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Old January 27th, 2009, 09:34 PM   #1
rmbstyle17
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Blank firing laws?

this may be a dumb question, but i know how maryland is on guns used in self defence and stuff. So i was thinking of findind a blank firing 9mm hand gun to keep in my car. does anyone know if bank guns fallow the same laws as regular hand guns or what? I couldnt find anything online...
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Old January 27th, 2009, 09:39 PM   #2
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Good question. I think there are also pepper spray rounds out there too.

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Old January 27th, 2009, 09:49 PM   #3
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I was curious awhile ago about the legalities of FIRING blank rounds. Weather or not they follow the same rules as a live firearm etc. I never got a conclusive answer, I just assumed they did in this state, and decided (at the time) that was a line I was willing to cross between being a good law abiding citizen and ignoring a law.

With that said, I think the way the state defines a handgun/firearm, and the strict rules on the books about carrying handguns in a vehicle (loaded, transporation req, where you can go etc.) make carrying a blank firing handgun on the wrong side of the gray line. In other words, at the very least, assuming you got caught, you would be in court with expensive legal fees trying to prove your "innocence." In my opinion (and it is only that, my opinion) if you are going to risk the trouble carrying a blank firing handgun, why not just got a tad bit farther and carry live rounds so you can ACTUALLY defend yourself if need be? A blank firing handgun is not much better than an unloaded one. You are still bluffing, and hoping the criminal doesn't call your bluff and assumes he is actually being shot at.

Short answer, not worth it in my opinion. Either stay away from the area you are trying to defend yourself in, find a legal self defense solution, or carry a long gun. Then, work with these guys on getting a CCW passed so you can forget about the blanks
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:01 PM   #4
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i thought it may have the same laws as an airsoft gun or something like that, because they are concidered "replica" guns, and u only have to be 18 years old to buy a hand gun version. i just thought if it was legal, and made me feel a little bit safer, hey why not. like if i pull up to a gas station at night, or some place like that an a group of shady people walk by up to no good, i know if they see something pointed at them or hear something loud go off, i dont think they are going to stay around to see if it is a live round or not. i just want to check and make shure it is legal first.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:37 PM   #5
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For 4-201 and 4-203

Quote:
Article - Criminal Law

4-201.

(a) In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.

(b) "Antique firearm" means:

(1) a firearm, including a firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar ignition system, manufactured before 1899; or

(2) a replica of a firearm described in item (1) of this subsection that:

(i) is not designed or redesigned to use rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition; or

(ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition that is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

(c) (1) "Handgun" means a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed on the person.

(2) "Handgun" includes a short-barreled shotgun and a short-barreled rifle.

(3) "Handgun" does not include a shotgun, rifle, or antique firearm.
I see no exception for blank firing guns from the definition of "handgun". One could argue it is no more a "firearm" than a nail gun (powder actuated tool), but I would not want to be the test case for that one.

There is one possible exception that I can think of and that is if it is an antique or a replica of an antique or it is a blank firing gun of a design of an antique because I do not think a blank is "fixed ammunition".

Also, if it is a "firearm" or a "handgun", there is the hunting statute saying it cannot be loaded and being an "antique" it might work (or might not).

If you really feel you need some defense in your car, then there are two possibilities. YOu can risk six months in jail max and have a loaded antique in or on your vehicle violating the hunting statute, or you you might be able to have openly in the car one of these:
[single shot PCP air pistol .45 caliber with 100 foot pounds muzzle energy]
Or this: [single/double action six shot PCP with 21 foot pounds energy, or a single action only six shot with 40 foot pounds energy]
Or my internet favorite, but a little bulky for a car, this:
[9mm PCP six shot lever action with a muzzle energy of about 120 foot pounds energy]

I have an idea about the antique handguns, if they are in the open, then they do not violate the concealed weapons law. If they are unloaded, but with a speedloader right next to them, they are still not loaded and do not violate the hunting statute. Since it is an antique, it does not violate the handgun transport statute.
The way I see it, if I had an antique top break revolver openly sitting next to me and I had a speed loader, if for some reason I had to load it for my self defense while still in the car, I can show a legitimate need to break the hunting statute.

Now the airgun and antique gun ideas will not work in towns and counties with laws restricting air guns and antiques because there are no state preemptions about air guns and antique firearms (there is for the possession of the ammunition and components that go in them though).

I am not a lawyer.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rmbstyle17 View Post
i thought it may have the same laws as an airsoft gun or something like that, because they are concidered "replica" guns, and u only have to be 18 years old to buy a hand gun version. i just thought if it was legal, and made me feel a little bit safer, hey why not. like if i pull up to a gas station at night, or some place like that an a group of shady people walk by up to no good, i know if they see something pointed at them or hear something loud go off, i dont think they are going to stay around to see if it is a live round or not. i just want to check and make shure it is legal first.
You generally only have to be 18 to buy antique handguns. Although if it uses fixed ammunition designed to be used in regulated firearms, then that becomes a an issue for someone under 21.
However, cap and ball pistols do not use fixed ammo and one could argue that fixed ammunition for an antique handgun is not ammunition designed for use in regulated firearms because the antiques it was designed for is not a regulated firearm.
Also if the ammunition is also used in rifles that would be another argument against it being ammunition for regulated firearms.

Another thing, antique handguns do not seem to come under not just the 4-203 handgun transport law, but it seems to be excluded from the dangerous weapons law in the definition of deadly weapon in 4-101 too, so it may or may not be possible to carry concealed like a pen knife, but if carried openly and loaded I do not see how it would be illegal under state law if not in or on a vehicle (under local laws it may be though). So I guess it should be legal to load the antique handgun upon exiting the vehicle and have it at the ready while you are pumping gas without breaking any laws.....but I am not a lawyer. If you do it and get caught and I am wrong, then it is not I who will be going to jail.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 12:17 AM   #7
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thats why i would make sure it is legal first, i just wanted to see if anyone had any clue or experiances, then i would look more into it...
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Old January 28th, 2009, 12:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rmbstyle17 View Post
thats why i would make sure it is legal first, i just wanted to see if anyone had any clue or experiances, then i would look more into it...
You might have a better chance with an air gun or an antique than with a blank.

.....but however, I did find this about what is a handgun:

Quote:
After the agreed statement of facts was read into the record
and the ballistics reports were moved into evidence, the
appellant moved for judgment of acquittal, arguing that the
State had failed to prove that the pistol met the statutory
definition of a handgun because it had not shown that the pistol
was operable. The court denied the appellant's motion, ruling
that the weapon was a handgun within the meaning of the
controlling statute because it could be made operable with
minimal exertion. The court explained:
In this case, what was missing and, therefore, made
this thing — this item “inoperable” was a part, to
wit: a magazine. It was not deemed incapable of
firing a projectile through the explosion of a gas.
It was not rendered intrinsically inoperable because
the barrel was altered and, therefore, could not emit
the projectile. It was not rendered inoperable
because the barrel was plugged with such an item that
could not be removed — that it could not be removed
and, therefore, the weapon was inoperable. What was
missing was a removable or, if you will, an insertable
part, to wit: a magazine.
Quote:
In Howell v. State, 278 Md. 389, 396 (1976), the Court of
Appeals held that for a weapon to meet the definition of a
handgun under article 27, §§ 36B(b) and 36F(b), "it must be a
firearm or it must be readily convertible into a firearm," that
is, "a gun which could be explosive of projectiles." (Emphasis
added, internal quotations omitted.) In Wright v. State, 70 Md.
App. 616 (1987), we explained that there are two aspects to this
definition. First, it excludes weapons not designed or
constructed to fire missiles by gaseous explosion, and incapable
of doing so because of their design and construction.
Second,
it requires even a weapon designed and constructed as a firearm
to be capable of actually discharging a missile. Id. at 620.
http://www.courts.state.md.us/opinio...01/2073s00.pdf

So apparently a blank firing handgun is not considered a "handgun" if it cannot fire projectiles.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 12:38 AM   #9
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good find, it amazes me how quickly u find this stuff. It would take me weeks...
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Old January 28th, 2009, 05:31 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by novus collectus View Post
You might have a better chance with an air gun or an antique than with a blank.

.....but however, I did find this about what is a handgun:



http://www.courts.state.md.us/opinio...01/2073s00.pdf

So apparently a blank firing handgun is not considered a "handgun" if it cannot fire projectiles.
Never seen that definition before, could find. But, aren't blank firing guns just REAL firearms with a blank adapter that can be removed to fire a live round?
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Old January 28th, 2009, 07:14 AM   #11
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I saw a fully auto blank gun advertised in some catalog
Wonder what the legality of firing blanks in your back yard is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgSkgs3DrlY


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Old January 28th, 2009, 07:25 AM   #12
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Just hope they do not have a real gun while you are firing blanks....
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Old January 28th, 2009, 07:30 AM   #13
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MY real concern with useeing it as a deterant is that the other guy probably won't be firing blanks.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 07:45 AM   #14
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MY real concern with useeing it as a deterant is that the other guy probably won't be firing blanks.
My thoughts exactly. Why escalate things and not be able to shoot back.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 08:03 AM   #15
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Why not get a paintball pistol. Paintballs hurt when they hit you and will obstruct your vision if the paint lands in your eye.


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Old January 28th, 2009, 08:13 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by rmbstyle17 View Post
good find, it amazes me how quickly u find this stuff. It would take me weeks...
Actually it is stuff I keep finding over and over again, but each time I look for something different I find it in the same thing I read before. I think I skimmed that case looking for something else two weeks ago too.

I woke up realizing something else. If someone is under 21, then a blank firing pistol is still a "handgun" for the regulated firearms statute and cannot be possesed without over 21 supervision (unless they have a handgun permit). So a person over 21 will not be violating the handgun statute 4-203 with a blank firing handgun it seems, but a person under 21 generally cannot posses one because of the regulated firearms statute in Chapter 5 of the Public Safety Article.....unless it is an antique blank firing handgun because 5-102 excludes antiques from the chapter 5.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 08:16 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by JasonMD85 View Post
Never seen that definition before, could find. But, aren't blank firing guns just REAL firearms with a blank adapter that can be removed to fire a live round?
If they are not designed to be blank firing guns and can be readily restored to fire projectiles, then by reading that case it seems as if it is a handgun and not a blank firing gun. If the blank firing gun uses a regular handgun frame to convert to a blank firing gun, then I think that would still make it a handgun, but if it is the same frame as a handgun, but was built as a non-firearm with a plugged or fake barrel, then I would say that is not a "handgun".

There are blank firing handguns and starter pistols that are designed to just fire blanks and would take major alterations and tools to make it fire a projectile (like the criminals do in England). Those I would say are not "handguns" for that statute.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 08:22 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by wlc View Post
I saw a fully auto blank gun advertised in some catalog
Wonder what the legality of firing blanks in your back yard is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgSkgs3DrlY
Believe it or not, you can, or could untill recently, buy and use those in England.

Except for hunting within a certain distance of a dwelling or structure, the discharge of firearms is regulated at the local level. If you can shoot in your back yard, you can shoot a blank. If you can use a nail gun, then you might be able to fire a blank. Looking at sound ordinances for some counties a while back I discovered even a nail gun can be a violation under some circumstances, so you have to look in a few different spots in county or city code to find out.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 08:23 AM   #19
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I actually bought a police style taser for my car since I can't pack a gun. It's the exact model the cops use (it looks like a gun and shoots out the darts).

I was never able to get an answer on the legality of it from the MSP. Individual cops said just be careful as to not pull it out near a cop (obviously since it looks like a gun).

There are specific areas where they do have laws specifically stating they are illegal. Baltimore and Howard county I know for sure.

http://www.taser.com/products/law/Pages/TASERM26.aspx


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Old January 28th, 2009, 08:31 AM   #20
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My thoughts exactly. Why escalate things and not be able to shoot back.
What if they have a knife.

The vast majority of defensive gun uses do not involve the firing of the firearm and the majority of discharging the firearm in defense do not result in hitting the target (I assume a lot are warning shots into the ground or something). In this state we are limitted in what defense we can use and almost anything is better than nothing. Also, if they have a gun, you have no idea if they will escalate it if you have a blank or not. I would not say the victim escaltes the situation.....the escalation argument is sometimes the argument people use against conceal carry against robbery because they claim it is better to comply than to resist because escalating the situation will more likely get you hurt in their minds. Of course though we know that in this day and age they still often shoot you even after you comply.

A real gun should be used and no one should choose to use a blank firing gun in place of it, but this is MD, the state made that choice for us.
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