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!

82 Responses to Thinking About Getting Your Own FFL?

  1. I’m sorry, but I believe you are incorrect about not being an ffl to sell at a gunshow. If you are selling with the intention of deriving income, whether at a show or a shop, you need a license. If you just want to sell off your personal collection, even if you have a table, then you are correct.

    • Look more into it.

      The prasing of the law states that an individual that exerts “Considerable time” in buying & selling arms.

      That being said, what is determined as “Considerable time” ?

      More over, statistically speaking, not many have ever been charged or arrested for selling 1, 2 or even 3 guns/ yr at profit. Noe 10 or 20+ you had better not try.

      The primary point is intent. Do you buy and sell with the “intent” to make a profit? That is the more important question.

      • There was an article on here awhile ago about a lawyer’s retired dad being arrested by the BATFE for buying and selling a large amount of guns without a FFL at gun shows.

        Its possible to sell at gun shows without an FFL, but if you want to do it often, then getting a FFL would be prudent.

      • The primary point, Gtfoxy, is whatever the DEA thinks the primary point is the day they notice you.

      • Damn
        You people need to get a fucking life. If you cannot read a book or a few pieces of paper and follow directions then what the F…,k are you doing messing with firearms. Obviously your to mum butted or too saggy to freaking understand basic laws and guidelines. Get out of your anal retention desiease and learn to “sipher” jet hero duuuh ought+ought = two. My middle school kids down the block has better arguments than this, shit go play the damn lottery too damn many whiney limp dicks in America as it, is just add to the pot, go bunk with Obama he’ll show you how to take it instead of give it.” I walk softly and carry big sticks, guns, & hand Fernandez, and if that don’t work fuck it blow it up.” You need to join the cause not get infected by it, bone up study open your mouth only if your 100% positive your correct.

        • Hahahhaa! I agree. Shit birds as my USMC grand dad would call them. If you can’t pull your pants up on your own it’s sure no societies prerogative to do it for you.

        • Great, a complete illiterate posting here complaining that people being careful how they fill out federal forms are stupid. Nice job making intelligent, responsible gun owners look bad. Uneducated and ignorant people like you are why private gun ownership in the US will be contested forever.

        • Stan,

          I’m a little late to the party here, but your comment is wildly entertaining–so much so that I cannot resist responding. I can only hope that you’re subscribed to comments.

          The irony of a grammatically impoverished, incoherent rant (so devoid of content that it must depend on profanity and personal attack) being used to challenge the conversation in this thread…well, that irony simply cannot be overstated.

          A few questions and comments.

          -Why drop the F-bomb one time and then bleep it out in the next line?
          -How many books and pieces of paper are you reading? I only ask because you criticize others here for their efforts to be in step with the law and you encourage them to read–but your little rant is so incoherent that I can’t imagine you’re reading much more than your little sister’s social media pages.
          -Please learn the difference between “your” and “you’re.” The former shows ownership. The latter is a contraction formed by combining the words “you are.” If you cannot handle the difference, mabe you should just resort to always saying “you are” where appropriate.
          -How does one “get out of anal retention disease?” Is anal retentiveness a disease?
          -ought + ought = ought. Not two.
          -“Your” middle school kids down the block must be really smart. I hope you’re paying your child support.
          -Speaking of those kids, you would say, “they have” not “they has.” It’s subject verb agreement. But being the voracious reader you are, you’ll know this already, I’m sure.
          -What on earth do the lottery and Obama have to do with anything?
          -If anyone is infected, it is you. Certainly with the kind of crazed, uninformed zeal that characterizes the scariest segment of gun owners. I don’t want to know about any other infections.
          -Please take your own advice about when to open your mouth. As they say, it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. In this case, no doubt can possibly remain.
          -One final word. If you have to drop numerous f-bombs, talk about “limp dicks,” and dream up bizarre and manifestly assinine remarks about giving it to and getting it from Obama, you probably don’t actually have anything to add to the conversation.

        • FINALLY! A well spoken and obviously well educated (Rhodes Scholar Stan?) posting. This post is what dreams are made of, nightmares yes, but those count as dreams. The use of spellchecker would, I believe, be lost on a miscreant such as Stan. Keep up the good work Stan. You truly are “America’s safest place” for idiocracy. Thank You Sir!

        • I only had one question. I have no trouble buying firearms. I have a small Hydrographic business at home and I want to be able to refinish firearms with Duracoat, Cerakote, and Hydrographic patterns. As well as repair firearms. That’s it. No selling or buying. I have NO felony’s no Domestic abuse, nothing. But, what do the ATF and/or FBI look for when you apply for a FFL? I mean, do they talk to friends, neighbors, teacher’s you had in high school? What do they Investigate to determine if they are going to let you have a FFL or not? I have all those log’s, and forms, tags, a lockable Closet, What do they want to know. What type of questions does the ATF agent that comes to talk to you ask? What do they look for in the shop part of the house besides a way to lock up firearms?

    • “Second, if you only want to sell at gun shows, you don’t need an FFL.”

      This statement is just plain false. If you’re engaged in the business of buying and selling firearm you need an FFL. The ATF does actively prosecute this, we had a flea market seller arrested here this past week and of course he thought that he was not a dealer and did not need an FFL.

      • They’re talking about private sales in that line, i.e. a guy selling his gun at a gun show because he wants a certain price. You’re inferring that they’re talking about making business out of sales.

        • I get that, but there are the guys out there who claim everything is their personal collection that they’ve been using. Those guys are actively engaged in the business of buying and selling firearms and they need and FFL despite the lies they tell themselves and others. Now, if you go to a show and sell one gun to someone it’s no big deal. You get a table at every show and sell away, the ATF is going to come knocking. We just had this happen here to a guy that was selling at flea markets and only selling long guns. His reasoning was that you don’t have to do a background check on long guns (PA requires all pistol be transferred though an FFL – with some limited family exceptions). This fool was advertising “Dave’s guns – buy, sell, trade, old, new, collectables” Today he’s sitting in a federal lockup not able to make bail.

        • I can only speak of the Fort Worth area, but ATF has busted people for selling their PERSONAL COLLECTION. It cost one guy 50K between the guns they took and the lawyers got. Make no mistake in this area they will bust you if your selling WITHOUT an FFL. ATF has the private collection high on their radar.

          If you think you can be at a show and buy a gun from A and sell it an hour to B your are done pure and simple

      • The DEA clarified its views in a case featured on this site. From FL, if I remember correctly. The number, value, and frequency of transactions seem to matter, but so do your own circumstances. If you have little other income you are toast. If you are very rich and just happen to want a new Perazzi every few months, selling the old one, well, that’s an understandable hobby interest.

        • The DEA is the Drug Enforcement Agency. The federal agency that is tasked with oversight of firearms is the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives). If the DEA shows up at your gun shop, they are there for something other than a compliance inspection. : – D

      • The intention of the statement was “If your only intention is to sell at gun shows, the ATF doesn’t necessarily require you to have a FFL.” In fact, if you take a look at an application for a FFL, Question 18a asks “Do you intend to sell firearms only at gun shows?” “If yes, do not submit application.”
        May have been a poorly worded point.

      • “Money” as per Art. I § 10 of the U.S. Constitution, is not “income” as per the Federal Reserve Act § 7, period.

        Wake the hell up.

        • The constitution cite addresses the prohibition of states creating their own legal tender. The Federal Reserve cite addresses the division of Fed earnings. Neither define income per the IRS. See 26 U.S. Code § 61 – Gross income defined. Btw, I am an IRS Revenue Agent.

    • Incorrect, it caries by state. My state of Oklahoma requires no FFL or background checks for private party sales and private party transfers of firearms, this includes the gun shows.

  2. I’ve looked into the website FFL123.com and they have a pretty bad reputation from what my google-fu found.

    • Really?
      I purchased their package and I thought it was well worth it.
      Communication with them was timely and friendly.
      I thought the information provided was valid, straight forward and I could not find any gaping holes in what they provided. Of course there are plenty of disclaimers that your local and state laws need to be reviewed. Obviously there are dozens of different business models and they are certainly not all covered by the site but you should consult with a CPA or Lawyer when it comes to that, anyway.

      What are the issues ppl have with them?

      • Primarily that they’re selling you resources that are freely available both directly from the ATF themselves and from around the internet.

        There’s nothing mystical; getting an FFL is not a giant hedge maze. If anything the FFL is the easiest part! It’s the business structure, the local zoning and other considerations that are the real pain of becoming a licensee. Selling people a packet of info you could google in 15 minutes is a clever way to make a buck off of telling people doing things the wrong way will get you in trouble with the feds.

        It won’t, by the way. They’ll usually go out of their way to make corrections to the application and get you compliant and licensed. If in doubt, check with the local field division or even ask a nearby FFL to put you in contact with their agent.

        • So, say I make $200 an hour.

          Exactly how much time would they have to save me in order to justify me using them to compile all the necessary steps into one neat, tidy “program” so I don’t waste $1000 in my OWN time?

          Oh, and I just looked………they charge UNDER forty bucks.

          So, what are you, minimum wage mcdonald’s floor scrubber?

          For most EVERYONE else in the U.S., saving an HOUR of time is more than paid for by this program.

  3. Your first mistake on the posting of this article is a picture of and FFL. Even though it is expired a clever person with the right software could use this as a format of forge one. I have scene several and some people have even tried to use a fake to buy guns. BE SURE you know who you are giving a copy to. Never sign the original, When you get your FFL make a copy and either get a large stamp of photo shop the words FILE COPY in 1″ letters.

    Also you need to be aware of any state laws that have requirements you need to be knowledge ( and I not even going to mention CA, I am from there).

    • There is no problem at all with posting a picture of an FFL. I’ve had my FFL for a few years now and each FFL dealer that sends me a copy is also checked through the atf’s EZ check online website. https://www.atfonline.gov/fflezcheck/ Furthermore, your FFL must be signed. I have been specifically told this from the ATF agent that approved my FFL. What I think you meant to say was…before signing the FFL make a high quality scan, so that it can be printed later on and signed for those FFL’s who want an originally signed copy. When it comes to transferring from FFL to FFL even to the state of Kalifornia, as a federally licensed dealer we are bound by federal laws. For example…I am not bound by a California State law as a Florida Federally licensed dealer if sending a gun to another FFL. But a California FFL is bound by the sales he makes to his local state customers. If instead I decide to sell directly to a California State individual with my florida FFL, then yes…it behoves me to know if that weapon is legal in that state.

      • Just to add that as a Florida FFL I wouldn’t even be able to sell to a california Resident without using a California FFL.

  4. What is the difference between type 06 and type 07?? typo?

    Type 06- Manufacturer of Ammunition of Firearms
    Type 07- Manufacturer of Firearms/Ammunition

    • Type 6 is strictly for manufacturing ammo.
      Type 7 is both firearms and ammo; FFL may also
      be a dealer.

  5. I have a Type 03 FFL (Collector of Curios and Relics) and it’s been very handy; any time I purchase a firearms that’s 50 years old or older, I can simply have it directly sent to my house. No FFL middleman fee, no background check. It only costs $30 for 3 years, and has paid for itself many times over.

    I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a Type 01 FFL (Dealer) but there’s a lot more paperwork, and the fee is a lot higher ($200 for 3 years, $90 to renew). Maybe after I retire.

  6. I remember reading an article–here?-stating that the ATF was trying to push the “kitchen table” FFLs out of business. I don’t remember now why they wanted to do that, but I seem to recall that their excuse was that these home based businesses were not selling enough firearms. Any one? If this is correct, and the article suggests that you can’t get one just for your own buying, why does the ATF care?

    • This was true back in the Clinton day when they were trying to reduce the number of FFLs to drive up prices and create a bottleneck in the supply chain. There are plenty of kitchen table FFLs that have been licensed in the last few years. The ones I use all say the same thing. The ATF is not the problem, it’s the local zoning issues and getting a variance to run a business in a residential area. The ATF requires that you have all your local/state paperwork in order before they’ll issue the FFL.

      • Very true, just received my FFL 01 yesterday. I operate out of my house. Set up an LLC, had to get a retail business permit, and there was a single page paper with guidance from the town for operating a home based business (things like no employees who don’t live at the premises, no open/closed signs, etc). The ATF Agent also had a copy and had me sign and date it. Of note, this is my town’s ordinance, ordinances and zoning for other areas may preclude you from getting an FFL.

        On a side-note, the ATF was incredible. Great lady, awesome service, and in case you were wondering, I received the FFL in the mail 11 days after my interview. Yes… 11 days!!!

        If anyone has questions about the process, I’ll answer the best I can based on my experience, feel free to reach out.

        Aaron

        • im in the prose’s of getting my 01 ffl nerves about the interview. Any advice on what the questions they ask you would be helpful. Have all the paper work that is required zoning,LLC,tax id#,exet, just want to know what are some of ? they ask. Thanks for the help!!! shoot strait and be safe fellow gun owners!!!

        • Don’t really think about it as an interview, from what I read, and in my own experience, it’s more of a conversation where they go over the regulations. They don’t even inspect the premises. I asked her the chances of getting debuted and the IOI told me “none”. I said “well isn’t there some sort of decision that needs to made?” She told me “I’m here aren’t I? They already did the background and I already verified your paperwork, I wouldn’t be here if we weren’t going to issue the license”.

          Does that put your mind at ease? Email me at Aaron@work defense.com and I’ll send you the checklist they have you initial.

          Aaron

        • Hey Aaron,

          Ron here I plan to apply for my FFL1. What advice do you have that will make the process go easier? At which point will I have to interview?

          Thanks in advance.
          Ron

    • The way the Clinton administration did this was by requiring all local zoning regs to be followed.

      Many “kitchen table” FFL’s in the early 90’s were just buying guns for themselves and a few other people. They were certainly in the “small potato(e)” level of business.

      But the FFL application regs were changed in the Clinton administration to require that an FFL applicant MUST comply with all local city/town/county/state zoning regs to conduct business at their home address. For many urban FFL’s, this was an impossible barrier to overcome.

      For people in residential areas to conduct business, you typically need to approach your zoning board that you need a home-based business zoning application, or your need a zoning variance or “conditional use permit” – and these variances or permits are set up to vanish once you sell the property to someone else or you let the business license lapse. Getting these variances will often require mailing notification of your request for a variance to every property owner within a radius of “X” feet, and they will get copies of your proposed variance. IOW, all your neighbors will know you’re applying for a FFL.

      If you look at the app for a FFL today, you’ll see a check box asking whether you’ve got all the zoning issues nailed down. If you don’t, your app is rejected.

      • One guy at work had gotten his FFL. He said not only did he have to notify his neighbors, he had to get their _permission_ to get his FFL I never understood that, but after reading this I guess it was some type of zoning issue for him to have a business there.

  7. I’m not interested in the BATFE inviting themselves into my home whenever they feel like it. Therefore, I will continue to support my local FFL holders. They seem to have no problem coming up with what I want eventually as long as I have money.

    • “I’m not interested in the BATFE inviting themselves into my home whenever they feel like it. ”

      I find this a rather unpleasant prospect also. REAL MEN MAKE APPOINTMENTS. It’s the way business is done. You need an appointment to see them; fair is only fair.

      • Unless they have a warrant they must call in advance prior to coming to audit you. This is direct from the ATF agent that serves my area.

        • Alex is 100% correct, the “ATF can come to your house/shop any time and audit you” line is simply FUD used to dissuade people from getting an FFL. The same goes for people claiming the ATF has similar powers if you own any NFA toys.

  8. One thing that I think is very important to mention is the consideration of ITAR Fees for certain FFL classes.
    These days, ignoring ITAR requirements can land you in deep expensive doodoo.

    I think it puts an undue financial burden on kitchen/SMB FFLs. However the rules are crystal clear and you simply need to follow them.
    You will need a lot of friends which buy guns frequently to cover those expenses. Your three buddies that buy a gun a year, won’t cut it.

    In other words, you need a sustainable business model to justify certain levels of FFLs. This should not keep you from becoming an FFL but I would start small and move up from there, once you have a customer base that can sustain the business. Don’t start your kitchen table operation with a FFL 06, 07, and 10, on day one.

    And you can still be a kitchen table FFL, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you follow your local ordinances, keep good records, general good business practices and can present your local ATF friend a decent environment during the f2f interview.
    You don’t need to rent office space to make the interview but don’t have your crying baby crawling around the kitchen table.

    I just recently checked with two of the cities and counties I have homes in, they were very helpful and provided plain English explanations on what home business practices are excepted and what is not recommended or a violation.

    I would suggest to keep you inquiry generic and not start out with “I want to sell guns from my back porch”, just in case your local clerk is not a big fan of guns.

    Especially in this economy, local govt’ is happy to see new commerce, new businesses inquiring to establish themselves in their taxable region. Just proceed with some common sense and tread lightly, depending on where you live and want to establish your business.

    Also, use some of the FFL-Finder tools, to determine if A) there is competition and B) more importantly, other FFLs have gotten the go-ahead to operate in a residential area. This can also help you if you run into resistance getting your business permit/license.

    And….form a corp/llc with a mailing address other than your residence. You do not want your home address on publicly available documents. Don’t name your corp after your name. Don’t even name it anything related to firearms. You will be able to avoid lots of hassle that way, and protect your personal information. Your FFL will be in the business (dba) name but the business will be owned by the corp/llc. Having a corp will also help you with the ATF rules as far as who can handle the firearms under the FFL. Which makes range trips with NFA stuff, less of a legal minefield.

    Once you get into the SOT and NFA area, I would highly suggest to spend some $ on qualified legal advise, to ensure you do it by the book. You don’t want your business investment/life ruined because your buddy got pulled over with NFA items, heading to the full auto demonstration for some potential clients.

    It may seem like a huge hill to climb but once you read through all the regulations and sites like FFL123, it is not that difficult and with the proper planning, just about any goal oriented person can do it.

    Good luck

    PS: I purchased the FFL123 package and I thought it was worth the money. I guess others have had less than positive experiences. I am not promoting them specifically, i am just referring to them as part of my personal experiences.
    I am sure they are not the only game in town and if others are equally priced, getting multiple packages from different vendors/sites, would not be unreasonable.

    • “One thing that I think is very important to mention is the consideration of ITAR Fees for certain FFL classes.”

      Correct. It’s about $2400 _annually_ for an 07/08. Don’t think that just because you’re not actually manufacturing that you don’t have to pay. There are limited scenarios where you don’t have to, but you’re dealing with another organization (the State Dept). Generally, the ATF now won’t grant you an 07/08 unless you show you have made arrangements with the State Dept. If you need to d some “one off” custom manufacturing, it’s MUCH cheaper to work out an arrangement with an existing 07 until you have the capital and cashflow to jump to an 07/08.

      • The ATF does no such thing. They don’t care either way if you’ve made arrangements for ITAR or not, and it did not come up at any point during my interview to become a licensed manufacturer.

        Seek legal counsel regarding the ITAR requirements. ITAR registration is VOLUNTARY for anyone who certifies they do not intend to export. A gunsmith working from home has no obligation to file ITAR and empty their bank account annually to the State Department. Again, if in doubt there is simply no substitute for good legal counsel.

        • Not quite true, at least according to the Dept of State. I called their hotline (the ATF agent gave me the number when I had my FFL interview) and they said that an 07 (manufacturer) had to pay ITAR regardless of whether they made anything, exported anything, etc. If you get an 07, you pay ITAR.

          Now with that said, that’s only what they told me on the hotline. They may give out erroneous information to be on the cautious side. They may just be flat out wrong (I’m sure I wasn’t speaking with an attorney or legal scholar on the other line). The way the law reads, it would be my opinion that ITAR isn’t required unless exporting, but especially not if you don’t even make anything. As I said, I’m just passing on information I received from the Dept of State (which may or may not be accurate).

  9. “you don’t need an FFL at gun shows”

    A Bremerton, former Bremerton, WA police officer named Roy Alloway might be able to explain this subject in a little depth for you….

    • I put in my 2 cents on this further up in the comments, but just for good measure I’ll put it in here too. On the ATF application for a FFL, on question 18a it asks “Do you intend to sell firearms only at gun shows?” “If yes, do not submit application.”
      Therefore, technically speaking, you don’t. However, ATF also limits this to “occasional” sales. Occasional is not a very specific number, but if you (an arbitrary you, not you specifically) think you may be crossing the line into looking like a dealer, consult the ATF with how many they’d consider “occasional.” The people sitting in jail for doing it most likely knew they were playing with fire.

  10. No mention of home inspections, which is what kept me from getting my ffl. An allowance for the ATF to drop by whenever they want and inspect inventory and the registered address? Can they really do that? Just the rumor that it was possible was enough to stop me.

  11. One part of the law that goes with having a FFL is that your place of business must be open to visits from the BATFE 24/7.That is the reason I don’t have a FFL because I don’t want to have them knocking on my door and just walking into my house.Though I would like to have a FFL,I have thought about putting an old shipping container by my house to use as a business address,it would be hard for someone to break into also.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

    • As posted elsewhere this is simply FUD used to dissuade people from getting an FFL. The ATF representatives must arrange an appointment during posted business hours in advance to inspect your inventory. Additionally, they cannot inspect anything beyond the stated business assets and premises. e.g. if you set aside a work room and have a gun safe specifically for the business, but have other gun safes elsewhere they can only inspect the business assets.

  12. – There is no requirement for the ATF to schedule an appointment when they’re performing a compliance inspection, however, they will visit during your posted business hours.
    – You must list your business hours when you’re applying for your FFL. I believe you do it again when you’re renewing your FFL. Renewals are so fast to turn in (not necessarily receive) that it’s a no-brainer.
    – They can only inspect once per year.

    I presume many FFL dealers are given appointments because a good number of dealers keep odd hours- closed on Wednesdays during deer season, for example. There are a LOT more compliance inspections than we’ve seen in the past. 68,000 FFLs and 13,000 inspections per year. The days of being in business for 30 years and only seeing one compliance inspection are over.

    The biggest responsibility of a type 01 FFL dealer is 4473 accuracy, followed closely behind inventory accuracy, but that’s usually easier. The ATF wants perfect 4473s. We have three sets of eyes that review each 4473 when it’s filled out. It is tough and each 4473 requires scrutiny. Exacting scrutiny. If you think you can keep compliant on 4473s by selling a gun or two a month, you’ll probably find that it’s not worth your time because of the responsibility placed on the dealer for perfect records.

  13. Anyone successful run an FFL out of a rented house?
    We just rented one that has a separate out building, and the area is actually zoned for commercial. The whole thing would probably get scuttled due to the HOA, but I was just curious.

    • Technically speaking, you can get a FFL out of a rented space. You just need to get permission from your landlord. HOA can be a pain but if it’s zoned commercial, it can’t hurt to try if you’re interested in getting your FFL.

  14. This article is somewhat misleading in the fact that it’s not that simple to obtain a Type 1 license. Not only do you need a place a business, but they will inspect your place of business before they issue. Plus your local chief LEO has to sign off and you need the appropriate city/county/state licenses first.

    While the ATF tries to conduct inspections during business hours, they have the right to inspect 24/7.

    For the average Joe, a Type 3 license is a wonderful license to have. Not only does it allow you to purchase firearms over 50 years old AND have them shipped directly to you, most online dealers offer discounts to FFL holders, including Type 3’s.

    A Type 3 license holder is subject to inspections as well, but it is at the convenience of the licensee, not the ATF. You can also chose whether to have them visit you at home or schedule a visit at their office. Record keeping rules still apply.

    • You’ve got a couple misinformed statements here. First of all, it can be, but is not always entirely complicated to get your Type 01 FFL. The ATF does want to meet you at your proposed licensed location, but if it’s your home or something like that, they’re not going to be looking in your bathroom cupboards or anything like that. Especially if you designate a certain area, such as an office or spare bedroom, as your licensed location. Or one office out of an office building. Second, the LEO does not need to sign off on your application; s/he only needs to be sent a copy. Finally, the ATF does not have the right to inspect 24/7. They inspect during business hours, hence the reason for putting business hours on your app.
      99% of the time, the ATF inspectors are pretty cool people who want to help you get your license, not put you in a tough spot.

  15. websearch: Reese deming NM

    there might be a couple of reasons why one may not want an FFL, you just gotta weigh the benefit / cost

  16. Hi all. I’m an FFL123.com customer, and if I may I’d like to tell you about my experience with them so people can base their judgement on an actual customer’s experience rather than random internet reviews from people who haven’t tried the product.

    First – Yes, a lot of the information the FFL123 membership is providing can be found on the ATF website. The advantage with the FFL123 site is that its all right there, organized in a logical fashion, with links to the ATF regulations that are cited. There is no need to chase links from one page of regulations to the next. Its laid out for easy access and streamlined to be easily understood. In all honesty, no responsible person should trust information they Googled “in 15 minutes.” It can literally take hours to thoroughly understand the regulations that you will be subject to upon receiving your FFL. If you’re applying for an FFL, its imperative that you do your research before hand. I’m not saying you should be happy to use the FFL123 site as your only resource during the application process, but it is a great supplement.

    Second – What makes the FFL123 membership well worth the money is that you’re receiving far more than what you find on the ATF website. You receive advice and instruction from someone who has first-hand experience with the entire process. Can the application be done without a FFL123 membership? Of course. But the site offers advice and links for everything you may encounter along the way. Every topic is covered, including the possible business structures, zoning issues, etc. There are links for theses subjects which can help members find any special laws they may encounter in their state. Another advantage of the membership is that they cover what happens AFTER you’ve been approved. Distributors, advice on record keeping and how to be ready in case the ATF comes calling are all covered.

    Lastly, the customer service from the FFL123.com crew is excellent. If you have questions, they’re answered thoroughly and in an extremely timely manner. The membership also has a great guarantee. And the member forums are awesome for chatting with others about their experiences and asking for additional advice.

    Like I said, you can certainly can go through the whole application process on your own, but as someone who was completely new to running a firearms business (or any business, actually) I found that the membership fee was well worth the money for the time it helped me save and for that extra little bit of assurance that I was doing things properly.

    Hope this helps, and good luck to those working on getting their FFL!

    • The membership also has a great guarantee.

      There is no substitute for information from the source. I would object to PAYING someone for the same info.

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