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What is an HQL?
  • The Handgun Qualification License (HQL) is a license, required and issued by the state of Maryland, for the purchase of a handgun in the state of Maryland. 

Who Needs an HQL?
  • Unless otherwise exempt (explained below), as of October 1, 2013, a Maryland resident must possess a valid Handgun Qualification License (HQL) before he/she may purchase, rent (take out of the gun store), or receive a handgun. You do not need a Handgun Qualification License to own a gun you already have. 

  • IMPORTANT: If you already own a handgun prior to October 1, 2013, you do not have to complete the training to apply for the Handgun Qualification License.

  • Anyone that desires to purchase a new or used handgun in the state of Maryland is required to obtain an HQL prior to purchasing that handgun.

  • If you currently own a handgun, you are NOT required to obtain an HQL to remain in possession of the handgun.

  • People EXEMPT from having to obtain an HQL:

    • licensed firearm manufacturers

    • Active or retired law enforcement officers (LEO)

    • Active Duty or Retired military with a valid retired military ID card

  • People Exempt from having to take the HQL training:


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