Maryland Handgun Qualification License (HQL) Training


Maryland HQL Course Requirements ($125 per person)

The Firearms Safety Training Course must be instructed by a Qualified Handgun Instructor, and shall consist of a minimum of 4 hours of instruction and include the following minimum curricula: 

(1) State Firearm Law. Overview of the State firearm laws, including discussion of what constitutes a regulated firearm, how to properly purchase or transfer a firearm, where allowed to carry or transport a firearm, when necessary to possess a carry permit, who is prohibited from possessing firearms, and state law relating to minors, permissible levels of force, and use of deadly force. 

(2) Home Firearm Safety. Overview of handgun and firearm safety in the home, including discussion of access to minors, locking and storing of firearms, and use of safety devices, such as secure lock boxes. 

(3) Handgun Mechanisms and Operation. Overview of the proper operation and safe handling of a handgun, including cleaning and maintenance, the loading and unloading of ammunition, and the differences between revolvers and semi-automatic handguns. 

(4) Operation and Handling Demonstration. Orientation component that demonstrates the person’s safe operation and handling of a firearm, to include a “live fire” component in which the applicant safely shoots the firearm. An applicant may not be required to fire in excess of 15 yards during qualifications. 

Who Should Apply?

A person may not purchase, rent, or receive a handgun after October 1, 2013 unless they possess a valid Handgun Qualification License (HQL) issued by the Maryland State Police or qualify for exemption status. 

Exceptions to possession of the HQL License 

1. A Licensed Firearms Manufacturer. 

2. Active law enforcement officer or a person retired in good standing from a law enforcement agency of the United States, the State, or a local law enforcement agency of the State. 

3. Active or retired member of the United States Armed Forces or National Guard and possesses a valid military identification card. 

4. A person purchasing, renting or receiving an antique, curio or relic as defined in federal law. 

5. Maryland licensed firearms dealers. 

Required to have the HQL, but exempt from the training component 

1. Someone who completed a firearms safety training course approved by the Secretary of the Department of Maryland State Police. 

2. Has completed a course of instruction in the competency and safety of firearms as prescribed under Natural Resources Article, §10-301.1, Annotated Code of Maryland. Application for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Hunter Safety Course  Certificate can be obtained from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) may be used in lieu of Qualified Handgun Instruction. 

3. Is currently a qualified handgun instructor. 

4. Is an honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States or National Guard. 

5. Is an employee of an armored car company who has a handgun permit issued by MSP. 

6. Lawfully owns a regulated firearm. If you already own a handgun or assault weapon prior to October 1, 2013, you do not have to complete the training to apply for the Handgun Qualification License.  

What are the Steps I need to follow to get my Maryland HQL?

Step 1:  Attend a 4-hour class by an Maryland State Policy approved HQL Instructor.  

Step 2:  Complete your digital fingerprinting at a Livescan location.  The link below (in the green box) shows the Livescan locations in Montgomery County Maryland. 

Step 3:  Once you have completed steps 1 and 2, apply online at:

Montgomery County, MD Livescan Locations

4-Hour Training Location


Additional Details

Here's a great read on all the steps it takes to get your Maryland Handgun Qualification License.  It's humorous, light and fun to read.  

More details on the Maryland HQL