Many people in South Carolina research the best way to become Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders. FFL holders are allowed by federal law to sell, distribute, and even manufacture firearms and ammo.
There are just a few requirements to follow to get your FFL and become an FFL dealer in South Carolina. We hope to make navigating both federal and state laws as easy as possible, eliminating as much hassle as we can from the process to gain your South Carolina FFL license.
We’ll cover the following FFL topics:
- FFL Cost
- Steps to getting your FFL in South Carolina
- Federal Requirements for an FFL
- South Carolina State Requirements for an FFL
- South Carolina Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
- FAQs and additional resources
FFL Cost in South Carolina
How much does an FFL cost? An FFL in South Carolina costs between $30-$200 for the first 3 years.
There are several FFL applications by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). You will need to choose from several license types, which vary in price due to the different functions they allow the Federal Firearms Licensee to perform.
There is a separate FFL for just trying to sell a few handguns from your curio at a gun show, incorporating gunsmithing at your gun shop, or becoming an importer of NFA items through your gun store.
Each of these activities as a gun dealer requires a different type of FFL for which the application fees range in price.
FFL License Cost by Type
To handle and import NFA items (such as silencers/suppressors, 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 follow the federal gun laws and get your FFL in South Carolina, you need to:
- Ensure you meet the federal 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
Check that all Federal requirements are met before you begin the process. The requirements are the same across America, which we detail below.
Step 2: Choose Your FFL Type
Don’t apply for the wrong FFL! Apply for the best FFL based on what operations you need to do for your business. The best license allows you to lawfully operate your firearms business.
While there are 9 types of FFLs, more often than not, you will probably need either a Type 01 license (for most firearms dealers and gunsmiths) or a Type 07 license (for manufacturing). The advantage of the Type 07 license is it lets you both manufacture and sell firearms.
Click this article to read about the types of FFL and which is best for you!
NFA firearms require you to be an SOT (Special Occupational Taxpayer). Application as an SOT is not available until after you’ve been assigned your FFL number.
You’ll need to be an SOT if you plan to sell NFA items such as:
- 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.)
Below we list each FFL License type and which SOT Class is needed to sell firearms covered under the NFA. We also cover all of the specifics of SOT classes and the NFA in our Get Your FFL Course.
Step 3: Take an FFL Course
Don’t skip taking an FFL course from a qualified instructor. This would be a big mistake, as the logistics of getting your FFL License can be complex.
Trust me — you want a hassle-free experience to get your FFL, which is why I developed this course based on my decades of research and work as an attorney in the firearms industry. Take a course that covers getting your FFL, as well as everything you need to know to get your FFL in South Carolina.
I’m a firearms attorney that specializes in ATF compliance. For years, I have been helping people recover from their costly FFL application mistakes because they did not invest in making sure they understood all they needed to do to correctly apply for their FFL the first time.
I highly recommend that you get the FFL Course and SOT Course combo. For an extra $10, this combo of courses will teach you how to both apply to buy and sell silencers as well as Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs), in addition to standard firearms covered by just your FFL.
Step 4: Submit Your FFL Application Forms
After you know you can meet all requirements (federal and state), have verified the appropriate FFL type for your business, and taken the Rocket FFL course combo, you are ready to “launch yourself” into getting your FFL!
Once you submit all the forms required by the ATF and have paid for the license with your credit card, they will start the process by completing a NICS background check on all “responsible persons” for the business. A responsible person (RP) can be the sole proprietor or any partner in the corporation who will influence the business’s practices and policies.
Once all application paperwork is verified as correct, and all NICS background checks come back clean, the application goes to a local ATF field office.
An industry operations investigator (IOI) will set up an in-person interview set during their hours of operation. This interview will determine whether or not you are following all South Carolina state and local laws and if you can receive your FFL.
The IOI will make a recommendation to either approve or deny your FFL application after the interview. The ATF field office supervisor would send the approved application to the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC) if you passed. The FFLC will assign you an FFL number, which will be sent to you through the mail.
According to the ATF website, it takes only 60 days from submitting a completed application to receiving your FFL number. However, in some states, the state requires additional forms and more complicated steps beyond the ATF’s during this process.
The good news is my Rocket FFL course covers every detail and gives you access to all the necessary forms to quickly apply for your Federal Firearms License in South Carolina.
Federal Requirements for an FFL
The federal requirements are the same in every state, which we cover here: Getting an FFL.
Federal requirements to get an FFL include:
- Being at least 21 years of age
- Being a US Citizen or legal permanent resident
- Being legally permitted to possess firearms and ammunition (no felony convictions, have not been a psychological patient or controlled substance user, etc.)
- Having a predetermined location for conducting FFL activities (this includes home-based FFLs)
- Having never violated the Gun Control Act (GCA) or related regulations
- Not making any false statements/claims on your FFL application
Once you satisfy all of the Federal requirements, you can move on to the South Carolina state-specific requirements.
South Carolina State Requirements for an FFL
South Carolina state requirements for an FFL have two categories:
- State licensing requirements
- Business registration requirements
South Carolina State Licensing Requirements
South Carolina does not currently require a separate state license from the Federal Firearms License. This makes the process far more streamlined — plus, it makes opening your gun store much easier.
South Carolina Business Registration Requirements
Every state in the US requires a state business registration, even if your business is registered in another state. We go over this in our Get Your FFL course.
Before you do anything, check out South Carolina’s business one-stop for steps to starting a company. South Carolina’s website also provides an excellent resource for How To Register your South Carolina Business.
South Carolina Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
Often, many FFL dealers face a major obstacle in the form of local zoning requirements.
Always make sure the location where your business will be based (often a home-based FFL in a residential area) allows for a business. Many home-based FFL businesses are told they can’t operate in a residential area due to a misunderstanding about the business activity type.
Local zoning departments often assume an FFL business will have heavy foot traffic (which doesn’t fly in residential locations). But most home-based FFLs don’t usually have retail-level traffic, with customers only occasionally coming to the site.
You can learn about this and the specific requirements for hours of operation in our Get Your FFL course.
South Carolina FFL Summary
Getting your South Carolina FFL is straightforward once you have procured the proper guidance!
Once you have met Federal and State requirements, choose the appropriate license type, take our online courses, and fill in the proper forms, you’ll be on your way to being the newest owner of a South Carolina FFL.
Without our course, you can expect to sink a lot of hours into trying to get it right on your own. However, with our course, you can confidently fill out all required forms and get through the process with ease.
Start your FFL business safely and within all the confines of both federal and local laws using my valuable courses.
Let’s get you your FFL!
FAQ for South Carolina FFL Licensing
How much does it cost to get an FFL in South Carolina?
An FFL in South 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 South 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 South Carolina require extra licensing for FFLs?
No, there are no additional licensing requirements for FFLs in South Carolina.
Do I need to register a business for an FFL in South Carolina?
Yes, if you are forming a business for your FFL, it must be registered in South 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 should wait to start your business until after you get your FFL number.
Extra Resources For Getting a South 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.
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 South Carolina: Need help finding out where to start with your new business? Check out this article from the South Carolina Business One-Stop showing you how to do just that!
South Carolina Code of Gun Laws: Firearms dealers in South Carolina can use this information to properly handle firearms sales.
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.