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Before the rush . . .  (courtesy

Press release from The Maryland State Police regarding new firearms purchasing requirements:

PIKESVILLE, MD –– Marylanders who have submitted handgun purchase applications on or before September 30th 2013 will not be required to obtain a handgun qualification license, as required by the new law that is set to take effect on Oct. 1 2013. The new law that takes effect in Maryland on October 1 states that a handgun may not be sold, rented, or transferred unless the purchaser, lessee, or transferee has a valid handgun qualification license . . .

The Maryland State Police (MSP) will not enforce the requirements of the new law with respect to applicants whose applications are pending as of October 1. It was widely understood that the new requirements would not be enforced as to applications that were pending before October 1. In light of the number of currently pending applications-resulting from the unprecedented spike in new applications in recent months-it is a fair, reasoned, and appropriate result for those who are waiting for their pending purchase applications to be processed.

Persons who submit purchase applications on or after October 1, 2013, unless otherwise exempted by law, will be required to apply for and obtain a handgun qualification license before attempting to purchase a handgun.

MSP is working diligently to process all pending firearm purchase applications as expeditiously as possible. A record level of firearm sales in Maryland that began last fall-and which has only intensified in recent days-has led to an unparalleled number of pending purchase applications. MSP’s Licensing Division commenced 21-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operations last December-more than doubling the staff in the division-in order to process the spike in applications. MSP has also used additional State Police personnel, who worked more than 24,000 hours of overtime in the past year. Despite those efforts, the number of pending purchase applications continued to grow.

The members of MSP’s Licensing Division will continue to work diligently to process pending applications as quickly as possible, without jeopardizing public safety for speed. MSP greatly appreciates the patience of both the licensed firearms dealers holding the weapons, and Marylanders awaiting approval to receive their guns.

More info at

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  1. I live in MD…

    The MSP announcement is welcome. That said, this concern has been known about for some time. It could have helped the confusion level to have dealt with it earlier.

    There are a number of other problems in the new law. I just went to a seminar at which a lawyer discussed the law – and where he sees ambiguities that still need to be worked out.

    One big concern will be the time it takes to get an HQL. There is still no way to apply for an HQL. The MSP claims they’ll be releasing an on-line application October 1st; I expect it to be jammed up. The law claims that an HQL should be completed in 30 days. However, it’s important to note that current law claims that the existing handgun background check is to be completed in 7 days; in reality, it’s been taking several months. I’m guessing that the first group of HQL applicants will take many months. This means MD will effectively have a handgun sales ban, with just a few exceptions.

    You’ll be hearing more about this. The first round of lawsuits is likely to be filed shortly after the 1st.

    • Ha! That 30 day law will work just as well as NJ’s 30-day law to approve FID/pistol permits (which can, in reality, take up to 6 months or more…)

      • Here in Illinois we need a FOID card to buy/own any firearms or ammo period. Processing, BY LAW is supposed to be no more than 30 days. Common times are north of 90 days though and our attorney general is anti gun so its not like she will go after the ISP.

        • I know somebody who is currently waiting for a pistol permit here in NJ. This person has been waiting for over 4 months now (I think the law says they are supposed to approve / deny the permit within 30 days of application). Nothing like good ol’ government bureaucracy.

        • You have to love it when our “leaders” break the law like this and there is no consequences for it. God, I need to get out of Illinois.

  2. Be advised, that there are various opinions on whether the MDSP advisory is authorized. It contradicts an AG opinion from August. While the MDSP may not enforce the law, some people are of the opinion other agencies/PDs might. Some people think that one of the anti-gun groups may sue to enforce the HQL requirement post 1Oct. Dealers may not want the legal risk and not release post 1Oct without an HQL. The safest bet is to pick up your handgun before 1oct, if your dealer will let you, and you are past the 7 day wait. Otherwise, relying on the MDSP may, or may not, land you in legal trouble and result in your gun being confiscated, or worse.

    I am not a tin foil hat guy, I think that they are genuinely trying to do the right thing, and not get embroiled in a lawsuit over the backlog. But, I think that the MDSP is underestimating the fact that whichever way they go they will get into a lawsuit. regardless of whether I agree with the MDSP or not, if it goes to court its a crapshoot either way at best.

  3. This press release is really causing a heavy dose of neuroticism amongst folks here.

    Our Attorney General released a legal opinion that one must obtain the HQL to take possession of a handgun after 10/1. Many people are still stuck in the background check backlog and some dealers aren’t releasing after 7 days. These people would need to get the HQL.

    Then the MSP comes out and says they aren’t currently enforcing the law…
    What’s to say they decide to change their policy a few months down the road? Having said that, that’s at least a dozen or so thousand door-to-door visits the MSP would have to make…

  4. Be advised that the MSP opinion contradicts the AG opinion. While I think that the MSP is doing its best to avoid a lawsuit, they are underestimating the fact that some anti-gun group will sue to *enforce* the law 1Oct, meaning if you pick up on or after you need an HQL. Plus, some people think other agencies or PDs may enforce it. If it goes to court its a crapshoot either way. Safe bet, pick up before 1 Oct. After, assume you need an HQL. If you pick up without one post 1Oct, unless you are exempt, it could come back to bite you either in the form of confiscation, or worse.

  5. How are you supposed to train to get a license if no one can rent or transfer a handgun to you without a license? Is there an exemption for people doing training or on private clubs/land? Seems a huge catch 22 in there otherwise.

    • under the definition, it basically means to leave the property. I can still go into a range and rent a pistol for an hour. This is a case where the legal definition of rent in the statute is different than the commonsense definition.

    • I have news on this topic:

      For purposes of this law, “rent” means “rent to take possession and leave the premises”. Which means that renting a firearm at a range – and using it only at the range – doesn’t require an HQL.

      This was yet another area of concern that could have been dealt with promptly, had the law been written more clearly.

  6. For a ideology that promotes restricting firearms, Liberals are merely ensuring the proliferation of guns/hi cap magazines into circulation!
    Seriously, I bet Ruger, Mossberg, Bushmaster, et al. are praying every night that Hillary wins in 2016. If we thought Obama was bad, Hillary will be worse! BUT…that means people will be snatching up anything that launches a bullet like Hagen Daas at a Weight Watchers convention!

  7. My first comment must have been lost to the interwebs…

    While I don’t wish any (further) harm to gun shop owners I would like to see, just once, all spending on firearms STOP after laws like this come into effect. It would be amusing to watch the lawmakers scramble when they see the impact that the people of the gun have on taxes, license revenues, hunting fees…

    It’s a dream of mine, a pipe dream, but a dream anyway. It would be about the only way to get through to our lawmakers that we won’t settle for knee jerk reactions and emotionally driven legislation.

    • The thing is that, to some extent, the gun shop owners brought this on themselves. In my (now former county) you could legally only shoot ammunition at a range if it was purchased at the range…the range people gloated that their lobbyist got that one passed.

      Then some shop owners got on board with the gun control folks and made it so purchases between individuals HAD to get a MSP background check, meaning all private transactions required a gun shop in the loop (which they then charged out the behind for…I couldn’t find a FFL willing to do a transfer for less than $85). Not all shop owners were on board, but the ones that were can rot as far as I’m concerned. A number of shops also got on board with zoning restrictions so that new shops couldn’t open. It’s sick.

      So I up and left, just moved to VA after 25 years in MD.

      • “While I don’t wish any (further) harm to gun shop owners I would like to see, just once, all spending on firearms STOP after laws like this come into effect. It would be amusing to watch the lawmakers scramble when they see the impact that the people of the gun have on taxes, license revenues, hunting fees…”
        Keep an eye on California’s imbecilic lead ban if it passes.

  8. Maryland is a beautiful state hampered only by a statist government. I lived there all my life until some six years ago. Peope need to ignore this and continue to trade guns face to face. I, and others, m ade numerous transactions ftf during my residence there. When called to jury duty regarding a case where someone is charged with violating this license law or ftf law, find them not guilty. Jury nullification would be a good way to combat this.
    Additionally, the people of MD need to put more effort into voting in new legislators. Baltimore City/County, M ontgomer/Howard and Prince Georges counties run that state. It needs reform.

  9. I was born in Baltimore, MD and lived there for over 40 years. It was nearly impossible to get a CCW so I moved to PA. Hunter friendly with shall issue CCW law. Never dreamed it would by one of the few states where it is illegal to hunt with a semi auto rifle or pistol. Still better than living in the people’s republic of MD. Mark is right. It is a beautiful state, but the government will never change, except to get worse.


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