Want to start a business as a gun dealer? The first step is to apply for a Federal Firearms License (FFL), so you may legally buy and sell firearms, ammo, and other NFA items. Depending on where you do this, it can be relatively easy or rather challenging…
Unfortunately, it can be a bit tougher to become an FFL dealer in New Jersey when compared to other states. However, here at Rocket FFL, we believe that with the right information and a little bit of guidance, you can become the newest FFL license holder in the Garden State!
In this article, we will discuss:
- FFL Cost
- Steps to getting your FFL in New Jersey
- Federal Requirements for an FFL
- New Jersey State Requirements for an FFL
- New Jersey Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
- FAQs and additional resources
FFL Cost in New Jersey
How much does an FFL cost? An FFL in New Jersey costs between $30-$200 for the first 3 years, plus a $50 application fee for your NJ Retail Firearms Dealers License.
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 the licensee may perform. This might include the selling of handguns, incorporating gunsmithing, or handling NFA items, for example.
When you decide what type of sales activities suitable for your gun shop, you must choose the license type that allows you to lawfully perform these.
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 New Jersey, 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 Requirements
Making sure you meet all of the Federal requirements is the first step in the process. These requirements are the same for every state in America (more details below).
State requirements vary. To check the NJ-specific requirements, scroll down.
Step 2: Choose Your FFL Type
Second, make sure you apply for the appropriate type of FFL. Depending on what you intend for your business, you will need to make sure you choose the type of license that will allow you to properly operate your firearms business.
Most FFL dealers operate under a Type 01 license (for most firearms dealers and gunsmiths) or a Type 07 license (for manufacturing). You can manufacture and sell firearms and ammo with a Type 07 license.
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.
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 so that you can 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.
Applying for your license to sell guns can be highly complex. That’s why I developed our course 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 New Jersey.
I’m a firearms attorney specializing in ATF compliance. I developed this course to help you avoid common hurdles when getting your FFL so that you need to apply only once.
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 select the course add-on 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!
Once you submit all the forms required by the ATF (and the application fee), they will start the official application process by completing a background check through the NICS on all “responsible persons” for the business.
Sole proprietors, partners, or anyone who directly influences the business is considered a “responsible person.”
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 recommend either approval or denial of your FFL application. If 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.
ATF.gov shares that the entire process takes about 60 days from the receipt of a completed application. However, depending on your state, the ATF may require multiple forms and extra steps during the process (which is the case for New Jersey gun dealers).
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 apply for your Federal Firearms License quickly.
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 all of the Federal requirements have been met, you need to focus on meeting all state requirements. This is where things can get a little tricky.
New Jersey State Requirements for an FFL
New Jersey state requirements for an FFL can be broken down into two categories:
- State licensing requirements
- Business registration requirements
New Jersey State Licensing Requirements
According to New Jersey state law, once you get your FFL, you will then need to apply for a Retail Firearms Dealers License. This process will need to be followed closely, as it involves several specific requirements:
- The first step is to receive and submit written zoning approval for your new gun store.
- You then need to submit the actual application, a copy of your business trade name certificate, the corporation or partnership form, a consent form for searching your mental health records, and a Municipal Police records check form.
- You’ll also pay a $50 application fee to the Division of State Police.
- Once the application is received, you and any partner or other business owner will be fingerprinted by a third-party vendor.
Fortunately, all of the requirements that need to be met during the initial application process, license renewal process, and employee hiring can be found in this guide provided by the New Jersey Police Firearms Investigations Unit.
New Jersey Business Registration Requirements
Like in any other state, you’ll need to register and receive a business license with the State of New Jersey. This goes for any business you might be opening, firearm related or not.
Even if your business is registered in another state (we suggest this in our Get Your FFL course), you’ll still need an official New Jersey presence.
When you get started forming your business in New Jersey, see this guide from the New Jersey Division of Revenue. It will guide you through the first steps of establishing your new business!
New Jersey Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
Local zoning laws are usually one of the biggest problems when applying for an FFL. Most importantly, your base of operations must allow for a business (including home-based gun shops).
If you’re creating a home-based firearms business, your local zoning department may inform you that your location doesn’t allow FFLs to operate in residential areas. However, it’s usually a restriction imposed because they misunderstand the type of business you intend to conduct.
Assuming you won’t have heavy retail traffic or other “brick-and-mortar” operations, most zoning departments will allow you to open a home-based FFL. You just have to ask and communicate your intentions clearly.
We cover this and more, including requirements for specific business hours, in our Get Your FFL course.
New Jersey FFL Summary
Even though New Jersey has several additional steps you must follow before opening your new gun store, we believe that these steps don’t have to be overly confusing. As long as you follow both our course information for the FFL and the New Jersey Police Guide for the Retail Firearms Dealer License, you’ll be good to go!
But I’ll warn you — without our course, you may lose a lot of hours into trying to get it right on your own.
We don’t want you to waste time trying to do it on your own. With our course, you can sail through the process knowing that you comply with all federal and state gun laws.
So, if you’re ready, let’s get started!
FAQ for New Jersey FFL Licensing
How much does it cost to get an FFL in New Jersey?
An FFL in New Jersey costs anywhere from $30 to $200 for 3 years, plus a $50 application fee to the NJ State Police. For a full breakdown of the cost of an FFL, check here.
Do I need an FFL in New Jersey?
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 New Jersey require extra licensing in addition to FFLs?
Yes, in addition to your FFL, you will need to apply for a New Jersey Retail Firearms Dealer License.
Do I need to register a business for an FFL in New Jersey?
Yes, if you are forming a business for your FFL, it must be registered in New Jersey.
Can I get an FFL to save money on guns?
No, you should not get an FFL just to save money on guns. In order to receive a FFL from the ATF, you must have “business intent” with your licensing (meaning you intend to actually sell to the public).
Extra Resources For Getting a New Jersey 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 New Jersey: Need help finding out where to start with your new business? Check out this article from the New Jersey Department of State showing you how to do just that!
Application for a New Jersey Retail Firearms License: This is a copy of the application you will have to fill out and send in to the New Jersey state police department.
New Jersey Retail Firearms License Application Guide: This guide provided by the State Police lays out everything you need to know in terms of the application process, renewals, and employee certification.
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.