Maryland Handgun Qualification License: What is it?
The Maryland Handgun Qualification License was created after the Sandy Hook mass shooting in 2012. Governor O’Malley and the Maryland Legislature passed legislation in 2013 creating a special license required to purchase a handgun in Maryland. That special license was named the Handgun Qualification License, commonly referred to as the HQL.
Who Should Apply?
People may not purchase or receive a handgun after October 1, 2013 unless they possess a valid Handgun Qualification License (HQL) issued by the Maryland State Police or if they qualify for exemption status. When you fill-out the application form there is a question on the form asking for your HQL number. Additionally, the federal firearm licensed gun dealer will also ask to see you HQL card.
Who Does Not Need One?
- A licensed firearms manufacturer.
- Active law enforcement officer or a person retired in good standing from a law enforcement agency.
- Active member of the United States Armed Forces or National Guard and who possesses a valid military identification card.
- A person purchasing, renting or receiving an antique, curio or relic as defined in federal law.
- Maryland licensed firearms dealers
Persons required to have a Handgun Qualification License, but exempt from the training component:
- Have completed a Maryland State Police (MSP) approved certified firearms safety course.
- Have completed a course of instruction and been issued a certificate of competency in firearms and hunter safety from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
- Is currently a qualified handgun instructor.
- Is an honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States or National Guard.
- Is an employee of an armored car company who has a valid Wear and Carry Permit issued by MSP.
- Lawfully owns a regulated firearm. If you own a regulated firearm prior to October 1, 2013, you are not required to complete the training and may apply for the Handgun Qualification License.
How Do You Get It?
You must complete four hours of firearms safety training on the following topics:
- State firearm law
- Home firearms safety
- Handgun mechanisms and operation
- Demonstrate the ability to shoot a handgun safely
Important: You need to apply for your HQL within three years of completing your HQL training class
What Does It Cost?
Costs vary depending on the firearms training business. Spartan Firearms Training Group SFTG) uses the costs listed below:
$100 for the HQL training. Register on-line at the SFTG website. $50 deposit. Balance due on day of training with cash, credit card, or PayPal.
ADDITIONAL COSTS not payable to SFTG
- $50 fingerprinting fee paid to Essential Support Services (ESS) if you want them to do your fingerprinting on the day of the training. Alternatively, you can have your fingerprints taken by another provider.
- $50.00 HQL application fee payable to the Maryland State Police.
- $20.00 if you want ESS to process all your paperwork and payment to the Maryland State Police they can handle everything for you on the day of the training (This is an added-value service that ESS offers our customers).