Welcome to the mother-load of ATF-related data on FFL Applications and Inspections statistics!
Each year the ATF publishes a report that includes data on the number of firearms in commerce (made, exported, and imported) and statistics on NFA firearms (forms, revenue, and distribution) and FFLs (applications and inspections.
The number of FFLs in the United States is starting to grow again after the Clinton administration clamped-down on home-based or “kitchen-table” FFLs in the mid-1990s.
Thankfully, the ATF allows home-based FFLs again! If you’re thinking about getting one, check out our article on How to Get an FFL License.
Here’s a table breaking-down the number of FFLs in our country by FFL type and year. If you need a refresher on each type of FFL, please check out our article on FFL Types.
As you can see, we currently have 137,464 FFLs in the United States. The slow market may have helped to decrease the number slightly over the past couple of years, but you should strongly consider getting your FFL now so that you’ll be ready for the up-swing.
An FFL can become a Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT) and pay a flat-rate tax once a year and avoid paying a tax per NFA firearm made or sold. This isn’t just a benefit, it’s a requirement for most FFLs in order to deal with NFA firearms.
As you can see, we have 10,513 SOTs as of 2016. That breaks-down into 5,546 Class 3 dealers, 4,543 Class 2 manufacturers, and 424 Class 1 importers.
Importers (Class 1)
Manufacturers (Class 2)
Dealers (Class 3)
ATF FFL Inspections
In the past 5 years, the amount of ATF inspections has stayed fairly consistent. About 13% of FFLs get inspected every year which is why an FFL can expect to be inspected about every 5-7 years.
Note the difference in the number between total licenses vs the number of licensed business entities. This means that each business has 1.7 FFLs on average. If you taken training from us, you know we ALWAYS recommend having more than one FFL and we show you why and how to do it, too.
Licensed Business Entities
You can see a breakdown of this data back to 1975 in the full ATF Report included here below:
Ryan Cleckner is a former special operations sniper and current attorney specializing in firearms law/ATF compliance and is a firearms industry executive (former govt. relations manager for NSSF, Vice President of Remington Outdoor Company, and a SAAMI voting board member).
FFL Transfer – How to Transfer a Firearm 
Have you ever tried to send or receive a firearm but weren’t sure how to do it? Maybe you just bought a firearm online, or you need to ship a gun, and you’re wondering how to transfer it. You might have looked into transferring the gun and you learned that transfers the gun through an […]
By Ryan Cleckner
Home Based FFL  – How to Get License
Contrary to popular belief, getting a home based FFL is perfectly legal, easy to do, and very common. Unfortunately, there are many myths about getting a home based FFL from the BATF. Myth #1: The ATF doesn’t allow home-based federal firearms licenses. You can absolutely be an FFL dealer as a home-based business. Myth #2: […]
By Ryan Cleckner
Who Can Own a Full-Auto Machine Gun?
Are Machine Guns Legal? Contrary to popular belief, it is perfectly legal for a law-abiding citizen of the United States to own/possess a machine gun (sometimes called a full-auto firearm or automatic weapon). This fact drives organizations like the Giffords Law Center and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence crazy. Thankfully, no matter how […]