A growing number of people across the nation want to serve their communities as Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders. These FFL holders are allowed by federal law to handle the selling and distribution of firearms.
There are just a few requirements to follow to get your FFL in Hawaii. In addition to this, there are several regulations surrounding the purchasing process of firearms you will need to know.
At Rocket FFL, we hope to make this process as easy as possible, eliminating as much hassle as we can from the process.
In this article, we will discuss:
- FFL Cost
- Steps to getting your FFL in Hawaii
- Federal Requirements for an FFL
- Hawaii State Requirements for an FFL
- Hawaii Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
- FAQs and additional resources
FFL Cost in Hawaii
How much does an FFL cost? An FFL in Hawaii costs between $30-$200 for the first 3 years.
When you fill out an FFL application with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), you choose from several license types.
Each of these license types varies in price due to the different functions they allow the licensee to perform. This includes whether the licensee is just trying to become a gun dealer, incorporate gunsmithing, or handle NFA items, for example.
Each of these activities requires a different type of license for which the application fees range in price.
FFL License Cost by Type
To handle NFA items (such as silencers, short-barrel rifles, machine guns, destructive devices, etc.), you must pay additional costs in the form of a SOT license registration.
Steps to Getting Your FFL
To get your FFL in Hawaii, you need to:
- Ensure you meet the federal and state requirements for an FFL
- Choose your FFL type
- Take an FFL course
- Submit your FFL application forms
Step 1: Ensure You Meet FFL Federal Requirements
First, you need to make sure that you meet all Federal requirements. These are the same for every state in America (more details below).
Step 2: Choose Your FFL Type
Second, make sure you apply for the appropriate type of FFL. Depending on what you are trying to do with your business, you will need to make sure you choose the type of license that will allow you to lawfully operate your firearms business.
More often than not, you will probably need either a Type 01 license (for most firearms dealers and gunsmiths) or a Type 07 license (for manufacturing). A Type 07 license lets you both manufacture and sell firearms.
To determine what type of FFL best suits your needs, read this article, where we break it down.
Some types of firearms and accessories require you to be an SOT (Special Occupational Taxpayer). You’ll apply as an SOT after being assigned your FFL number. These requirements are from the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), later updated with Title II of the Gun Control Act.
You’ll need to be an SOT if you plan to sell these NFA items:
- Full-auto machine guns
- Short-barreled rifles (rifles with a barrel shorter than 16″ or an overall length under 26″)
- Short-barreled shotguns (shotguns with a barrel shorter than 18″ or an overall length under 26″)
- Destructive devices (grenades, mines, bombs, etc.)
- Any other weapons (pen guns, specific special handguns, etc.)
The table below describes each FFL License type and which SOT Class you’ll need to apply for after getting your FFL to sell firearms covered under the NFA.
We cover all of the specifics of SOT classes and the NFA in our Get Your FFL Course.
Step 3: Take an FFL Course
Next, we highly recommend that you take an FFL course from a qualified instructor. The logistics of getting your FFL License can be complex depending on what state you’re in. That’s why I developed it based on decades of research and work as an attorney in the firearms industry to help you get your FFL hassle-free.
The below course will not only cover getting your FFL, but it also covers everything you need to know to get your FFL in Hawaii.
I’m a firearms attorney that specializes in ATF compliance. I could quickly get rich by letting people apply for their FFL, make mistakes, and then charge my hourly rate to fix it for them later.
But I thought it would be better for my fellow firearms industry entrepreneurs to instead learn how to do it right the first time.
I highly recommend that you get the FFL Course and SOT Course combo. For an extra $10, you can learn how to apply to buy and sell silencers and Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs) in addition to standard firearms covered by just your FFL.
Step 4: Submit Your FFL Application Forms
Finally, once you’ve made sure you meet all requirements (federal and state), verified the appropriate FFL type for your business, and taken the Rocket FFL course, you are ready to “pull the trigger” and apply for your FFL!
Once you submit all the forms required by the ATF, they will start the process by completing a background check on all “responsible persons” for the business. A responsible person (RP) is either the sole proprietor, a partner in the corporation, or will influence its practices and policies.
Once all application paperwork is verified as correct, and all background checks are complete, the application is sent to a local ATF field office. An industry operations investigator (IOI) will set up an in-person interview with you to make sure all information is still correct and that you are following all state and local requirements.
After the interview, the IOI will make a recommendation to either approve or deny your FFL application. Assuming you passed, the ATF field office supervisor will then submit the approved application to the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC), and you will be the next owner of an FFL!
According to the ATF website, the entire process takes about 60 days from when a completed application was first received. However, depending on the state you are setting up in, the ATF may require multiple forms and extra steps during the process.
This may require multiple forms and extra steps depending on your location. However, if you took the Rocket FFL course, you’ll have every detail and access to all the necessary forms to easily apply for your Federal Firearms License.
Federal Requirements for an FFL
The federal requirements for getting an FFL are the same for every state.
To get an FFL, the federal government requires that you:
- Are at least 21 years of age
- Are a US Citizen or legal permanent resident
- Are legally permitted to possess firearms and ammunition (no felony convictions, have not been a psychological patient or controlled substance user, etc.)
- Have a predetermined location for conducting FFL activities (this includes home-based FFLs)
- Have never violated the Gun Control Act (GCA) or related regulations
- Do not make any false statements/claims on your FFL application
Once you satisfy all of these requirements, you can then move on to the state-specific requirements.
Hawaii State Requirements for an FFL
Hawaii state requirements for an FFL can be broken down into two categories:
- State licensing requirements
- Business registration requirements
Hawaii State Licensing Requirements
In the state of Hawaii, there are no additional state requirements for you to open a gun store beyond acquiring your federal firearms license.
However, there are many local city and town requirements to be aware of (more information on local requirements below).
It is also worth mentioning that there are several requirements that an individual must follow when purchasing a firearm in Hawaii. As an FFL licensee, you will need to be familiar with this process to best assist your customers.
Some of the main steps for Hawaii gun owners include that you:
- Apply for a permit to acquire firearms from your local chief of police/police department
- Be fingerprinted and photographed
- Undergo a criminal background check
- Verify by way of affidavit that you are free from drug and alcohol abuse, you do not have a criminal background, and your mental health is in an appropriate state
- Verify your doctor’s information and authorize them to release your health information to the county police
Once all of this is completed, and you are approved, you will undergo a 14-day waiting period to receive your permit to acquire a handgun. This permit is good for one purchase only and must be used within 10 days of pickup.
For other firearms such as long guns, one permit is good for multiple purchases and is valid for a whole year.
Once you have purchased a firearm, you must then go to your local law enforcement agency to register your firearm with the police. Visiting your local police station must be done within 5 days of purchase or within 5 days of bringing it in from out-of-state. The only exceptions to this are black powder rifles, rifles that use a black powder substitute, or antique and unoperational firearms.
These are a few of the regulations that individuals must follow when purchasing a firearm. As FFL holders, it is our responsibility to assist people in the purchasing process to make it as easy as possible. This is why we must be knowledgeable of this process.
For a more complete breakdown of all the rules and regulations regarding this process, you can check out this article from the Hawaii Rifle Association.
Hawaii Business Registration Requirements
Regardless of what state you are setting up your business in, you’ll need to register your business with that state (in this case, the state of Hawaii).
Even if your business is registered in another state (we suggest this in our Get Your FFL course), you’ll still need to have an official presence in Hawaii.
For more on how to register your FFL business in Hawaii, check out this website from the Hawaii Department of Commerce.
Hawaii Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
Local zoning requirements are usually one of the biggest problems when applying for an FFL. Most importantly, you must ensure the location you use as a base of operations (often a home-based FFL) allows for a business.
It’s common to inquire about an FFL for a home-based firearms business and be told you can’t operate in a residential area. But don’t give up yet! Business restrictions in certain areas are frequently due to a misunderstanding about the type of business activity held there.
When a zoning department hears “FFL,” they may assume regular retail business and heavy foot traffic (which doesn’t fly in residential locations). But most home-based FFLs don’t have retail-level traffic and only have customers stop by on occasion.
However, certain cities in Hawaii, such as Honolulu, outright prohibit the selling of guns and ammo in residential areas (Chapter 21-5.350). This means that home-based FFLs in these areas are, unfortunately, impossible. Double-check your local requirements and gun laws to ensure you’re legally able to have a home-based FFL.
We cover this and more in our Get Your FFL course.
Hawaii FFL Summary
As you can see, getting your Hawaii FFL is straightforward with the right guidance!
As long as you meet the Federal and State requirements, choose the appropriate license type, take our online course, and fill in the proper forms, you’ll be on your way to becoming one of the newest owners of a Hawaiian FFL.
But I’ll warn you — without our course, you can expect to sink a lot of hours into trying to get it right on your own.
With our course, you can fill out your forms and get through the process with ease and confidence. Trust me — knowing that you are running your business safely and within all the confines of both federal and local regulations will be a massive load off your mind.
So, if you’re ready, let’s get started!
FAQ for Hawaii FFL Licensing
How much does it cost to get an FFL in Hawaii?
An FFL in Hawaii costs anywhere from $30 to $200 for 3 years. For a full breakdown of the cost of an FFL, check here.
Do I need an FFL in Hawaii?
Yes! If you plan to sell, transfer, manufacture, or do anything else for profit involving firearms, you are legally required to have an active FFL.
Does Hawaii require extra licensing for FFLs?
No, there are no additional licensing requirements for FFLs in Hawaii.
Do I need to register a business for an FFL in Hawaii?
Yes, if you are forming a business for your FFL, state law requires that it be registered in Hawaii.
Can I get an FFL to save money on guns?
No, you should not get an FFL just to save money on guns. One of the main requirements for getting your FFL is “business intent,” meaning you intend to operate a firearms-related business.
However, you may wait to start your business until after you get your FFL number.
Extra Resources For Getting a Hawaii FFL
US Code § 923: Code § 923 covers federal regulations for the import, manufacture, and dealing of firearms and ammunition. This is the federal law that requires those operating firearms businesses to get an FFL.
US CFR § 478.47 – Issuance of license.: This code explains how a Federal Firearms License is issued, including who must assign the license number. It requires the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) to qualify applicants based on a predetermined list of requirements and to issue Federal Firearms Licenses.
If a correctly submitted FFL application has been submitted on ATF Form 7, the Chief of the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (a department at the ATF) must issue the license and assign a serial number to the licensee.
Gun Control Act (GCA): The GCA of 1968 establishes stricter laws on the firearms industry than were already present in the NFA. New regulations regarding firearms offenses, firearms/ammunition sales to “prohibited persons,” and federal jurisdiction for “destructive devices” (bombs, grenades, mines, etc.) were created with the GCA.
Hawaii Rifle Association: This webpage from the Hawaii Rifle Association lays out many of the state laws regarding firearm purchasing for individuals. As FFL holders, you will need to be familiar with this information.
Starting a Business in Hawaii: Need help finding out where to start with your new business? Check out this article from the Hawaii Department of State showing you how to do just that!
City of Honolulu Ordinances Chapter 21-5.350: This section of city law states that in Honolulu specifically, you cannot have a Home-based FFL.
FFL Types: Use this guide to make sure that you choose the right type of Federal Firearms License for what you want to do.
Home-Based FFL: Don’t want to pay for a storefront but wish to operate as an FFL holder from your home? We explain how to do it from start to finish.