There a different types of FFL to choose from. Make sure you understand which FFL type is best for you.
Ok, you’re thinking about becoming a firearms dealer or even a licensed manufacturer and you know that you’ll need to become a federal firearms licensee (get an FFL), but you’re not sure about the requirements for becoming an ffl holder.
We get it – the whole process can seem complicated, and possibly overwhelming.
First, you’ll need to determine if you qualify for an FFL.
Second, you’ll need to decide which ffl type is right for your needs, how much the application fee will cost for your license type, and then you’ll need to make sure you set everything up the right way during the application process so that you don’t run into trouble with the ATF later.
Third, you’ll need to learn the nuances of ATF Compliance so you can operate with your ffl license effectively.
You’ve also likely heard some terms that you’re not quite sure whether they apply to you like: Class 3 License and “Responsible Person.”
This is exactly why we’re here: The entire purpose of the RocketFFL online courses are to help you learn about what all of these things mean, make the right decisions along the way, and give you the tools you need to thrive as an ffl dealer or manufacturer.
If you’re ready to get started, we think the best place is to start with our Get Your FFL course. If you get going know, you can have your own FFL in around 2 months.
However, if you’d like to learn a bit more about whether you can get an FFL, keep reading.
In this article, we’re going to cover:
Having an FFL license means that someone may engage in the business of buying, selling, and/or making firearms.
Depending on the type of federal firearms license , guns can be purchased and sold as part of a business, guns can be manufactured for sale, and/or firearms can be imported.
If you also become an SOT, you can be a firearm dealer or manufacturer that works with NFA firearms like silencers (suppressors), short barreled rifles (SBR), machine guns, and more.
You don’t need to be a full-fledged FFL dealer or manufacturer, you can have an FFL just to make money on an ffl transfer by charging an FFL transfer fee or you can be a gunsmith.
The term FFL means “Federal Firearm License.”
The term FFL is also sometimes interchangeably used to refer to the holder of an FFL.
Therefore “FFL” refers to the actual license and also the person/entity that holds the license (the licensee). Therefore the term can be used to describe a gun dealer as an FFL and also the license that the gun dealer has.
Contrary to popular belief, the requirements to get an FFL aren’t that hard.
In fact, if you can possess a firearm, you are at least 21 years old, you can fill out an ATF form, and you have a location for your license, then you can get an FFL.
It’s just about that easy.
Of course, this is a simplified version of what is needed.
The full requirements for getting an FFL can be broken-down into two major categories:
In order to get an FFL from the ATF, you need to be able to possess firearms and ammunition.
There are certain people who do not meet the requirements to get an FFL (nor may they possess firearms or ammunition). These people are considered “prohibited persons” by the ATF and they include anyone who:
There’s a few nuances that you might need to be aware of if you think that any of these apply to you – especially the “convicted of any crime punishable by more than a year,” “unlawful user of a controlled substance,” and “restraining order” provisions.
If you’d like to learn more about these prohibited person categories, see Prohibited Persons / Firearm Possession .
A little known fact about FFL requirements is that the ATF must issue you an FFL if you meet the requirements. Unlike some other licenses which are “may issue,” an FFL is a “shall issue” license. This means that the ATF doesn’t get to decide if someone who meets the requirements will get an FFL. Instead, once the requirements are met, the ATF shall (must) issue a Federal Firearms License.
In addition to the FFL requirements above, your business/entity must also meet some basic requirements before it can be a firearms business.
The simplest requirements are that your business/entity must be properly formed – i.e registered with your state, an employer identification number (EIN) if not a sole-proprietor, etc.
The biggest requirement, and the most difficult for some, is the business/entity’s location. Simply, you must be permitted to conduct the business activity at the location you’ve chosen. These FFL location requirements vary depending on your state of residence.
Yes, you can get a home based FFL under federal law but your state may have special rules that prohibit it. For example, if you’re living in an apartment building in New York city, you probably aren’t going to get an FFL.
As long as your local zoning approves of you having a firearms license at the address you choose, then the ATF will give you a home-based FFL. There are a few tricks to getting your FFL at your home – I share all of these and more in the Get Your FFL Guide .
Thankfully, the ITAR requirements have changed (in a great way) and aren’t a concern anymore for most people looking for ffl licensing.
There are various state requirements for getting your FFL and also how you must run your FFL’s day-to-day operations.
Both of these requirements are covered in our Get Your FFL course.
These state-level requirements involve knowing your local law and sometimes filing paperwork with your state police. For example, selling a handgun in Connecticut requires paperwork for the State Police.
As local law varies greatly, and can change quickly, we cover the major considerations in our course, but we can’t cover everything.
If you are concerned about any of these, our member’s area is a great resource and your ATF inspector from the BATF an be a great resource during your initial compliance inspection.
Don’t panic about a compliance inspection – we walk you through all of this in our course.
And also, please don’t think that you’re on your own when it comes to local law. We do cover these as much as we can – just know that things can change quickly.
In order to get an FFL from the ATF, you MUST have a business intent.
This may not be as big of a deal as you think but it’s not minor either.
You do not have to have a business plan to open up a retail gun shop. But, you must have at least some business intent.
For example, “occasional sales” can work whereas “personal collection only” for firearm enthusiasts is not. In some cases, listing and selling some firearms online is enough – there is no minimum. The intent is what matters.
No intent to bring in some money with your FFL = no FFL for you. However, this does not mean that you have to be profitable.
Conducting an occasional firearm transfer (and charging an FFL transfer fee) can be enough.
The term “FFL” means “Federal Firearms License.”
If someone has an FFL, it means that they may engage in firearm business activity – this includes, buying, selling, and making guns for a profit.
If you can legally possess a firearm, you are at least 21 years old, and you have a location for your license, then you can get an FFL.
You can sell or make any NFA item with an FFL as long as you also register as a Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT) – this is covered in our Become an SOT course.
No, selling regular ammunition does not require an FFL. However, if you want to make ammunition for sale or if you want to work with armor piercing ammunition, you’ll need an FFL.
When you’re trying to decide whether you should get a federal firearms license (FFL), one of the things you may wonder about is how long it’s going to take the ATF to approve your FFL application, and give you a federal firearms license. This is a fair concern, especially when dealing with the ATF. After […]
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: […]