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Day 36 -Handgun Qualification License

Today, Senator Bailey was honored to present a Senate Resolution to Special Agent Augustus “Gus” Aquino.  Special Agent Aquino recently retired after a 34 year law enforcement career working for Homeland Security and specializing in child exploitation cases.  Senator Bailey worked with Special Agent Aquino when the Senator first started his law enforcement career and had worked with him on cases throughout his career.  Senator Bailey was also pleased to welcome a few of Special Agent Aquino’s law enforcement colleagues to Annapolis, including Resident Agent in Charge Frank McGarvey, who the Senator has also worked with throughout his career.  Senator Bailey also met with students and staff from Stevenson University who were in Annapolis for Independent Higher Education Day.  They discussed higher education policy and how the General Assembly can support our State’s independent Colleges and Universities. 

Senator Bailey presented two more bills to the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee aimed at protecting and expanding law-abiding Marylanders’ Second Amendment rights.  Senate Bill 880, Firearms – Dealer’s License and Handgun Permit – Notice of Expiration, requires the Secretary of State Police to provide notice to a holder of a firearms dealer’s license and to a holder of a handgun permit of the impending expiration of the dealer’s license or handgun permit at least 60 days before the expiration of the license or permit.  This issue was brought to Senator Bailey by a constituent who held a handgun permit.  He received no notification before the expiration of his permit, and the permit expired.  As a result, he and anyone else whose handgun permit expires must go through the entire application process again as if they are being issued a new permit. 

In the process of drafting this bill to address this issue, Senator Bailey also learned that holders of a firearm dealer’s license also is not informed before the expiration of their licenses. There are nearly 27,000 handgun permit holders in the State of Maryland.  These permits do not all expire at the same time; some expire after two years and some expire after three years.  While the State Police’s systems are now automated, but the positive effects of this automation will not help the nearly 27,000 permit holders who expire during the next three calendar years.  The state currently provides a renewal notice for other licenses that are issued by the state such as Driver’s Licenses, car registrations, trailer registrations, and boat registrations.  Senator Bailey believes that holders of handgun permits and dealer’s licenses should be given the same notice.

The second bill Senator Bailey presented was Senate Bill 881 – Firearms – Handgun Qualification License – Firearms Safety Training.  This bill would repeal a provision of law that the State Police has interpreted to require an applicant to fire a single round with a handgun before the HQL can be issued.  This single round requirement does not demonstrate proficiency or accuracy and requires an individual to travel to a range to discharge a handgun.  This same demonstration can be performed with dummy ammunition, where the person would show safe carry, loading, and firing of a handgun without having to travel to a range.  The most significant barrier posed by this requirement is the difficulty it causes prospective HQL holders living in areas that have either few or no gun ranges for the prospective holder to carry out this live fire requirement.  In these jurisdictions, it is harder particularly for residents who have lower incomes and those who rely on mass transit to fulfill this requirement and obtain the HQL.