Arlington, VA asked in Criminal Law for Maryland

Q: Just curious. Could metal knuckles be considered a reasonable self defense precaution in Maryland?

Also, is it okay to have metal knuckles in your home? Just as a collectors item?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Eric Todd Kirk
Eric Todd Kirk
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Metal knuckles are considered a dangerous weapon. The law provides:

"(c) Prohibited. --

(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)"

Note: (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.

Scott Scherr agrees with this answer

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Metal knuckles are specifically listed among the types of objects that qualify as a weapon, but almost any object may be used as a weapon, carried with intent to use or threaten as a weapon, or concealed on your person. Those are the factors the statute criminalizes: intent to use, or concealment. Therefore, if you are stopped and searched on probable cause or for the protection of an officer acting on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, and you are carrying metal knuckles, hidden within your clothing, you will be charged with carrying a concealed weapon. There is no crime committed simply by owning a weapon or keeping it in your home. There is no crime committed by merely carrying a weapon like metal knuckles openly, so long as there is no intent to threaten or use them (good luck with arguing that you have an innocent purpose for doing so, however), but it is always a crime to carry metal knuckles or other weapons concealed in public. For items that have dual use as a weapon or a tool (like a hammer or a bat), the circumstances and facts of how and why you have such objects on your person at the time and place you are seen with them become critical factors. It would be hard to argue, for instance, that you had an innocent reason to be carrying a baseball bat while storming into the US Capitol on January 6 this year.

Scott Scherr agrees with this answer

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