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How to Get Your FFL in Rhode Island (RI): Gun Dealer’s Guide


The firearms industry is full of people passionate about exercising their second amendment rights to the fullest extent. This includes people who want to serve their communities by opening their very own gun shop and becoming Federal Firearms License Holders.

FFL gun dealers are people who are legally able to sell firearms, ammo, and other NFA items (such as suppressors, short-barrel rifles, automatic rifles, etc.).

We here at Rocket FFL want to help you achieve this goal by eliminating as much guesswork as possible, giving you all the know-how you need to become the next gun store owner in Rhode Island.

In this article, we will discuss:

  • FFL Cost
  • Steps to getting your FFL in Rhode Island
  • Federal Requirements for an FFL
  • Rhode Island State Requirements for an FFL
  • Rhode Island Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
  • FAQs and additional resources

​FFL Cost in Rhode Island

How much does an FFL cost in RI? An FFL in Rhode Island 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 varies in price due to the different functions they allow the licensee to perform. This includes whether the licensee is just trying 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

FFL LicenseApplicationRenewalYears
Type 01$200$903
Type 02$200$903
Type 03$30$303
Type 06$30$303
Type 07$150$1503
Type 08$150$1503
Type 09$3,000$3,0003
Type 10$3,000$3,0003
Type 11$3,000$3,0003

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 Rhode Island, you need to:

  1. Ensure you meet the federal and state requirements for an FFL
  2. Choose your FFL type
  3. Take an FFL course
  4. 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. You can choose from several types of FFLs, depending on what you are trying to do with your business.

Because of this, make sure you choose the type of license that will allow you to lawfully operate your firearms business.

Most federal firearms licensees operate under 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.

You’ll need to be an SOT if you plan to sell these NFA items:

  • Silencers
  • 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.

FFL License Types

FFL License TypeFFL License PurposeSOT Class
Type 01 FFLDealer/Gunsmith of Firearms3
Type 02 FFLPawnbroker/Dealer of Firearms3
Type 03 FFLCollector of Firearmsn/a
Type 06 FFLManufacturer of Ammunitionn/a
Type 07 FFLManufacturer/Dealer of Firearms and Ammunition2
Type 08 FFLImporter/Dealer of Firearms1
Type 09 FFL Dealer of Destructive Devices3
Type 10 FFLManufacturer/Dealer of Destructive Devices2
Type 11 FFLImporter/Dealer of Destructive Devices1

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 depending on the gun laws in your state.

That’s why I developed the Rocket FFL 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 Rhode Island.

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.

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 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 ATF.gov, 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.

Rhode Island State Requirements for an FFL

Rhode Island state requirements for an FFL can be broken down into two categories:

  1. State licensing requirements
  2. Business registration requirements

Rhode Island State Licensing Requirements

According to a 2019 version of the Rhode Island State Firearms Laws and Ordinances (11-47-38 & 11-47-39), no person with the intent to sell any type of firearm is allowed to do so without a license.

In order to retrieve said license, you will have to go to your local licensing authority (such as a police department), where they will issue the license in a form that is set forth by the state attorney general.

Once you receive your local licensing as well as your FFL, you will then be ready to open your store and become the newest gun dealer in the state of Rhode Island!

Rhode Island Business Registration Requirements

No matter the type of business, or the state that you’re setting up in, you’ll need to register for a business license when you’re ready to launch. Whether you’re trying to sell guns or pottery, you’ll need to be registered before you can open.

To register your FFL business in Rhode Island, visit the Secretary of State’s website. It provides you with all the information you need when you go to register your business!

Rhode Island Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements

Local zoning requirements are usually one of the biggest problems when applying for an FFL. Most importantly, you must ensure the place of business you use (often 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 by the local authorities that you can’t operate in a residential area. But don’t give up yet! Business restrictions in certain regions are frequently due to misunderstandings about the type of business activity held there.

When a zoning department hears “FFL,” they may assume regular retail business, easily seen by the general public, and carrying heavy foot traffic (which doesn’t fly 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.

Rhode Island FFL Summary

As you can see, an FFL in Rhode Island is pretty straightforward.

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 going from one of Rhode Island’s many gun owners to one of their newest FFL holders!

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.

Instead, fill out your forms and get through the process with confidence and ease by taking our course first. 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 Rhode Island FFL Licensing

How much does it cost to get an FFL in Rhode Island?

An FFL in Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island?

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 Rhode Island require extra licensing for FFLs?

Yes, you will need a state dealer’s license. These are issued by your local licensing authorities.

Do I need to register a business for an FFL in Rhode Island?

Yes, if you are forming a business for your FFL, it must be registered in Rhode Island.

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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island: Need help finding out where to start with your new business? Check out this article from the Rhode Island Department of State showing you how to do just that!

Rhode Island State Laws and Ordinances: This file (available from the ATF) lays out all of Rhode Island’s State Laws and Ordinances surrounding firearms. If you have any questions regarding firearm ownership, transfer process, or selling, this will be an invaluable resource for you.

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.

Ryan Cleckner is a former special operations sniper and current attorney specializing in firearms law/ATF compliance and is a firearms industry executive (former govt. relations manager for NSSF, Vice President of Remington Outdoor Company, and a SAAMI voting board member).

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