Choosing to become a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder is a big responsibility in any state. In Maryland, FFL licensees are responsible for all background checks, selling, distribution, and firearms transfers.
There are plenty of requirements to follow when getting your FFL in Maryland. At Rocket FFL, we hope to make your process straightforward, eliminating as much hassle as we can from the process.
In this article, we discuss:
- FFL Cost
- Steps to getting your FFL in Maryland
- Federal Requirements for an FFL
- Maryland State Requirements for an FFL
- Maryland Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
- FAQs and additional resources
FFL Cost In Maryland
How much does an FFL cost? An FFL in Maryland costs between $30-$200 for the first 3 years at the Federal level, plus $50-$175 for additional state permits and licensure.
When you fill out an FFL application with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (commonly known as the ATF or BATFE), you choose from several license types.
License types vary in price due to the different functions they allow the licensee to perform. This includes whether the licensee is selling a few handguns, incorporates gunsmithing, or handles NFA items.
Each of these activities requires a different type of license for which the application fees range in price.
FFL License Cost by Type
To process 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 Maryland, 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 and state 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 as a Federal Firearms Licensee.
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 guns). A Type 07 license lets you both manufacture and sell firearms or 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, take an FFL course from a qualified instructor. The logistics of getting your FFL License can be complex. 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 Maryland.
I’m a firearms attorney that specializes in ATF compliance. I could get rich by letting people improperly apply for their FFL and 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, learn how to apply to buy and sell silencers and Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs) in addition to standard firearms covered by just your FFL.
Just choose the course combo option at checkout.
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!
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.
According to the ATF, the entire process should take about 60 days after your application is submitted.
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.
Maryland State Requirements for an FFL
Maryland state requirements to be in the business of selling firearms can be broken down into two categories:
- State licensing requirements
- Business registration requirements
Maryland State Licensing Requirements
Maryland is one of several states to require FFL dealers to purchase a redundant state-level license to accept transfer fees and operate as a Regulated Firearms dealer. Maryland charges $50 the first year, then $25 for each year you renew.
After submitting your application to the Maryland State Police, 2 Authorization for Release of Information forms must be submitted alongside proof of electronic fingerprinting.
A Handgun Qualification License (HQL) is required by Maryland law for every FFL before any credit cards or money orders can be accepted in exchange for services.
Maryland Business Registration Requirements
Depending on the intended size of your gun shop and the amount of stock on hand, you may have to apply for a Maryland Trader’s License. Smaller FFL gun dealers are typically exempt.
As with most states, you need to register your business with the State of Maryland.
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 Maryland.
To register your FFL business in Maryland, you should check out the steps to starting a company by the Maryland Division of Corporations. They also provide an excellent resource for How To Register your Maryland Business.
Maryland Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
According to Baltimore County’s Secure All Firearms Effectively (SAFE) ACT, local law requires extra security measures for gun stores. This county requires you to purchase and maintain video surveillance alongside reinforced barriers for the building and requires licensing for all temporary gun show sellers.
Local zoning requirements are common hurdles when applying for an FFL. You must ensure the location you use as headquarters (even 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 regions are frequently due to a misunderstanding about the type of business activity held there.
A zoning department hears “FFL,” they might assume busy retail with constant foot traffic (which isn’t great in residential locations). But most home-based FFLs don’t have retail-level traffic and only have customers stop by on occasion.
We cover this and more, including requirements for specific business hours, in our Get Your FFL course.
Maryland FFL Summary
After 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 proud owner of a Maryland FFL.
Getting your Maryland FFL can be straightforward with the proper guidance!
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.
Our course provides you the confidence to fill out your forms and thoroughly complete the process with ease. Trust me — 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 Maryland FFL Licensing
How much does it cost to get an FFL in Maryland?
An FFL in Maryland costs anywhere from $30 to $200 for 3 years at the state level, then an additional $50 to $175 for state processing. A full breakdown of the cost for an FFL can be found here.
Do I need an FFL in Maryland?
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 Maryland require extra licensing for FFLs?
Yes, there are additional licensing requirements for FFLs in Maryland. You must register to be a Regulated Firearms Dealer and, depending on the size of your gun store, may also need a Maryland Trader’s License.
Do I need to register a business for an FFL in Maryland?
Yes, if you are forming a business for your FFL, it must be registered in Maryland.
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 Maryland 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.
Starting a Business in Maryland: Need help finding out where to start with your new business? Check out this article from the Maryland Department of State showing you how to do just that!
Maryland State Police — Regulated Firearms Dealer’s Guide: Firearms dealers in Maryland can use this guide to properly handle firearms sales.
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 following all state laws.