Maryland Handgun Qualification License

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Handgun Qualification License
Hql draft.jpg
Sample HQL
Date first issued October 1, 2013
Issued by Maryland State Police
Valid in Maryland
Type of document License
Purpose Purchase handgun in the state of Maryland
Eligibility requirements Multiple
Expiration 10 years from date of issue
Cost $50


The Handgun Qualification License (HQL) is a new license required for the purchase of any handgun in Maryland. It was passed with the intent of reducing the number of handguns in circulation to, in theory, reduce the number of handgun related crime. In the view of MSI and many other organizations, this license is an unconstitutional infringement on your second amendment rights.



Anyone who desires to purchase a new handgun (Curio and Relic purchases are exempt) in the state of Maryland, new or used, is required to obtain a HQL prior to purchasing that handgun.

If you currently own a handgun, you are NOT required to obtain this license to continue owning your existing handguns. It is only required for new purchases.

The only people who do not need to obtain an HQL in order to purchase a handgun are the following:

  • Licensed Firearm Manufacturer
  • Active or Retired Law Enforcement Officer
  • Active or Retired Military with valid ID

Prohibited Persons

HQL Exempt

Requirements - Training

The first step in obtaining the HQL is to obtain training. You do not need to take the training if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Qualified handgun Instructors
  • Honorably discharged military
  • Employee of an armored car company with a carry permit issue for their job
  • Lawfully own a regulated firearm or handgun
  • Hold a valid Hunter Safety certificate

If you are not exempt from training, you must have completed a firearms safety training course within the previous three years of applying for the HQL. The training course must meet the following guidelines:

  • Course taught by Qualified Handgun Instructor
  • Minimum of 4 hours
  • Covers State Firearm Law
  • Covers Home Firearm Safety
  • Covers Handgun Mechanisms and Operation
  • Covers Handgun Handling and Operation
  • Requires the firing of at least one round

MSI has several members who are certified to teach this course. You may contact MSI for a recommendation, or you can search available handgun instructors on the MD State Police's website: [1]

Requirements - Fingerprinting

Prior to submitting your HQL license, you must have obtained fingerprints via any LiveScan provider. When you go to the LiveScan provider, give them the following information:

  • Agency Authorization Number: 1300004845
  • Agency ORI Number: MD920511Z
  • Reason Fingerprinted: Handgun Qualification License

A list of LiveScan locations can be found here: [2]

Requirements - Application

If you have completed the training (unless exempt) and have been fingerprinted, then you are ready to apply. To apply, you must go to MSP's Online Services website ([3]), create an account, and fill out the online application. Currently you MUST do this online with a credit or debit card, there is no other way to apply.

At the end of the application you are required to submit the LiveScan ID you were issued at the time of your fingerprinting. Once all of this has ben completed, you are done with your part and must wait up to 30 days to receive your license in the mail.

Purchasing a Handgun with the HQL

Now that you have your HQL, you still must go through the same background process as before. This means filling out a Form 77R every time you purchase a handgun. After the 77R is completed, you must still wait at least 8 days to pickup your handgun. The MSP has 8 days to process your background check. Some FFLs will release to you on day eight, some will not fearing liability if the applicant is disapproved.

If this is your first handgun purchase, we strongly recommend spending time becoming familiar with your firearm and practice using it at a local range. The single shot required by the training course is by no means enough to become proficient in the use of your firearm. Email MSI if you would like the contact info for a firearms instructor.


Term & Renewal


So you have taken the HQL course (or are exempt from the training) and are now ready to actually apply for the HQL. Here are some tips that may make your life easier:

1 The HQL course is good for three years, meaning you must apply for a HQL within three years of the date on the certificate.

2. To complete the HQL application it is necessary to create an account and fill out an on-line application with the Maryland State Police (MSP). To create an account, log into

3. You must complete your registration and application within 72 hours of obtaining the livescan of your fingerprints. Within 24 hours is better and same day is best. Access this link to determine the livescan location most convenient to you. You should tell the livescan operator that the prints are for the HQL and he/she should be able to take it from there. If not, then you may have to provide additional information, as taken from

The information that you should provide to the LiveScan technician for fingerprinting: Agency Authorization Number: 1300004845 Agency ORI Number: MD920511Z Reason Fingerprinted: MD Public Safety Article, Section 5-117.1 pertaining to Handgun Qualification License.

4. It is recommended that you contact the fingerprinting service beforehand. Some require appointments and information at the above dpsc link has been known to be wrong or out of date. Because of the time sensitivity, it is best to begin your application on-line to be sure that you have the kinks worked out. The MSP supports only Internet Explorer browser from Microsoft Windows for the application.

5. To minimize the chance that the MSP will commit errors, the best practice is to upload as an attachment to your application the certificate along with a PDF scan of your livescan receipt. The instructor 's number will be on the certificate. All instructors are required to give you a certificate of completion. You will need to enter that instructor number in the appropriate place on the application. When your application is complete and submitted, the instructor will then be able to log on to the instructor’s account and verify that you have completed the HQL class requirements. Please be sure to email the instructor as soon as you complete your application and submit it to the MSP.

6. To check on the approval process, you can log on to your MSP account from time to time and see how much they have completed. An uncomplicated approval has been taking around two weeks with the actual receipt in the mail of the HQL card taking about 30 days. The standing record for receipt is 10 days. You will need the card itself before actually being able to purchase, rent or receive a handgun. Your HQL is good for 10 years, after which it can be renewed.