Maryland Training Requirements Released

It would appear that Maryland gun owners may no longer casually introduce friends to shooting and firearms safety. From the Maryland State Police:

Unless otherwise exempted, a person may not purchase, rent, or receive a handgun unless they possess a valid Handgun Qualification License (H.Q.L.) issued by the Maryland Department of State Police. Unless otherwise exempted, prior to submitting an application for an H.Q.L. or Handgun Wear/Carry Permit, applicants must complete a firearm’s safety training course by an approved and registered Qualified Handgun Instructor.

The Firearm’s Safety Training Course, for the Handgun Qualification License, shall consist of a minimum of four (4) hours of instruction and affirms the applicant’s safe operation of the firearm which requires firing at least one round of ammunition.

I’m not sure what all the exemptions are, but one would assume that at least one is this formal class since firing a round would require “receiv[ing]” a gun. Otherwise, it would be impossible to meet the training requirements.

Though NRA-certified instructors are eligible to become Qualified Handgun Instructors, they are now required to develop a brand new course curriculum rather than strictly use NRA’s curriculum. NRA’s training division highlights at least one concern on this front since the new curriculum requirements involve teaching legal issues in firearms ownership. This comes from an email sent to certified instructors:

…there is a requirement that instruction must be given on Maryland state law pertaining to firearms and self-defense. Rendering legal advice or interpretation is a task for attorneys, and instructors who are not licensed to practice law may wish to seek legal advice regarding the limits of what they can do in this regard.

So now instructors, in addition to registering with the state for new qualifications and developing a brand new curriculum, must now also consult with an attorney to help them write up their new class contents. That will drive up their costs, and that will likely be passed on to students. Now Maryland has successfully made basic safety training more expensive and harder to teach.

One of the interesting aspects of their requirement to develop a new curriculum is that NRA requires that you not call something an NRA class if you’re not following the NRA curriculum. (That was part of the instructor class when I took it years ago.) That effectively means that people just coming into the shooting sports will no longer associate the NRA brand with teaching firearms safety courses.

If you really want to look at an ultra-creepy perspective, this training database means that Maryland will not only have information on gun owners in the state, but they will also be keeping a list of everyone who even learns how to fire a gun.

33 thoughts on “Maryland Training Requirements Released”

  1. This’ll surely stop the heroine dealng gang members in B’More from shooting each other.

    1. Obviously! I mean, come on, they can’t even effectively touch guns anymore without being certified by the state, so all criminal shootings will end. /snark

    1. On second thought, maybe that is how nanny staters think- the state owns you, so the state is always possessive.

    2. Clearly, it is more important for the state to harass those who want to learn how to handle firearms safely than actually educate students.

  2. I’m sure you realize that the specific intention of this is to destroy the culture. What can’t be accomplished now, can be easily accomplished within a generation or two. This ties in quite nicely with the whole ‘brain washing’ plan.

    1. Yes, I realize that it’s an attempt to hurt our ability to spread a pro-gun culture. That’s why I’m blogging about the topic. We want people to know what is going on since this could easily be spread to other states.

  3. Oh look another law that drives up the barriers to firearm ownership.

    If you want to kill a gun culture one of the best ways is to make it a burden for those just starting out.

    Say you have a friend who’s a bit curious about guns and might want to follow you to the range. Think he’ll want to shell out the money for a course and certification?

    People with a casual interst can become new shooters; new shooters can become experienced shooters and activists.

    If you make it so only the most passionate gun nuts even bother to start out then you’ve done the yeoman’s work of killing a gun culture.

    This is also another permit which like a FOID can be revoked, delayed or not renewed on a whim.

    1. A Maryland resident can always drive to a bordering state gun range without any hassle. You are within 45 miles of another state at any point in Maryland.

  4. Wow!! That is going to kill the local range I used to shoot at. No more Groupons, I guess.

  5. Snark: I like how they say “Firearm’s Safety Act”. You know. Safety OF Firearms, thus the apostrophe.

    On the substantive issue, I’d check with a lawyer first. It sure seems like everywhere else in the Code of Maryland “receive” means to take ownership of, not to handle someone else’s property for a short period without ownership.

    But the natural language term would cover what you say.

    This is the problem with statutes that don’t explicitly define terms…

    1. And then leave it for law enforcement to define.. which then leads to a court defining it and codifying bad law.

    2. What about renting a firearm? Without knowing extreme details on various areas of case law in Maryland, any sort of transaction that involves use of a firearm as part of it could be covered.

  6. (Also, regarding So now instructors, in addition to registering with the state for new qualifications and developing a brand new curriculum, must now also consult with an attorney to help them write up their new class contents.

    It actually only says “may wish to”, not must.

    And frankly that was always excellent advice; giving what amounts to legal advice – beyond “just copying the law into a handout” or “printing out the State’s own guidance” – without someone else to blame if it’s wrong is a liability I wouldn’t want to take on myself if I was an instructor.

    It’d be nice if the laws were so simple and clearly written that that wasn’t useful advice, but we don’t live in that world.

    If I was an instructor there (or anywhere), I’d see about pooling with non-competing ones across the state to pay for a brief we could all use… in any state of operation, not just MD.)

    1. That came from NRA’s email, and I realize that it says “may wish to,” but it’s also pretty clear that they need to cover their butts. In other words, it may only be simply advice as opposed to law, but since instructors must submit this curriculum for the state, they need to be extremely cautious. The state will know if they cross the line on legal advice, even inadvertently.

  7. Wait, if I’m reading this right unless you fall under the “exceptions” (whatever they are) you are not allowed to purchase, rent, or receive a handgun unless they possess a valid Handgun Qualification License (H.Q.L.) which you cannot get unless you complete a firearm’s safety training course first, at this course you are required to fire a handgun that you are NOT allowed to “purchase, rent, or receive” until you have completed the course and gotten your H.Q.L.. Right?

    This would effectively make it illegal to ever even own a gun in Maryland, let alone carry it, would it not?

      1. And it sounds like the first class is just to own a handgun, to carry it requires ANOTHER class, plus you need to re-take the class for every renewal of the license.
        How often does it need to be renewed? I didn’t see that….

        Also, why are state police not allowed to teach the classes? They are the ones saying how the classes must be held, and as law enforcement should be the next best thing to a lawyer for explaining the law.
        Makes no friggin’ sense…..

        1. If you’re not someone important, don’t plan on getting a carry license at all. For all intents and purposes, the only part of this that impacts regular gun owners is the training to purchase, rent, or receive a handgun.

    1. Prior to the current law, Marylanders had to watch a 20 minute video, or take a 10 minute online class, and get a “Maryland Police Training Commission Firearms Safety Training Course Certificate of Completion”.

      No idea if that will be grandfathered in. But NRA instructors always had people watch the video, and then filled out the paperwork and handed out certificates, before the guns came out.

  8. Oh…it’s worse…(more on that in a minute).

    I do want to clarify that “receive” is undefined in the law. By most (and IANAL) folks’ reading of these coming regs, you may allow usage of the arm in question in your possession, but there may be no “transfer” or “rental,” meaning that there is no extended, out of your immediate control, relinquishment of ownership. Again, I will stress, I am not a lawyer.

    The update to MD COMAR (Or MD annotated code, or the regulations that govern exec. branch administration of the law) was supposed to be updated 60 days prior to law going into affect. It hasn’t been. There is supposed to be a 45 day comment and review period; that has passed. There is an exemption to this comment and review period for “emergency legislation.” This legislation passed in Spring and was signed shortly thereafter; MDSP has had 6 months to get this square.

    He’s the kicker (and what is being hotly debated, real time). The new MD law, with regards to “assault weapons” (their words not mine) is shockingly silent upon Short Barreled / NFA arms. MD does not regulate NFA arms. There is no Maryland state application to purchase (absent CLEO sign off). In the MD criminal code one would read something like this: (a) Prohibited.- A person may not possess a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun unless: (2) the short-barreled shotgun or short-barreled rifle has been registered with the federal government in accordance with federal law.

    The new ban specifically names 45 “assault long guns & their copycats defined by a three feature test.” The three feature test is one of the following: 1) threaded barrel / flash hider, grenade launcher, folding/telescoping stock, & has an overall length less than 29 inches.

    Nothing in the law mentions NFA items or SBRs. MSP in it’s meetings with Maryland FFL dealers and SOTs has previously stated that there is no impact to NFA items as they are not regulated beyond the BATFE & NFA 1934, ect, that is until yesterday. I stress again that MD has never considered these type of arms “regulated” like a light barreled AR15 or AK47 (which carries a MD State application, MD state background check, plus NICS, plus 8 day waiting period, ect). Don’t follow? Don’t worry, no one in MD does either.

    The only thing that is apparent in this Charlie Foxtrot is that the “legislative intent” was basically legislative entrapment. MD themselves (the state police and or their elected overlords) have already broken sunshine laws for comment periods on administrative regulations, and there is nothing concrete with a month and 3 days before the law goes into affect.

    Pray for us. We need it.

  9. The instructors up here teaching the Basic NRA course as part of the license requirement typically have a serving LEO or lawyer give the required legal part of the instruction.

    I’m not aware that most of them charge the instructor for their hour of time.

  10. I am a Md resident and I was unaware the law changed that in order to buy we have to have permit like NJ. I did the course last time I purchased. Now they want the seller to have us fire the gun before we buy it?
    This sounds like the MD State Police making up a law that was not written and passed by the governor and legislature. I would like the law # to double check.
    Ok I read the note and it says that a person must get a HQL or and handgun wear/carry permit. What if I want to purchase but not to carry. Does this restrict purchases to only those that have a carry permit?

    1. You need the HQL to purchase, not the carry permit. And you don’t have to fire the gun you’re buying, you have to fire a gun at least once in the course to get your HQL.

    2. No, you must have the HQL to purchase any handgun after October 1, regardless of whether or not you already own one. It is strictly a permit to purchase, not a permit to carry. The carry permit serves as a substitute HQL if you are fortunate enough to have death threats or you carry lots of valuable stuff. In MD, your life is considered of insufficient value to be permitted to protect it.

      Short version: If you want a handgun, buy now. You’re grandfathered in on the firearm if there is an active purchase order in place prior to October 1.

      I personally will be never purchasing another handgun as long as I live here. Mind you, that is purely a principled stand as the state already knows I own firearms due to two regulated long guns (also now banned as of October 1 but I can buy parts to keep the ones I have going indefinitely as they are grandfathered in). But the state knows about nothing else officially and I prefer to keep it that way.

  11. Its good you have PA and WV on two of the sides.

    Maybe we’ll see a future with border area ranges, like the county line liquor stores further south.

  12. Thanks for the clarification but it said HLQ or handgun wear and carry permit. Indicating they are the same.Otherwise it would be and/ or.

    1. I think you’re expecting far too much from a document written by someone who doesn’t believes that every plural word needs an apostrophe. The writer of this document clearly does not have an eye for detail, nor do they have a solid grasp on basic grammar.

  13. I see lawsuits galore on the horizon. In the meantime, how about we petition for reinstatement of poll taxes and reading tests to qualify people to vote?

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