Maryland residents who apply to buy a handgun on or before Sept. 30 will not be required to have a qualification license.
A new state law goes into effect on Oct. 1, requiring residents who purchase handguns to have a handgun qualification license. Because of a spike in gun purchases in the state—attributed to the new law going on the books—there is a backlog of applications in need of processing, according to Maryland State Police.
"In light of the number of currently pending applications—resulting from the unprecedented spike in new applications in recent months—it is a fair, reasoned, and appropriate result for those who are waiting for their pending purchase applications to be processed," a police news release reads.
State employees from five state agencies have been assisting the police in eliminating the backlog, but police don’t expect all requests to be processed by Oct. 1.
Republican elected officials and gun rights advocates criticized the use of state employees to push through purchase applications. They argued allowing employees, who are not sworn law enforcement officers, access to the petitions raised privacy concerns.
But supporters of the new law have fought back, and they have released a radio ad praising the new restrictions on gun ownership.
The new law requires most residents who want to purchase a handgun after Oct. 1 to complete a firearms safety training course, with at least four hours of instruction within three years before purchasing a handgun, according to the state police website.