Starting New Year’s Day, You Can Apply Online to Own a Gun in Maryland

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Photo by Joshuashearn, via Wikimedia Commons

Nowadays, a business, organization or agency that wants to be accessible is better off having a website than sticking with the conventional brick-and-mortar, pen-and-paper model. That includes everyone from your plumber to, now, your state gun licensing authority.

The Maryland State Police Licensing Division is moving its regulated firearm application process online starting in the New Year. Presently, a person who wants to buy a gun has to fill out the 77R form at a licensed gun dealer or Maryland State Police barrack, either of which then forward the application to the Licensing Division. The division then runs a background check on the applicant to make sure that individual is actually allowed to have a gun.

In four days, the Licensing Division will have a new online portal for accepting those applications. Most of the process will remain unchanged: the fee is still $10 and most applicants still need a handgun qualification license (which takes four hours of safety training and a fingerprint background check to obtain) before they can apply to own a gun. The division will also still have a seven-day waiting period for completing the background check.

What will change is the potential for lag time in delivery of paperwork and data processing errors when state police transfer application information from the page to the computer. We’ve come too far in 2016 for a misspelled name or incorrect date of birth to affect the outcome of a handgun purchase application.

Sadly, qualified buyers won’t be able to apply to buy a new gun online right after the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. State police say the new portal will open at 6 a.m. on Jan. 1, after they’ve completed the transition to the online portal.

Ethan McLeod
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