A growing number of people across the nation want to serve the general public as Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders. FFL dealers are permitted by federal law to handle the selling and distribution of firearms and ammo.
There are just a few requirements to follow to get your FFL in West Virginia. At Rocket FFL, we hope to make this process as easy as possible and get you quickly from just your concealed carry to becoming a Federal Firearms Licensee.
In this article, we will discuss:
- FFL Cost
- Steps to getting your FFL in West Virginia
- Federal Requirements for an FFL
- West Virginia State Requirements for an FFL
- West Virginia Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
- FAQs and additional resources
FFL Cost in West Virginia
How much does an FFL cost? An FFL in West Virginia 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 license type varies in price due to the different functions they allow you to perform. The FFL license you need is different if you just want to sell a few handguns at a West Virginia Gun show from your curios versus becoming an importer of NFA items.
A more inclusive type of license will make the application fees go up in price.
FFL License Cost by Type
To handle NFA items, including silencers, short-barrel rifles, machine guns, destructive devices, etc.), you must pay an additional cost in the form of an SOT license registration.
Steps to Getting Your FFL
To get your FFL in West Virginia:
- 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 goes without saying, but make sure that you meet all Federal requirements before you get started. The federal requirements are the same for every state in America, which we detail below.
Step 2: Choose Your FFL Type
Always apply for the appropriate type of FFL. Which license you need depends on what you want to do with your business.
Choose the type of license that best allows you to lawfully operate your firearms business; you don’t want a visit from a law enforcement agency catching you break an FFL law.
Most gun shops need either a Type 01 license (for sale of most firearms and to be a gunsmith) or a Type 07 license (for manufacturing). The extra value of a Type 07 license is that it allows both manufacturing and sale of firearms.
Check out this article, where we break down the different types of FFLs.
Importing and selling NFA items requires you to be an SOT (Special Occupational Taxpayer). After being assigned your FFL number, you can then apply for your SOT.
Read the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), later updated with Title II of the Gun Control Act, to see the origins of the reason for an SOT.
You’ll need to be an SOT if you plan to sell these NFA items:
- 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 cover each FFL License type and which SOT Class is needed after getting your FFL to sell firearms covered under the NFA.
Our Get Your FFL Course covers all of the specifics of SOT classes and the NFA.
Step 3: Take an FFL Course
We suggest taking an FFL course from a qualified instructor.
Getting your FFL License can be complex, as the requirements for some areas are more convoluted than others. For this reason, I developed my course based on my decades of research and work as an attorney in the firearms industry.
My course not only covers getting your FFL, but it also covers everything you need to know to get your FFL in West Virginia with ease. As a firearms attorney specializing in ATF compliance, I thought it would be best to use my knowledge to teach others how to get their FFL right the first time.
Make sure you opt for the FFL Course and SOT Course combo. That extra $10 will teach you 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
Once all requirements for both federal and state have been met, you’ve verified the appropriate FFL type for your business, and have taken the Rocket FFL course, you can apply for your FFL at ATF.gov.
Once you submit all the forms required by the ATF and have paid the required fees using your credit card, the ATF will begin a background check through NICS on all “responsible persons” for the business. A responsible person (RP) is the sole proprietor, as well as any partners who will influence the business’s practices and policies.
After your application paperwork is verified and all NICS background checks are completed, your application is sent to a local ATF field office. There, an industry operations investigator (IOI) will contact you for an in-person interview to make sure all state and local requirements are followed.
After a successful in-person interview, the IOI will either approve or deny your FFL application. The ATF field office supervisor submits approved applications to the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC), where FFL serial numbers are assigned to new licensees.
According to ATF.gov, this entire process takes about 60 days from when a completed application is first received. However, depending on the state you are setting up in, the ATF may require multiple forms and extra steps during the process.
Our Rocket FFL course explains every detail and gives you 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 in the US.
The federal government requires all FFL holders:
- 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
State-specific requirements can be tackled once you satisfy all of the Federal requirements.
West Virginia State Requirements for an FFL
Requirements for a West Virginia FFL can be broken down into two categories:
- State licensing requirements
- Business registration requirements
West Virginia State Licensing Requirements
Lucky for West Virginians, there are no additional West Virginia FFL licenses. You are that much closer to getting your FFL!
West Virginia Business Registration Requirements
Like in any other state, your business needs to be registered with the State of West Virginia.
Even if your business is registered in another state, as we suggest in our Get Your FFL course, you’ll still need to have an official presence in West Virginia by registering with the state.
To register your FFL business in West Virginia, you should check out the steps to starting a company by the West Virginia Secretary of State. Learn How To Register your West Virginia Business through the West Virginia One-Stop Business Portal.
West Virginia Local (City/Town) FFL Requirements
Local zoning requirements are often an issue when applying for an FFL. Make sure to check that the location you use as a base of operations (often a home-based FFL) allows for a business.
It’s common for a home-based firearms business and be told you can’t operate in a residential area. Business restrictions in certain regions are frequently due to misunderstandings about the type of business activity held there.
When a zoning department hears “FFL,” it’s assumed there will be heavy foot traffic. Truthfully, most home-based FFLs don’t have retail-level traffic and only have customers stop by on occasion, if at all.
Our Get Your FFL course covers this and more, including how to set your business hours based on your location.
West Virginia FFL Summary
Getting your West Virginia FFL is straightforward with the proper guidance and patience!
The biggest issues are making sure you meet the Federal and State requirements, choose the appropriate license type, take our online course, and fill in the proper forms. If you do this, you’ll be on your way to being the newest owner of a West Virginia FFL.
Without our course, you can expect to sink much-too-much time to get it right on your own.
Our course will give you the confidence to fill out your forms and get you through the process with ease. Trust me — you want to know that you are starting your business within all the confines of both federal and local laws!
Let’s “pull the trigger” and get you started in the FFL process!
FAQ for West Virginia FFL Licensing
How much does it cost to get an FFL in West Virginia?
An FFL in West 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 West 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 West Virginia require extra licensing for FFLs?
No, there are no additional licensing requirements for FFLs in West Virginia.
Do I need to register a business for an FFL in West Virginia?
Yes, if you are forming a business for your FFL, it must be registered in West Virginia.
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 West 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 West Virginia: Need help finding out where to start with your new business? Check out this article from the West Virginia Department of State showing you how to do just that!
West Virginia Firearms Handbook: Firearms dealers in West 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.
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).