Every day, more and more people want to serve their community in a fun and unique way. For some, this means getting a Federal Firearms License (FFL) to be one of the newest gun dealers in their community.
Kentucky is an effortless state in which to get your FFL. Due to the lack of restrictive gun laws, getting your FFL in Kentucky is one of the easiest places to do so in the United States.
In this article, we will discuss:
- FFL Cost
- Steps to getting your FFL in Kentucky
- Federal Requirements for an FFL
- Kentucky State Requirements for an FFL
- Kentucky Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
- FAQs and additional resources
FFL Cost in Kentucky
How much does an FFL cost? An FFL in Kentucky costs between $30-$200 for the first 3 years.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) allows you to choose from several license types on your FFL application.
Each license type is used for different functions and varies in cost. Whether you want to sell a few handguns, incorporate gunsmithing, or handle NFA items, there’s an FFL license type that is right for you.
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 an SOT license registration.
Steps to Getting Your FFL
To get your FFL in Kentucky, 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 to become a Federal Firearms Licensee. These standards are the same for every state in America (more details below).
Step 2: Choose Your FFL Type
Second, apply for the appropriate type of FFL. Ensure 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). With a Type 07 license, you can manufacture and sell firearms/ammo.
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 strongly recommend you take an FFL course from a qualified instructor. The logistics of getting your FFL License can be complex, which is why I developed the Rocket FFL one based on decades of research and work as an attorney in the firearms industry.
The below course will not only cover how to become an FFL dealer, but also covers everything you need to know to get your FFL in Kentucky.
As a firearms attorney that specializes in ATF compliance, I could make a great deal of money by letting people screw up their FFL application and charging my hourly rate to fix it for them later.
But I thought it would be better for my fellow firearms entrepreneurs to teach how to do it right the first time.
I highly recommend getting the FFL Course and SOT Course combo — just select the combo option at checkout. For an extra $10, 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
After you’ve completed the first 3 steps, you are ready to “pull the trigger” and apply for your FFL!
After you submit the required forms, the ATF will begin the process by completing a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) on all “responsible persons” for the business. A responsible person (RP) is either the sole proprietor, a partner in the corporation, or an influencer of the business’s practices and policies.
Once all application paperwork is verified as correct and background checks are complete, the application is sent to a local ATF field office. An industry operations investigator (IOI) will then contact you for an in-person interview to ensure your application is accurate and meet all federal and state requirements.
After the interview, the IOI will make a recommendation to either approve or deny your FFL application. When you pass, 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. The ATF may require multiple forms and extra steps during the process, although this is not needed for Kentucky residents.
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 quickly 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 not a felon, a psychological patient, or controlled substance user (basically, that you are legally permitted to possess firearms and ammo)
- 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.
Kentucky State Requirements for an FFL
Kentucky state requirements for an FFL can be broken down into two categories:
- State licensing requirements
- Business registration requirements
Kentucky State Licensing Requirements
Thankfully, the state of Kentucky is very gun-friendly! All you need to open up your gun shop is your FFL and a state business license. Once you have those 2 things, you will be good to go.
Do note, however, that if you move your FFL to another state, you may have to follow new state-level registration requirements before operating a new gun store.
Kentucky Business Registration Requirements
Like in any other state, you’ll need to register your business with the State of Kentucky.
Even if your business is registered in another state (which we suggest in our Get Your FFL course), you’ll still need an official presence in Kentucky.
To register your FFL business in Kentucky, check out this quick start guide from the Kentucky Department of Revenue.
Kentucky 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 of your primary base of operations allows for a business.
Zoning departments often equate “gun store” or “FFL” to “heavy foot traffic.” If you’re starting a home-based FFL, it’s likely that zoning prohibits heavy foot traffic in your location.
Fortunately, most gun store owners who operate home-based FFLs have nowhere near typical retail foot traffic. If you’re in this situation, work with your local zoning department to establish clear expectations for the business you will operate (even if they first tell you “no”).
We cover this and more, including requirements for specific business hours, in our Get Your FFL course.
Kentucky FFL Summary
As you can see, getting your Kentucky FFL is straightforward with the proper guidance.
If 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 being the newest owner of a Kentucky FFL.
However, without the right instruction, it might take you countless hours to submit your application. Even then, it’s easy to mess it up.
With our course, you can, with confidence, fill out your forms and get through the process with ease. And knowing that you are running your business safely and within all the confines of both federal and local laws will be a massive load off your mind.
So, if you’re ready, let’s get started!
FAQ for Kentucky FFL Licensing
How much does it cost to get an FFL in Kentucky?
An FFL in Kentucky 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 Kentucky?
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 Kentucky require extra licensing for FFLs?
No, there are no additional licensing requirements for FFLs in Kentucky.
Do I need to register a business for an FFL in Kentucky?
Yes, if you are forming a business of any sort, you must register it with the state.
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 Kentucky 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.
How to Register a Business in Kentucky: Need help finding out where to start with your new business? Check out this article from the Kentucky Department of Revenue showing you how to do just that!
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.