Becoming a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) in the US is not at all an expensive or complex procedure. But there are certain steps and rules that should be followed in order to have your license accepted as soon as possible by the United States Department of Justice. The cost to file an FFL application (Type 1 Dealer) is around $200 for the first 3 years (at the time of writing this). After that it is much cheaper!
You must wait at least 6-7 weeks before your application is reviewed and processed by the ATF (Bureau of [A]lcohol, [T]obacco, [F]irearms and Explosives)
Before everything else you must decide that this business is for you. If you always had a passion for guns and ammo and if you have the spirit of the Merchant inside you then here’s how to do it. The process works as described below:
First you must file your application, also called “FFL” to the ATF. If you want to see how an FFL application looks like click here. The perfectly completed application should be send to the ATF post office box listed on the application form. You must also include the application fee which can be either payed by credit card, check, money order and not cash.
Your application will be processed within 6-7 weeks and only after the application fee has been payed. Then your FFL application will be included in the ATF’s database and a full review will be commenced. Review includes fingerprint clarity inspection, background check as required by law etc. Then the ATF will define a “Sole Proprietor” who is the actual firearms business manager/owner (you).
Then your FFL application will be send to the nearest ATF field office that is responsible for your area (where business will be conducted). The ATF office supervisor will assign an investigator to you, also known as IOI (Industry Operations Investigator). This person will interview you regarding State, Federal and Local requirements. The IOI will proof-read your FFL application making sure everything is in place.
The IOI will prepare a full review of your idea/project to buy and sell firearms along with their opinion of whether your FFL application should be accepted or denied. It is a fact that if the IOI recommends that you should be accepted as a gun merchant then you will be accepted. But you must also get a recommendation from the ATF field office supervisor who will also review your FFL.
If all the requirements are met, then your application will be accepted and stored. Then you will be issued your firearms license and you are ready to buy and sell guns.
To avoid denial make sure your application is perfectly completed, that you comply with all Local and State laws and that you and the persons involved in the business have never willfuly violated the “Gun Control Act” (the ATF will do strict background check).
If successful, you must have a business plan, a list of gun wholesalers, an after-sales support system. And then you can start the firearms business. You know that when people buy a gun they will always need ammo, gun parts or other extras so you know you can have returning customers. The more professional and experienced you appear to your buyers, the more returning customers you will have.
Then, there are many other issues that you will need to consider as you learn the nust and bolts of the firearms industry. Things like full copies of all laws governing guns because you will encounter various scenarios as an FFL Holder, a way to keep detailed records of every single firearm transaction (as required by law) etc.
Do you want more governmental information about the FFL license? Visit the site of The United States Department of Justice.
If you are interested in the firearms business and you need more information about FFL then consider this Firearms License Kit.