2001 and I'm counting the days until I get out of here forever in January. Everyone I know who came here from other places --- even NJ (like myself) --- say this place "sucks."

MSgt B
April 9, 2006, 11:56 PM
Virginia isn't bad at all.
You don't have to "register" your guns with anyone.
CCW is "shall issue"
Open carry is legal
The air smells sweeter and the peanuts taste better.
You coming down here to the Hampton Roads area? (Norfolk)

April 9, 2006, 11:58 PM
I grew up in Virginia. As you seem to have gathered, Maryland's laws are very not good, and Virginia's are much better. I will confine my comments to Virginia since that is what I know best.

Virginia is shall-issue CHL, within 45 days, with complete state preemption. Open carry without a permit if you legally can possess the pistol, and police tend to be well-informed on the matter, especially in NOVA. Schools and courthouses are off-limits as usual, plus a few others. There is a prohibition on carrying concealed in places that serve alcohol, but in a strange twist open carry is allowed there (http://www.vcdl.org/letters/ABC_Letter.pdf).

If you do end up moving to Virginia, check out the Virginia Citizens Defense League (www.vcdl.org), which does a magnificent job of promoting Virginians' rights.

I am not that familiar with Northern Virginia in terms of shooting--maybe someone else can give you information on that. I do know that the NRA has a range in their headquarters, which is in Fairfax County.

Hope this helps.

MSgt B
April 10, 2006, 12:00 AM
Sorry, I went back and actually read your whole post.

If you're headed to the DC area, you want to live out to the west or south.

West: Get out past Dulles airport and it gets really nice.

South: Head for Triangle. Big military area, mostly Marines, lots of polite people.

Either way, you need a car that gets good gas mileage.

April 10, 2006, 01:18 AM
MSgt B, I'd love it if they let me move to Virginia Beach/Norfolk area for a year. I enjoyed the spring and summer there very much. It's about four hours from my Fayetteville, NC, where I used to live and have friends. Still kind of up in the air though.

If I can avoid working in DC, I'll do so. If I can avoid driving in the entire DC area, I'll do that, too. Probably be escorting a child to and from school occasionally.


April 10, 2006, 08:21 AM
We moved from MD in December. After these few months it feels like those 7 years were in some sort of exile. 7-day waiting period for handguns, with a one-per-month restriction. Impossible-to-get CCW. Ridiculous transportation laws for handguns (e.g., you can't stop for a soda on the way to the range).

Awful traffic, crime everywhere, even in the "nice" areas.

Not sure about registration, we didn't own any firearms when we moved there.


April 11, 2006, 11:20 PM

MSgt B
April 12, 2006, 01:10 AM
Where are all those NoVa shooters that I've seen on this board?

Let's get going and get this guy some info. I'd hate to see him move to MD. A year living there and he'll be selling all his guns to finance his fat-free decafe latte habit!

the Juggernaut
April 12, 2006, 01:32 AM

I know. It's the Brady campaign site. But it does have one good feature I have found. Just pick the state you want to move to and it will tell you if it sucks or not. An A or B grade sucks, C is intermediate, and D's and F's mean the state is great. Plus they break it down for you. Example: whether or not assault weapons are banned or legal or partialy banned.

April 12, 2006, 05:22 AM
LOL! It seems to work! Virginia got a C- and Maryland got an A- from the Brady Bunch. They report, you decide! :neener:

Don't Tread On Me
April 12, 2006, 05:36 AM
+1 to the Brady report, that should say it all.

Also, isn't Joe Biden from Maryland?

Yeah, that's the cherry on top. If you want to move to a state where a tyrannical majority of gun-hating extremists will extinguish your vote in a landslide of gun-grabbery...go ahead and move to Maryland. In Virginia, your vote will play a role. In Maryland, it will be a silent, irrelevant, merely symbolic gesture of dissent. That's what happens in anti-gun states.

April 12, 2006, 07:14 AM
The only good thing I can think of in this area is that every road leads away from here.

You made my day, I couldn't think of one good thing, now I have one.:D

April 12, 2006, 10:43 AM
Take it from me, as a guy who left VA after ~10 years to move to MD (long story).

VA = no worries there in America.

MD = always checking and double-checking to be sure you don't run afoul of the law, similar to like what people do in China. Some examples:

1) Driving home from the range with a locked up, unloaded, handgun in your trunk and need to take a leak, get gas, or stop at Taco Bell? MD law says once you stop, you are looking at up to three years in jail if caught!:eek:

2) Want to load your handgun or rifle mags while watching Amazing Race the night before you go to the range? Too bad. If you have a loaded magazine in your locked bag in the trunk, next to your cased, unloaded, locked up firearm, MD LEO's are taught that you have a "loaded firearm" and need to be arrested as described in point #1.

3) Want to buy a new handgun you have heard about? Well, first you better to check to see if it listed on the "allowable for sale handgun roster." (Most handguns are, unless made by Lorcin or something) Then, you better see if the Mfr includes one of those retarded fired shell-case thingies. If no to either one, than SOL.:mad:

4) Now that #3 has been hurdled, you need to go to the dealer where you saw the handgun (or the FFL who will handle the transfer), and fill out the 2-page Md State Police registration and background check form. The dealer/FFL will then fax it over to the MSP, and the 7-business-day waiting period will then start the next day.

5) When your background check comes back OK, then head back to the FFL/Dealer and sign the registration form to certify that you took possession of the handgun. Do the 4473, and . . . Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. Handguns shipped from the factory after 2002 must have an "integrated mechanical safety device" before a dealer may transfer them in MD (even if a used gun). So, unless your handgun has a built-in lock like S&W, HK, some Taurus, etc., you have to fork over ~$20+ for one of those Bursalock-type barrel/chamber locks. (At least we now have that option as of 2005; but that could change in the future if the roster board decides otherwise).

6) Want to buy an M4-gery? Go through step 4. Oh, yeah - if an AR is stamped "HBAR" somewhere on it, then you get to skip #4.:confused: Forget about those D&H 30-rounders you saw in the AR-15.com Equipment Exchange unless you have someone out of state to whom you can have them shipped. Magazines allowable for sale or receipt in MD must be 20 rounds or less. However, it is perfectly legal for you to have the 30-rd magazines shipped to your buddy just across the Potomac River in VA, and then bring them back with you to MD and keep them.:rolleyes:

7) Want to buy a Hammerli Olympic-class pistol that takes its magazine outside the grip? Or even better, want to bring the one you already own with you when you move to MD? Too bad, MD has banned it under the "Assault Pistol" law because it looks too much like a Tec-9.:eek:

8) Want to have the means to defend yourself and family when out in public in high-crime MD, where multiple people seem to get shot and stabbed every day by the growing gang presence? Forget it, unless your "family" is a sack full of money you are in the process of taking directly to a bank. MD is notorious for its arbitrary-issue CCW system. It is so bad that the Md State Police and the Handgun Permit Review Board, which hears appeals of permit denials by the State Police, refused to give one to the head of the Montgomery County NAACP even after she had documented death threats against her and the MoCo police were investigating numerous racist vandalism incidents around the county.:eek: Even worse, there are at least three appellate court decisions that give the MSP and Review Board complete authority to deny permits if they feel like it "in their professional, experienced opinion." In the latest court case last year, the State Police officer in charge of permits "proved" he didn't discriminate against CCW applicants by proudly declaring that he routinely denied permits to retired LEO's.

9) The one thing that keeps me going is that there is a group of good, dedicated, MD firearms owners that are mad as heck and are not going to take it anymore. We beat back a worse-than-CA AWB three years in a row, and have the anti-gun-owner crowd scared to get a gun control bill out of committee for fear of getting a pro-gun-owner bill attached right along with it. When your back is to the wall, you can surprise yourself at what you can do. But see #10.

10) In the interest of full disclosure, MD is having a general election this November, so keep that in mind. Both Democratic governor candidates are moderately anti-gun-owner types who tripped over themselves to get camera time for their support of the AWB this year, while mumbling on about not "generally" supporting more gun control. The one known Lt.Gov. candidate (with no real job description if elected) is an Army Reserve JAG Lt.Col who used the Wes Clark BS line of "want an (AR-15)? Join the Army." The current Republican governor has a 50/50 chance being reelected. Though not a loud Larry Pratt-type pro-gun-owner activist, Gov. Ehrlich has used quiet political espionage to kill the AWB and other gun control bills as best he could.

Also up for grabs is probably the Attorney General office, currently held by a guy who published an official AG manifesto in 1999 calling for a UK-type handgun ban. He hasn't done much since then, but the two leading candidates for AG are Doug Gansler (MoCo State Attorney) and Tom Perez (MoCo Council member), both of whom are the hardest of the hard-core anti-gun-owner types. Gansler is actually a board member of CeaseFire MD. Perez is a far-left wacko from Takoma Park, MD, right on the DC border and is MD's "nuclear free zone" (nuff said). The MD AG could conceivably go the way of the MA AG and come up with BS "consumer protection" regulations to ban handguns. It just needs the right person in the office.:uhoh:

Lastly, the Comptroller Office, in charge of tax collection, is also up for grabs. The current Comptroller is the guy who passed the "Assault Pistol" law while governor. This guy is 80-some years old and is showing signs of going senile. He is known in MD as a "DINO" because (AP law notwithstanding) he is actually pretty common-sensical. His biggest and only competitor in the Democratic primary is hard-left Peter Franchot from Kensington, Takoma Park's neighboring town. One of Franchot's main campaign promises is to use the Comptroller office to push the legislature and public opinion for more gun control. Franchot's campaign sound bite is that "he is the only Democrat running for Comptroller," and it seems to be working in terms of fundraising and public support.

Hope this helps . . . . despite this dire picture, there are actually enough public ranges to go around, and several private shooting clubs around the state. Firearms that are not handguns or on the list of "regulated" long guns (ARs, AKs, etc) are treated like they are in America: no registration or BS beyond the Fed laws.

John Hicks
April 12, 2006, 12:39 PM
The firearms differneces have been covered here pretty well.

Traffic is definitely worse, or at least less stable in the DC Maryland area. Virginia has its problems, but at least my commute is consistent :)

Taxes: MD is on par with Virginia in terms of state income tax, however, counties and cities can charge their own taxes as well, which makes for a bigger bite from the state. Also property taxes in all the livable (i.e. low crime, nicer areas) communities are higher than in VA.

VA has the NRA HQ with one of the nicest indoor ranges anywhere. We're not perfect on gun laws, but aside from the one handgun a month law, most are reasonable. I'd like that repealed and no-permit concealed carry; but I don't feel like I have too many hoops to jump through for guns in VA.

Welcome to the birthplace of Jeffersonian Libertarianism. Liberty was born in Charlottesville, and dies in Washington. Sad for only a two hour drive :rolleyes:


Don't Tread On Me
April 12, 2006, 12:51 PM

Thanks for that post.

At first it made me laugh. Then it made me wonder. Then it made me sad. Then it made me angry. Finally, it made me thankful - that I don't live in MD.

I never knew they had such stupid laws? What's up with that HBAR thing?

Capital Punishment
April 16, 2006, 08:46 PM

Thinking about migrating over to MD?
Turn around.

-dan in Md

April 16, 2006, 09:22 PM
Ferget MD (socialist cesspool), Va all the way (I've lived on both sides of the river). Email/PM me, send me your phone # & when to call ( I have free LD on my cell, I'd be happy to chat & answer all your questions to the best of my ability). Traffic sux anywhere aroung DC, but VA does seem to have a better handle on it. Gun firendly? VA, no contest. Schools? Toss-up, depending on where you live, but VA is probably better overall. Housing costs are silly, regardless. Best regards,

April 16, 2006, 09:23 PM
Much thanks to all. The three possible locations are Annapolis, MD; Arlington, VA; or Fredericksburg, VA. The most convenient one for the friends is Annapolis, but they don't know yet for sure. As much as I want to help them out, moving me to a place where I'd have to disarm every time I escorted the daughter someplace doesn't really help them much, IMO.

They want the daughter to go to school at the Conservatory in Maryland, which I've heard is in Baltimore, an even more odious place for me. I've never even enjoyed a drive through Maryland.

There's no pressure to answer right away. I have some things to get in one sock before I go, or not. Much thanks for all the information.


Ohen Cepel
April 16, 2006, 09:25 PM
N. Va isn't really VA, but it's 1000 times better than MD!!!!!!!!!!!

I was born in rural VA and am currently stuck in MD. It blows. If at all possible go to VA (and the further you can get from DC/N VA the better).

April 16, 2006, 11:17 PM
Maybe you have more than two options - have you considered WV? Brady ranks us a "D", which is a good thing. Berkely County is close to the DC area (Martinsburg area); while it's not traditional WV (too urban for my taste), it's much better than MD.

American By Blood
April 17, 2006, 12:11 AM
Baltimore? BALTIMORE?!

Letting a young white woman live in Baltimore is a form of neglect. Though I'd be willing to hear arguments that it's abuse.

Seriously. I live in Baltimore. There are no good neighborhoods here. Even the small pockets of affluence and stability are surrounded on at least three sides by violent hellholes.

Aside from me, nobody in my circle of friends has avoided victimization. Everyone has been been subjected to some form of robbery. More than a few have been beaten pretty badly. Some of the women have been raped. Harrassment is a daily occurrence. The only reason I'm thus far unscathed is that I'm over 6' 4", not a beanpole, maintain eye contact, and scowl a lot.

The Peabody is supposed to be a great place to study music. And talent is a thing that deserves to be cultivated. It's a shame that this is such a terrible place.

April 17, 2006, 05:07 AM

There are many better places than Peabody to study music, and the good news is that they aren't in MD.

April 17, 2006, 09:40 AM
I just recently turned my nose up at an excellent job opportunity because it was in MD. I really like some areas of the state, and my little Sis lives there, but the anti-gun laws are ridiculous.


April 17, 2006, 12:06 PM
this is a thread hijack. I will move it if it is determined it is...

My daughter will be living in Maryland for 4 years starting in June (U.S. Naval Academy). We will be delivering her there in June. After we drop her off we will be going to Arkansas to shop for land. I have a question about having a gun while we are delivering her.

I fully understand the non-CCWness of Maryland. All I want to do is be able to legally have a gun at my bedside while we are in the hotel in Annapolis. The plan would be to travel directly from the airport in Baltimore to the hotel in Annapolis. Then directly from the hotel to the airport upon our leaving. Both times the firearm would be in "airline ready condition".

My question is, can I do this legally and what type of problems could I encounter upon trying to check in for departure to AR?

I have another option, which is to ship a gun to a gunshop in Arkansas to be picked up when I arrive there (would like to have a gun available when out shopping rural properties.)

Thanks for the help...


April 17, 2006, 01:23 PM
I am not a MD lawyer, so give my knowledge the value of what you paid for it;)

Under the handgun law, you can transport a handgun between "bona fide legal residences." What that means is anyone's guess. Packing.org's
talk section for Maryland had some emails copied from the Asst. Atty Gen'l who answers these types of questions. A few years back, he was telling people in your situation that it was A-OK based on the "legal residence" language, and the hotel room counted as a "residence." However, a year later, he changed his mind and said that he couldn't really answer the question because no court has interpreted what a "bona fide legal residence" means in the context of the handgun law.:confused: His name was "Mark Bowen" (IIRC), so you could try searching for the name on Packing.org, or checking the Packing.org MD talk archives (there are not that many old posts to look through).

I have seen travel reports on gun boards that said that BWI seemed to be a "hassle-free zone." I have yet to actually try it myself, though.

Don't Tread:
The list of "regulated firearms" includes "Colt AR-15, CAR-15, and all imitations except Colt AR-15 Sporter H-BAR rifle."

This seems to mean that the "Colt AR-15 Sporter H-BAR" is exempted from the special transfer requirements that I listed. Since the list is for specific rifles and all copies, it follows that the copies should be exempted if a specific rifle is exempted.

I have heard that the State Police have interpreted this exemption to only apply if (1) the receiver is stamped "Sporter H-BAR" like Colt does, OR (2) the term "HBAR" must be stamped somewhere on the rifle. I have heard through the grapevine that some dealers just look at the rifle's parts, and if they match the Colt HBAR (heavy 20" barrel, match trigger, etc.), then the dealers considered the rifle exempted.

April 17, 2006, 01:38 PM
I wish that Brady page also had breakdowns of the Title II laws in each state. That would be like the ultimately convenient gun law resource.

April 17, 2006, 03:35 PM
I think that you would be better off going ahead and shipping the gun to Arkansas to be waiting there for you.

We live in Annapolis and I can say that, in all likelihood, you will have no need of a firearm in the room here, especially during I-Days. There are so many people around town between the Inductions and the normal tourists I'd feel pretty confident in saying not to worry (any more than any other town) about needing the firearm in the room. Your risk of being hassled by the police over transporting it is greater than being assaulted in your room.

If you need suggestions for hotels, let me know.

April 17, 2006, 04:54 PM
From what I understand of those states, I would suggest Virginia

April 18, 2006, 11:29 AM
who replied.

I would not have thought that it would ever be so difficult to determine if something is legal or not.

I'm leaning toward the 'send it directly to Arkansas' option, but it would be much better/easier/sensical to simply put it in my baggage and take it with me.

Thanks again,


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