Every year in America, new gun dealers apply for and receive a Federal Firearms License to provide a service to their community.
These FFLs allow the license holder (federal firearms licensee) to legally buy and sell guns and everything else that goes with them. This includes handguns, long guns, ammo, and NFA items (like suppressors, short-barrel rifles, and more)!
To get an FFL in NC, you must follow all Federal and State requirements.
While North Carolina requires no additional licensing for FFL dealers, there are a few special considerations for firearms purchasers to understand.
In this article, we will discuss:
- FFL Cost
- Steps to getting your FFL in North Carolina
- Federal Requirements for an FFL
- North Carolina State Requirements for an FFL
- North Carolina Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
- FAQs and additional resources
FFL Cost in North Carolina
How much does an FFL cost? An FFL in North Carolina costs between $30-$200 for the first 3 years.
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 allows the licensee to perform different functions, so they vary in price. Specific license types may allow the holder to sell a few handguns, incorporate gunsmithing, or handle NFA items, for example.
Each of these activities requires a different type of license for which the application fees range in price.
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 North Carolina, 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 (more details below).
Step 2: Choose Your FFL Type
Second, make sure you apply for the appropriate type of FFL. As an FFL Dealer, you may choose from several specializations. Whether you want to sell guns, handle FFL transfers, or incorporate gunsmithing, you will need to make sure you are licensed to do so.
Generally, 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.
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 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 gun laws in place where you live.
That’s why I developed Rocket FFL based on decades of research and work as an attorney in the firearms industry. The goal of this is simple: to help you get your FFL as hassle-free as possible.
The below course includes everything you need to know on how to get your North Carolina FFL!
I’m a firearms attorney specializing in ATF compliance, so I could easily get rich by letting people improperly apply for their FFL. Then, once the mistakes have been made, I could charge them my hourly rate to come back in and fix them.
However, I want to help my fellow firearm entrepreneurs apply for their FFLs correctly the first time, saving them time, money, and energy.
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 required ATF forms and application fees, 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 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 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, no major mental health concerns, no history of controlled substance use, 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.
North Carolina State Requirements for an FFL
North Carolina state requirements for an FFL can be broken down into two categories:
- State licensing requirements
- Business registration requirements
North Carolina State Licensing Requirements
According to North Carolina state law, there are no other requirements to be met to sell firearms! So in that sense, you’re good to go as long as you meet the federal requirements.
However, there are specific laws that need to be met by the firearms purchaser for the transaction to be considered legal.
North Carolina requires a purchase permit for an individual to buy a handgun. These are usually issued on a county-level basis by your local Sheriff’s Department in the form of a Purchase Permit or a North Carolina Concealed Carry Handgun Permit.
In other words, if you’re a concealed carry permit holder, you’ve already got what you need to buy a handgun in North Carolina.
For more information on this process and all other state laws for firearms in North Carolina, you can reference this article provided by the Department of Justice.
North Carolina Business Registration Requirements
One of the most important steps that has nothing to do with firearms is making sure that your business is registered with the state of North Carolina.
Even if your business is registered in another state (which we suggest in our Get Your FFL course), you’ll still need to have an official presence in North Carolina.
To register your FFL business in North Carolina, check out this webpage from the Secretary of State showing you the steps on how to do just that.
North Carolina Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
Local zoning requirements are usually one of the biggest problems when applying for an FFL. It is at this stage in the process that you must ensure that the business location you have chosen allows for you to sell firearms (this also includes home-based FFLs).
It’s pretty standard for home-based FFLs to be told you can’t operate in a residential area. But business restrictions in certain regions are frequently due to a misunderstanding about the type of business activity held there.
When a zoning department hears “FFL,” they may assume regular retail business and heavy foot traffic (which is not allowed in residential locations). However, 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.
North Carolina FFL Summary
As you can see, getting your North Carolina FFL is pretty easy to accomplish!
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 North Carolina FFL.
But just know that even though some states are easier than others to get licensed in (including North Carolina), you can still expect to spend a lot of time and energy trying to get licensed yourself without our course.
With our course, you can fill out your forms and get through the process a whole lot faster with a whole lot more confidence. 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 North Carolina FFL Licensing
How much does it cost to get an FFL in North Carolina?
An FFL in North Carolina 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 North Carolina?
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 North Carolina require extra licensing for FFLs?
No, there are no additional licensing requirements for FFLs in North Carolina.
Do I need to register a business for an FFL in North Carolina?
Yes, if you are forming a business for your FFL, it must be registered in North Carolina.
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 North Carolina 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.
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 North Carolina: When you are ready to register your business, visit this site from the North Carolina secretary of State to begin the process!
North Carolina Firearm Laws: This is a helpful guide laying out all of the laws surrounding firearms in North Carolina.
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.