PIKESVILLE, Md. (AP) — Maryland State Police say the application process for buying a regulated firearm is going online Jan. 1.

Purchasers currently must complete paperwork by hand and submit it through a gun dealer or a state police barracks.

The police agency said in a statement Tuesday that online applications will increase the ease and efficiency of the process by eliminating legibility issues and decreasing data-entry errors.

Police say every applicant will need an email account and a credit or debit card. The $10 application fee remains the same.

The online applications will go directly to the state police licensing division. That starts the clock ticking on a seven-day waiting period while police conduct a required background check on the applicant.

Maryland regulated firearms include handguns and military or police-style semi-automatic weapons.

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