Many personal firearms owners are exploring the idea of expanding their personal use of ammo and firearms to becoming a Federal Firearms Licensee. The difference is FFL holders are allowed by federal law to sell, distribute, and handle firearm transfers at gun shows, gun shops, and pawnbrokers.
There are not many requirements in Tennessee to get your FFL. It’s even easier with our course because we make the process as clear and easy as possible from start to finish.
Plus, with a permitless carry law in effect as of July 2021, more Tennesseeans will likely be in the market for a new firearm. There’s no better time to be a firearms dealer!
In this article, we discuss:
- FFL Costs
- Steps to getting your FFL in Tennessee
- Federal Requirements for an FFL
- Tennessee State Requirements for an FFL
- Tennessee Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
- FAQs and additional resources
FFL Cost in Tennessee
How much does an FFL cost? An FFL in Tennessee costs an average of $30-$200 for the first 3 years.
Before you decide on the name of your new gun store, you will need to fill out an FFL application with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF, BATF). You will choose from several license types, which vary in price due to the different functions they allow the FFL licensee to perform.
The types of FFLs you will need are different if your goal is to open a storefront in Nashville and be an importer of NFA items versus if you just want to sell a few handguns from your home in Springfield.
Each of these activities requires a different type of license, for which the application fees range in price. There are separate FFLs for gun dealers and for those just wanting to incorporate gunsmithing into your hobby or the ability to do FFL transfers.
Knowing what you want to do with your FFL is imperative to cost.
FFL License Cost by Type
To be an FFL dealer that handles 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 get your FFL in Tennessee, you need to:
- Ensure you meet the federal and state law 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, make sure you meet all Federal requirements. These laws are the same for every state in America, which we detail below.
Step 2: Choose Your FFL Type
Second, apply for the appropriate FFL type. You will need to make sure you choose the correct type of license that allows you to lawfully operate your FFL firearms business.
You will probably need either a Type 01 license (for most firearms dealers and gunsmiths) or a Type 07 license (for manufacturing). Note: A Type 07 license lets you both manufacture and sell firearms.
Read this article to determine what type of FFL best suits your needs.
Some firearms and accessories require you to be an SOT (Special Occupational Taxpayer). Apply as an SOT after you are 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.
If you plan to sell these NFA items through your business, you’ll need to be a SOT:
- 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.
Check out the specifics about SOT classes and the NFA in our Get Your FFL Course.
Step 3: Take an FFL Course
Next, take an FFL course from a qualified instructor. Getting your FFL License can be complex, which is why I developed this course. It is based on decades of research and work as an attorney in the firearms industry to help you get your FFL hassle-free.
My course will not only cover getting your FFL, but covers everything you need to know to get your FFL in Tennessee.
As a firearms attorney that specializes in ATF compliance, I could get rich by letting people improperly apply for their FFL and then charge my hourly rate to fix it for them later. Instead, I want to help firearms industry entrepreneurs to 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, you will 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 laws), 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 and have paid for the FFL, the BATF will start the process by completing a background check on all “responsible persons” for the business. You qualify as a responsible person (RP) if you are a sole proprietor, a partner in the corporation, or will influence the business’s practices and policies at any time.
Once all application paperwork is verified as correct and all background checks are complete, the application is sent to a local ATF field office.
At the field office, your application will be reviewed by an industry operations investigator (IOI). He or she will set up an in-person interview with you to ensure all state and local requirements are being followed and verify your information.
After the interview, the field office investigator will recommend whether your FFL application should be approved or denied. Assuming you passed, the ATF field office supervisor will receive your application and submit it to the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC) for an FFL number.
According to the ATF website, the entire process takes about 60 days from when a completed application was first received. Unfortunately, depending on the state you are applying for your FFL, the ATF may necessitate multiple forms during the process, requiring extra steps.
However, those who take my Rocket FFL course will have every detail and access to all the necessary forms to quickly and efficiently apply for a Federal Firearms License.
Federal Requirements for an FFL
The federal requirements for getting an FFL are the same for every state in America.
The federal government requires applicants:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Be 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 no violations of the Gun Control Act (GCA) or related regulations
- Make no false statements/claims on your FFL application checked by NICS
Once you satisfy all federal requirements, you can then move on to Tennessee state-specific requirements.
Tennessee State Requirements for an FFL
Tennessee state requirements for an FFL can be broken down into two categories:
- State licensing requirements
- Business registration requirements
Tennessee State Licensing Requirements
The state of Tennessee is a gun-friendly state and does not require any additional state-specific firearm licenses. Your FFL is all you’ll need to start your business as a firearms dealer.
Tennessee Business Registration Requirements
If you operate any kind of business in Tennessee, you’ll need to register it with the State of Tennessee. This is true even if your business is registered in another state. Again, we cover this in our Get Your FFL course.
Check out the Tennessee Business Enterprise Resource Office SmartStart Guide to learn how to start your business. The Tennessee Department of Revenue also provides an excellent resource for How To Register your Tennessee Business.
Tennessee Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
Local zoning requirements are usually one of the biggest problems when applying for an FFL, especially in highly populated areas such as Nashville. Make sure that the location you use as a base of operations (often a home-based FFL) allows for a business.
Often, home-based firearms businesses will be told they can’t operate in a residential area. Business restrictions tend to be because of a misunderstanding about the type of business activity held in a location.
Most zoning departments will assume FFL businesses are like a regular retail business and have heavy foot traffic. But you can assure your local zoning department that most home-based FFLs don’t have retail-level traffic and only have customers on-site occasionally.
We cover this and more, including requirements for specific business hours, in our Get Your FFL course.
Tennessee FFL Summary
As we have explained, getting your Tennessee FFL is straightforward when you have someone guiding you!
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 easily and quickly get your FFL!
Without our course, the danger is sinking way too many hours into trying to get it right the first time on your own. Our course will give you the confidence to 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 Tennessee local laws will be a massive load off your mind.
It’s time to get you started! Let’s go!
Buy the Course Today
FAQ for Tennessee FFL Licensing
How much does it cost to get an FFL in Tennessee?
An FFL in Tennessee 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 Tennessee?
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 Tennessee require extra licensing for FFLs?
No, there are no additional licensing requirements for FFLs in Tennessee.
Do I need to register a business for an FFL in Tennessee?
Yes, if you are forming a business for your FFL, it must be registered in Tennessee.
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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee: Need help finding out where to start with your new business? Check out this information from the Tennessee Secretary of State showing you how to do just that!
Tennessee Guidelines for Federal Firearms Licensees: Firearms dealers in Tennessee can use this guide 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.