By Natalie Bailey
Guns, no matter how they’re used, are a hot-button issue these days. They’ve got everyone’s minds turning and gun nuts wondering how they can get their hands on their favorite firearms before they all get bought up. Or prohibited. One way to move things along is to become a FFL dealer . . .
Types of Federal Firearms Licenses
To become a dealer, you’ll need to get your federal firearms license (FFL). There are nine different types of licenses, and they vary based on what you’d like to actually do in the firearms market. The licenses range from manufacturing ammunition to buying and selling firearms to manufacturing or importing destructive devices (think big, fancy, military type weapons). There are classified as follows:
Type 01- Dealer in Firearms/Gunsmithing
Type 02- Pawnbroker
Type 03- Collector of Curios and Relics
Type 06- Manufacturer of Ammunition of Firearms
Type 07- Manufacturer of Firearms/Ammunition
Type 08- Importer of Firearms/Ammunition
Type 09- Dealer in Destructive Devices
Type 10- Manufacturer of Destructive Devices
Type 11- Importer of Destructive Devices
Before going any further, it’s important to point out some of the stipulations the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (also known as ATF) puts on federal firearms licenses. First, you must plan to do transfers for others. It can’t be 100% all personal use. This means you can’t get a FFL simply to buy a whole bunch of guns for yourself. So call your friends and ensure they’re okay with you helping them with transfers and purchases as well.
If you’d like to collect of antique firearms, you can get a Collector of Curios and Relics license, but it will be limited to just that- curios and relics. Second, if you only want to sell at gun shows, you don’t need an FFL. Finally, felons with their gun rights revoked and fugitives from justice need not apply. Although that really should go without saying.
Where Do I Sign Up?
In order to get your FFL, you must first apply for it. The application process consists of filling out a few forms including the application itself, a form to certify your citizenship in the US, and FBI fingerprint cards. All of the necessary materials can be obtained from the ATF’s website. There’s a fee associated with each license, and they vary depending on the type of license you’re applying for.
Once you’ve applied and subsequently been approved, your new FFL will be valid for three years. There is a renewal fee which must be paid every time you renew. The fee is either the same as or less than the original application fee.
If you haven’t gotten as far as actually sending in the application because you are nervous about doing something wrong, want more information on who to order from, or if the forms are too confusing, there are a number websites geared towards giving people advice on how to apply for a FFL. One such site is FFL123.com. It provides guides to follow which help answer commonly asked questions, tell step-by-step how to fill out all of the forms, and also explain how to set up the FFL in several different ways (as a sole proprietor, LLC, partnership, etc.).
What Can I Do Once I Have My License?
After you’ve received your license, you can begin to get yourself set up with wholesalers. There are literally thousands of them which means access to everything firearms, hunting, shooting, archery, and tactical related. Looking through the different options for merchandise can help you decide the direction you’d like to go with your sales.
Of course, there’s no shortage of stringent laws and record-keeping requirements that go along with firearms sales. It’s very important you follow them in order to run a good business. That may sound overwhelming, but most laws are already known to most firearms enthusiasts. A person must be eighteen to purchase a long gun (rifle or shotgun) and twenty-one to purchase a handgun. The same applies to the ammunition for each of those categories. Straw purchases (Person A buying a gun for Person B because Person B wouldn’t be able to pass a background check) are illegal. Basic stuff. And, of course, if you run into a question you can’t find an answer to on your own, you can always consult the ATF. (Seriously. They’re actually actually nice people.)
It takes some thinking to decide if a federal firearms license is right for you. But if it is, good luck and happy selling!