On November 21, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rendered a decision in a case questioning the constitutionality of the Handgun Qualification License (HQL) codified in Md. Public Safety Article, 5-117.1. The Fourth Circuit Court’s opinion is that the HQL law is unconstitutional.

At this time, the HQL law remains in effect and there are no immediate changes in the process to purchase a firearm in Maryland. The opinion of the Fourth Circuit does not become effective until the court issues a mandate.

On December 5, 2023, the State requested a re-hearing before the entire Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. This request is currently being considered by the court. During this re-hearing process, the requirements of the HQL remain in place.

The Maryland State Police will issue updates on the Maryland State Police Licensing Division website and via Advisories as soon as further information becomes available.