In many states, opening your own gun shop is a relatively simple process. The first and most important step for all states is to obtain your Federal Firearms License (FFL).
As an FFL dealer, you can legally sell handguns, long guns, ammo, and other NFA items (albeit with additional licensing).
However, in New York, it isn’t so straightforward. The state of New York has created a complicated process for gun owners to become gun dealers, as evident by the additional licensing requirements and state laws in place.
NY FFL holders often find the burdensome, state-mandated paperwork required for firearms transactions to be overwhelming. New York City has even stricter gun laws than the rest of the state, and all of these play a part in operating a firearms business there.
We here at Rocket FFL are determined to help you through this process step by step, taking away as much confusion and frustration as possible and giving you all the know-how you need!
In this article, we will discuss:
- FFL Cost
- Steps to getting your FFL in New York
- Federal Requirements for an FFL
- New York State Requirements for an FFL
- New York Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
- FAQs and additional resources
FFL Cost in New York
How much does an FFL cost? An FFL costs between $30-$200 for the first 3 years. This is the same for all states.
When you fill out an FFL license application with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), you choose from several license types.
Each license type varies in price due to the different functions it allows the licensee to perform. If the licensee wants to operate as a part-time gun dealer and sell a few handguns, incorporate gunsmithing, or handle NFA items, the license needs may change.
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 York, 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 (we discuss that in more detail 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 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.
If you ever want to venture into the world of suppressors, machine guns, and short-barrel rifles, though, you are required 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.
Due to New York’s strict gun laws, it is next to impossible to distribute any NFA items except to government agencies. In particular, so-called “assault weapons” and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds cannot be sold in-state except to law enforcement agencies.
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 recommend that you take an FFL course from a qualified instructor.
The logistics of getting your FFL License can be complex depending on the state that you are 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 specific to getting one in New York.
I’m a firearms attorney that specializes in ATF compliance. If I wanted nothing more than to make a lot of money, I could let people apply to become gun dealers on their own, mess up on the applications, and then charge them my hourly rate to fix it 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. This way, you can make sure you follow all federal and state laws and operate legally.
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.
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 through the NICS on all “responsible persons” for the business. A responsible person (RP) is either the sole proprietor, a partner in the corporation, or will influence the business’s 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 interview 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 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 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.
New York State Requirements for an FFL
New York state requirements for an FFL can be broken down into two categories:
- State licensing requirements
- Business registration requirements
New York State Licensing Requirements
New York State requires most individuals who seek to open up a gun store to register for a Firearms License. One step in this process is applying for a State of New York Pistol/Revolver License Application (PPB3).
This is done through the local law enforcement agency in the city or county your business will reside in and takes around 4 months from application to approval.
Because of this, different cities and counties in New York might have different requirements for the licensing process.
When you begin this process, you will go through a background check process similar to those seeking a carry license in New York State.
Gun dealers in New York who will strictly distribute only rifles and long guns do not have to obtain a New York Firearms License.
New York Business Registration Requirements
Regardless of what type of business you may be opening, you will need to register your business with the state.
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 New York.
To register your FFL business in New York, you should check out this webpage. This official guide will walk you through the steps of business formation in the state.
New York Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
Depending on your locale, you may be required to follow additional standards to operate your firearms business. For instance, New York City has stringent laws about carrying firearms, and each of these licenses (which require a one-time $88.25 fingerprinting fee) is valid only for specific businesses.
Local zoning requirements are usually one of the biggest problems when applying for an FFL, especially in the state of New York and New York City. Most importantly, you must ensure the location you use as a base of operations (often a home-based FFL) allows for a business.
Zoning departments are often the biggest hurdle in this process because “FFL” is frequently associated with ideas about retail stores (like heavy foot traffic).
However, if you’re opening a home-based FFL, which is reasonably simple in many more rural counties in NY, you’ll need to clarify that you won’t have retail-level traffic.
We cover this and more, including requirements for specific business hours, in our Get Your FFL course.
New York FFL Summary
Getting your New York FFL can be a very long, confusing process. It is a process that not many people begin due to the difficulties involved.
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 being the newest owner of a New York 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. Due to New York’s many restrictive laws and regulations, it can be a legislative nightmare trying to do it on your own.
With our course, you can, with confidence, fill out your forms and get through 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 New York FFL Licensing
How much does it cost to get an FFL in New York?
An FFL in New York 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 New York?
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 York require extra licensing for FFLs?
Yes, you will also need to apply for a Firearms license through the city or county that your business is located in.
Do I need to register a business for an FFL in New York?
Yes, if you are forming a business for your FFL, it must be registered in New York.
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 New York 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 York: Need help finding out where to start with your new business? Check out this article from the New York Department of State showing you how to do just that.
New York Firearms License Application: All FFL dealers in the state of New York must fill out this application to operate in the state.
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.