I’m a Flight Test Engineer at Patuxent River NAS and thought for the longest time that it would be next to impossible to secure a Carry Permit in Maryland because of all the misnomers and misinformation that is constantly being passed around. Stuff like you have to: be a doctor or a lawyer; or you need to own your own business and routinely carry more than $5,000 in cash with you on a daily basis; or, my personal favorite, you need to have a credible and provable threat against your life. Let’s be honest with that last one. If that’s the case, by the time the State gets around to doing their job and allowing you to do something that we are guaranteed by our Nation’s Constitution, it likely will no longer be needed, and not because Law Enforcement has done their job.
Several years ago, the Maryland State Police Licensing Division changed their Standard Operating Procedures when it comes to issuing Carry Permits. As long as you are an upstanding citizen that can legally purchase a firearm, are able and willing to go through the classes and qualifications, which when using an outfit like PTP, is more of a joy and good time than a chore, and are willing to follow the guidelines for submitting the appropriate paperwork, you are golden. Granted, I still have misgivings about what we need to go through as residents of Maryland, but that’s not the point. The most common advice I got from friends and family who know my history, understand my background with firearms, and support my desire to carry as a function of protecting myself and my family, was to move out of state. That’s not a good idea and not nearly as easy as they make it seem given that my career is here, and likely always will be.
Anyway, I’ve been handling firearms and shooting since I was 6. My cousins, siblings, and I were taught at a very early age to respect firearms of all types and styles and to handle them in a respectful and cautious matter. Different than the perspective of most, I assume, that once you remove the mystery and understand the dangers, you will view them as tools meant to do a job.
As an example, above is a small part of what was available at the reception we had on my grandmother's farm, after my grandfather's funeral.
A gun isn’t a dangerous item, it’s an inanimate object that only does the willing of the user…there are no evil firearms…only evil people who wish to do evil with them. A sticker on a door, a placard on the wall, or the general knowledge that a firearm isn’t welcome in a particular location is only going to deter the law abiding citizen who has no desire to do harm with one. Those countermeasures don’t mean a damn thing to someone wishing to do evil. It’ll take some doing, but if you look hard enough, there are plenty of stories of armed civilians stopping violence with equal and appropriate force when presented with a bad guy wishing to do bad things. Unfortunately, they’re not front page news, mostly likely because they didn’t result in mass casualties, don’t invoke fear, and serve as proof against the sentiments of all of the anti’s that think that it’s crazy that anybody would willing own and use a firearm of their own.
A little more about my background and how my wife and I have chosen to raise our children, safely, in a house with firearms. My children started learning at an early age, what they are, how to handle them cautiously, how to use them appropriately, how to clean them, how to store them, etc. It’s different for all, and it’s up to the owner and parent to decide when your spouse and/or children is ready and able to understand what they are learning. My son started shooting with me when he was 7. He’s 13 now, and quite proficient. Enjoys the bonding time that’s involved in a day of going to a range and working on improving his skill. Our daughter is currently 9, and while knowledgeable, doesn’t particularly like to shoot…so we don’t make her. Both can handle a loaded firearm in a safe manner, but are always supervised and taught before and during. Repetition is key.
I digress and apologize for the detour, back to the matter at hand. With the teachings from PTP, the willingness of the team that Ryan has assembled, and the other students that they have instructed, the process for obtaining a Carry Permit for MD isn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds.
For starters, if you are employed on a military installation and have a clearance, it’s seems to be more of a formality than anything else. Granted, you will need to meet the criteria, which essentially all falls within the bounds of what is required to obtain a HQL, which is just another form of identification that MD has imparted onto its citizens as a way to regulate and collect money from the residents in my opinion, but is the only way to legally purchase a restricted firearm in Maryland. Either way, it is what it is, and if you want to carry legally in our state, it’s just something you need to suck up and do. Take the classes, which as mentioned previously, is not nearly as bad as you are thinking it is, and with the help of not only Ryan and his team, but also the other class participants, you will probably learn something and more than certainly enjoy yourself. Personally, I’m really looking forward to joining up with them again for some of the more advanced classes that they offer. You’ll also need to get your LiveScan Fingerprints done, which are usually offered as a service at the beginning of class. Those fingerprints have an expiration though, so that’s when your clock starts. You will have 30 days to submit your paperwork, not from when the class is over, but from when the prints are taken. You’ll also need the certification that you are presented with at the conclusion of the class, which is not nearly as difficult or daunting as they initially sound with the insight and experience of the instructors that you will be assisted by. Get yourself the paperwork, a cold beer, and have a seat. It’s going to take more than a few minutes to write your justification letter (examples of which Ryan can provide should you need it, as well as some searching on Google), make sure your package is filled out, compiled correctly, contains all that is necessary, and is ready to be sent off. Assuming it’s at a reasonable time, mostly as a respectful courtesy from me, Ryan and his team make it very clear that you can reach out with any and all questions that you have.
Get your package in the mail and prepare to wait. I believe they say it’ll take 60 days to process and believe me, they seem to strive for taking as much of that up as possible. I’m sure that they are busy and have a lot they need to get through, but they certainly don’t seem to be in any kind of rush. After, what you are sure has been more than the allotted time has passed, you will be contacted by a representative from the MSP to schedule a face-to-face meeting. It mostly seems to serve as a final check and to clarify anything that they have questions about, but it’s not an unpleasurable experience. If they have any more questions or require anything else, they’ll contact you, otherwise it’s more waiting.
Eventually, assuming you met the criteria, and filled out the package correctly, and have what they deem is a justifiable reason (which as mentioned earlier several times, has gotten to be significantly less restrictive), you will receive your State of Maryland Permit to Carry a Handgun. Check the information on the front for accuracy. Check the information on the back for any restrictions. Again, contact Ryan and his guys if you have any questions.