By Brandon L. Maddox
Articles on the subject of getting your own FFL license have been generated a lot of discussion, but there seems to be a lot of confusion out there as to the process. So let’s start with answering some of the FAQs.
Q:Can I get a Federal Firearms License for only personal usage?
A: No, the ATF will not issue an FFL for 100% personal usage. Do you have friends you can help with FFL transfers from gunbroker.com purchases, etc? If so, your FFL wouldn’t be 100% personal usage . . .
Q: If I have an FFL, can the ATF show up day or night and harass me?
A: Per federal law, ATF can only inspect your location once every 12 months and can only do that during your hours of operation. ATF can only look at your ATF paperwork for record keeping. And they can only inspect FFL firearms inventory, not personal firearms. Selecting appointment-only for hours of operation is possible in some situations, which would require a phone call before a compliance inspection.
Q: Do I need a storefront to get an FFL License?
A: Our research shows that over 64% of all FFL locations are from home or residential addresses. Federal laws do not have conflicts with residential addresses. Massachusetts has a state law about residential addresses, but a work-around exists for online-only FFL dealers. Home is a viable option. Nothing has changed as you may have read online from forums, etc.
Before you enter into any new adventure, it’s always good to create a list of pros and cons.
PROS of getting a home based FFL
- Low cost and overhead to start. No safe or alarm system is required.
- Access to manufacturer direct and wholesaler pricing; ordering online 24 X 7.
- Part time, hobby income; money wife does not know about.
- Many part-time niche adventures possible with gunsmithing, Dura coating, Internet transfers, hydro-graphics, class 3 silencer sales, auction sales, Internet sales, etc.
- Market demand is at all-time record highs; Hillary in the background only helps.
- Help friends get good prices on hard to find firearms.
- No background checks or hassles to get firearms mailed to you directly.
- You can also work gunshows to gain exposure.
- All activities with this new adventure are often tax deductible; reduce your taxes.
- Often state gun control laws do not apply to FFL holders. No waiting periods, background checks; able to often purchase items prohibited to non-FFL’s.
CONS of getting a home based FFL
- Security – You need to only invite those you know and trust.
- Paperwork needs to be kept for 20 years and kept well-organized.
- Renewal is $90 every 3 years.
- ATF does make FFL list public.
- To make largest profits, eventually you will need to focus on a niche market or grow volume.
- Inventory can sometimes be hard to find quickly with demand being so high.
- Shipping to home address can be tricky with a day job. ATF allows offsite storage and alternate mailing addresses, which helps.
- ATF can inspect your records every 12 months. Industry average for a non-pawnshop home based ffl dealer is once every 30 years.
A large number of FFL holders initially started small, operating from home. And there are those predicting that the demand for firearms is head only one way – up. So your very own FFL might be more than just a huge convenience. It can also be a good business opportunity.
Brandon Maddox is CEO of ffl123.com.