MD Handgun Qualification License (HQL)

The Handgun Qualification License (HQL) is a  license required for the purchase of any handgun in Maryland.

Maryland requires a license to allow you to purchase a handgun for most people. To obtain your first handgun, you must:

1. Take the HQL training course. Read below to know if you have an exception to this.
Get LiveScan finger prints. Frederick Sherriff offer this Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m.  to 5:00 p.m. fingerprinting is provided as a walk-in service at the Frederick County Law Enforcement Center, 110 Airport Drive-East, Frederick, MD 21701. There a  $52.75 fee. Citizens must present a valid, state issued identification card. Three forms of payment will be accepted: credit / debit card, personal check or money order made payable to the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. Cash and American Express are NOT accepted
Apply for HQL at  Must create a account on Maryland State Police.  Then submit an application for MD HQL and pay $50 fee. 
Wait until your application been review and approval.  Your MD Handgun Qualification License (HQL) Card will taken a couple of week to arrive, if you pass all the background checks.
5. Purchase handgun from an FFL
Fill out paperwork
Wait 8 days for the second background check (or however long it takes)
8. Pick up Handgun

Who Needs It

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

Someone who completed a certified safety course.

  1. 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 here and may be used in lieu of Qualified Handgun Instruction.
  2. Is currently a qualified handgun instructor.
  3. Is an honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States or National Guard.
  4. Is an employee of an armored car company who has a handgun permit issued by MSP.
  5. 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.            

Course Goal

Unless otherwise exempt, as of October 1, 2013, a person must possess a valid Handgun Qualification License before they may purchase, rent, or receive a handgun. Details on exemptions may be found below. You do not need a Handgun Qualification License to own a gun you already have. The Handgun Qualification License is only needed for purchasing, transferring, or renting a regulated firearm after October 1, 2013.

What Is It

Handgun Qualification License training is a four-hour block of instruction which includes classroom instruction on state firearm law, home firearm safety, handgun mechanisms and operation, and a component that requires the applicant demonstrate the ability to safely fire a handgun.

Approved HQL training courses are offered by Maryland State Police approved Qualified Handgun Instructors who have established an account through the Maryland State Police MyLicense/e-gov site. Training is valid for 3 years and must be completed prior to submitting an application for a Handgun Qualification License

Click to see our schedule.               

 Advanced Registration Required – No walk-ins will be permitted.

 ***All proceeds from this class to benefit the Frederick #1 Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America Youth Program***


 The course will be taught by experienced firearms instructors, each of whom holds a current Maryland Qualified Handgun Instructor certification and whose credentials include;

• NRA Master Training Counselor
• NRA Training Counselor
• NRA Certified Instructor
• NRA Chief Range Safety Officer
• NRA Range Safety Officers
• Maryland Licensed Private Investigator                

Course Description                 

The course will be divided into four parts;

Within 3 years prior to the submission of an HQL application, an applicant must demonstrate a satisfactory completion of a Firearms Safety Training Course

(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 weapon. An applicant may not be required to fire in excess of 15 yards during qualifications.

Cancellations and Refunds Policy - All registrations and payments are final.            

 Unsafe Range Practices - Anyone exhibiting unsafe range practices, at the sole discretion of the CRSO, or any Instructor, will be removed from the class without recourse or refund. Unsafe practices include, but are not limited to, sweeping yourself or another with your muzzle, failing to follow the Range SOP's, or failure to follow instructionse. 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:
Location: Frederick Chapter Izaak Walton League
                 4719 Reels Mill Road
                 Frederick, MD 21704