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Maryland State Police to start accepting online firearms license applications

Those wishing to purchase a firearm from a dealer will be able to apply for a license online come the new year.

The application to buy a regulated firearm will be electronic starting Jan. 1. Applicants will still have to provide the same information as they did on Form 77R, which is currently filled out by hand, but applicants are now required to use a credit or debit card for the $10 fee, according to a news release from Maryland State Police.

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The Mount Airy town council voted 4-0 with one abstention to not approve an ordinance that would allow a home-base firearm business Monday night.

According to the release, people will be able to apply for a license using a computer, phone or tablet. In order to apply, the person must have a valid email address because the State Police Licensing Division will use it to communicate about the application.

Once the application is submitted by the dealer or Maryland State Police barrack, it goes to the State Police Licensing Division, which starts the weeklong waiting period during which a mandatory background check is conducted to make sure the potential buyer is eligible to purchase a regulated firearm, according to the release.

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The licensing division is providing seminars for firearm dealers as well as barrack duty officers who deal with secondary firearm sales, according to the release.

To change to online applications is made after input from firearm dealers, and it is thought to be the first time dealers were included in focus groups about the firearms purchasing process, according to the release.

State police said in the release that the goal of the new application is to make it easier and more efficient to purchase a regulated firearms if the person is eligible. Completing forms online will help with legibility issues and decrease the amount of errors from data processing.

The Mount Airy Town Council will discuss an ordinance that would change zoning to allow home occupations in residences during their monthly meeting Monday, Dec. 5. The ordinance, which was brought about after resident Mike Wonsala applied to bring his gun-selling business to his Mount Airy home, has spawned two petitions — one from Wonsala in support of the ordinance, the other by Ashley Ruocco against it.

"The Maryland State Police Licensing Division staff is continuing their efforts to promptly approve those eligible to purchase regulated firearms, while ensuring those prohibited by law are not approved to complete the purchase process," the release states.

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