Have you thought about getting your Federal Firearms License (FFL) to serve your community uniquely? As an FFL holder, you are allowed to sell and distribute firearms.
The requirements to get your FFL in Virginia are complex, especially in some major city areas. At Rocket FFL, we help you eliminate as much hassle as we can from the process.
To help you understand the requirements for obtaining your FFL in Virginia, we’ll discuss:
FFL Cost in Virginia
How much does an FFL cost in Virginia? It costs between $30-$200 to get an FFL for the first 3 years.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) requires you to fill out an application and choose from several license types.
The cost of each license type varies, due to the different activities they allow the licensee to perform. You need a different kind of license if you try to sell a few handguns, versus handling NFA items.
FFL License Cost by Type
NFA items, such as silencers, short-barrel rifles, machine guns, or destructive devices require you to pay additional fees for what is called an SOT license registration.
Steps to Getting Your FFL
Attaining your FFL in Virginia requires you 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
It’s essential to first make sure that you meet all Federal and state requirements to attain an FFL. Every state in America has the same Federal requirements for an FFL.
Step 2: Choose Your FFL Type
You don’t want to make the mistake of applying for the wrong FFL, so make sure you know which one you need. The type of license you need depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the business.
Make sure you choose the appropriate FFL license type to operate your firearm business. There is a big difference between being a part-time FFL dealer in a pawnshop and an FFL dealer to make and sell your own guns.
The most common FFL needed is a Type 01 license, allowing the sale of firearms and gunsmiths, or a Type 07 license for gun manufacturing. A Type 07 license lets you both manufacture and sell firearms.
This article explains the different types of FFL’s needed for a gun shop or gun store, a home FFL, and selling NFA items such as Suppressors.
Some items require you to be an SOT (Special Occupational Taxpayer). You can’t apply for an SOT until after being assigned your FFL number. The National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), later updated to Title II of the Gun Control Act, made these rules.
If you plan to sell these NFA items, you will need to also attain your SOT:
- Silencers (Suppressors)
- 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 FFL License types and which SOT Class you need to apply for after getting your FFL to sell firearms covered under the NFA can be found below. All the specifics of SOT classes and the NFA are covered in our Get Your FFL Course.
Step 3: Take an FFL Course
We highly suggest taking an FFL course from a qualified instructor. Getting your FFL License can be complex, depending on which state you live in. As an attorney in the firearms industry with decades of experience, I can help you get your FFL without all the hassles that can come with it!
My course covers not only how to get your FFL, but it gives you all the information you need to make getting your Virginia FFL easier and more straightforward.
With my years as a firearms attorney specializing in ATF compliance, I could let people improperly apply for their FFL and then get rich by charging my hourly rate to fix the issue they find themselves in. But it would be better for me to teach you how to do it right the first time.
Make sure you pay the extra $10 for both the FFL Course and SOT Course combo. That extra $10 helps you learn how to apply for the correct FFL that allows you to buy and sell silencers, as well as Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs). It covers more than just the standard FFL requirements.
Step 4: Submit Your FFL Application Forms
After all the federal and state requirement boxes have been checked, you have verified the appropriate FFL you need for your type of business, and have taken the Rocket FFL course, you have all the “ammo” you need to apply for your FFL!
The application process begins with completing a background check on all “responsible persons” for the business. You are the responsible person (RP) as a sole proprietor and if you are in a partnership with another person. An RP is someone with any influence on the business policies and procedures.
After your application is verified, and you have passed a background check, your local ATF field office will handle the rest of the process. At the ATF field office, an Industry Operations Investigator (IOI) will contact you for an in-person interview to ensure that all the local and state requirements are being fulfilled properly.
Based on the success of your interview, the IOI will recommend approving or denying your FFL application. The ATF field office supervisor submits all approved applications to the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC), and you will soon be an FFL holder!
The ATF website says that it should only take about 60 days from start to finish as long as the completed application is filled out correctly.
The ATF may require more forms and extra steps if you live in some regions of the United States. We cover these details in the Rocket FFL course, which allows you access to the forms needed to make the FFL process quick and easy.
Federal Requirements for an FFL
Each state is the same for the federal requirements for getting an FFL. The federal government requires that those applying for an FFL:
- Be at or over the age of 21
- Be a legal permanent resident or US citizen
- have no felony convictions, been a psychological patient or controlled substance user, and be legally permitted to possess firearms and ammunition
- Have a location for conducting FFL activities, including home-based FFLs and curio collectors
- Must have never violated the Gun Control Act (GCA) or related regulations
- Do not make any false statements/claims on your FFL application
Virginia state-specific requirements can move forward after these federal requirements are attained.
Virginia State Requirements for an FFL
There are 2 categories in Virginia state requirements for an FFL:
- State licensing requirements
- Business registration requirements
Virginia State Licensing Requirements
Virginia recently had plans for laws that would assure many FFLs would go out of business, but they backed down due to heavy pressure from the firearm community.
A Virginia law from 1927-2012 stated that buying more than one handgun in a 30-day period would be considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. This carried a penalty of up to 1-year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
State police, antique firearm dealers, private security companies, and concealed permit handgun holders were exempt from this limitation.
While Virginia lawmakers have relented in passing more restraining laws, there are several items that you will need to get for approval for an FFL in Virginia due to restrictive state laws.
Virginia is not anti-gun, but the major cities (such as Richmond) tend to stall business licenses for FFLs. Home FFLs seem to be a complicated license to procure, even when other questionable retail is permitted in the city.
Densely populated areas in Virginia have shown open hostility to gun dealers and have created zoning issues for FFLs.
It may be more beneficial to run your FFL business in more rural areas, as they warmly welcome home FFLs with fewer issues with local and state laws interfering.
Virginia Business Registration Requirements
Make sure to register your business with the State of Virginia, even if your business is registered in another state. As recommended in our Get Your FFL course, you’ll still need to have an official presence in Virginia.
Check out the State of Virginia Tax site for how to register your business.
Virginia Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
Local zoning requirements are usually one of the biggest problems when applying for an FFL in Virginia.
It’s common in highly-populated Virginia areas to be denied home FFL firearms business in residential areas. Make sure you distinguish the difference between the type of activity held there — it’s not the typical retail traffic that the zoning department typically thinks of when they hear FFL.
The requirements for specific business hours are covered in our Get Your FFL course.
Virginia FFL Summary
Getting your Virginia FFL does not have to be difficult!
With some experienced guidance, you can easily attain your Virginia FFL! If you meet the Federal and State requirements, choose the appropriate license type for your business, take our helpful online course, and fill in the proper forms. Then, you’ll soon have your Virginia FFL.
Unfortunately, without the proper guidance, you will waste precious hours trying to get it right on your own. Fortunately for you, our course will save you time by helping you fill out the right forms, giving you confidence and peace that you are running your business within federal and state laws.
Let’s get you started toward attaining your FFL!
FAQ for Virginia FFL Licensing
How much does it cost to get an FFL in Virginia?
An FFL in Virginia 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 Virginia?
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 Virginia require extra licensing for FFLs?
Virginia has no additional licensing requirements for FFLs, but they may have more stringent local zoning laws.
Do I need to register a business for an FFL in Virginia?
Your FFL business must be registered in Virginia.
Can I get an FFL to save money on guns?
No, you should not get an FFL just to save money on guns. Getting your FFL is for “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 Virginia 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 Virginia: Need help finding out where to start with your new business? Check out this article from the Virginia Department of State showing you how to do just that!
Virginia Department of Law Enforcement Firearm Purchase Program Firearm Dealers Manual: Firearms dealers in Virginia 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.