How many guns can i sell before a FFL is needed?

This is a discussion on How many guns can i sell before a FFL is needed? within the FFL Dealer Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Title says it all How many guns can I buy and sell before I would need to get a ffl?...

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Thread: How many guns can i sell before a FFL is needed?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Chad0724's Avatar
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    How many guns can i sell before a FFL is needed?

    Title says it all How many guns can I buy and sell before I would need to get a ffl?
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    Moved to FFL dealer discussion forum.
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    VIP Member Array WrongRecroom's Avatar
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    As I have asked and been told there is really no set limit some state yes but gov leval know ... Basically if this is your primary busines and sorce of income then yes you should have a FFL .. How many we talking about ?
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    The ATF doesn't decide if someone is operating a firearm's business without a license by a set number of purchases and sales. Rather, they do it by your intent. Legally, you can't even buy 1 gun if your intent in doing so is to sell it for profit. However, that obviously doesn't mean you can't buy a gun, keep it a while, and then decide it is a sound decision to sell it. Intent....that's the key. Did you buy it at the time with the intent to sell it for profit? If you do it enough, you'll eventually end up on their radar. For the active gun enthusiast, who might buy 3-5 guns a month and ends up selling all/most of them fairly soon, you are likely not going to raise enough flags to be watched. If you do 1000 a month, you'll be noticed quickly. But again, there is no magic number. It's your intent that matters.

    ETA: Looking at some old ATF pubs, it wouldn't matter if you intended to make a profit or not. If you bought 1000 guns a month with the intent of selling them for exactly what you paid for them, it would still be illegal. You can't buy with the intent to sell, period.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longstreet View Post
    The ATF doesn't decide if someone is operating a firearm's business without a license by a set number of purchases and sales. Rather, they do it by your intent. Legally, you can't even buy 1 gun if your intent in doing so is to sell it for profit. However, that obviously doesn't mean you can't buy a gun, keep it a while, and then decide it is a sound decision to sell it. Intent....that's the key. Did you buy it at the time with the intent to sell it for profit? If you do it enough, you'll eventually end up on their radar. For the active gun enthusiast, who might buy 3-5 guns a month and ends up selling all/most of them fairly soon, you are likely not going to raise enough flags to be watched. If you do 1000 a month, you'll be noticed quickly. But again, there is no magic number. It's your intent that matters.

    ETA: Looking at some old ATF pubs, it wouldn't matter if you intended to make a profit or not. If you bought 1000 guns a month with the intent of selling them for exactly what you paid for them, it would still be illegal. You can't buy with the intent to sell, period.
    Well I am good there. I don't think I make money on any firearm I have EVER sold.
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    If you are buying guns expressly to sell them, you're walking a fine line of between daylight and lockup. If you're selling guns you've had for years, and just want to get rid of them to buy something else or whatever, then I'm not sure what the limit is. Good luck and let me know what kind of cake you like and I'll bake a file into one and send it to you.
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    I only personally know one fellow (non FFL holder) who had a visit by the ATF...and they really couldn't or wouldn't do anything to him....now what pretty well saved him I believe was over 50 % of the guns he recently purchased was in his safe..and he personally was using the money of the said sells to purchase or trade for guns for his personal collection...and he shipped all handguns overnight...
    And I know what led to the ATF coming to his home...he had purchased several firearms at a LGS over a short period of time and he told a salesman (supposedly a friend) that he had been selling quite a few of the firearms that he recently purchased there on Gunbroker....

    The funny thing about this story was the ATF noticed discrepancys in the LGS books...while making this investigation ..and they spent over a week there...costing the LGS $$$ with extra man power, loss sells due to long waits.....

    I know of one employee that called the labor board because they denied him lunch breaks and cheated him out of OT.. ...and they lost alot of local sells when the word got out in the neighborhood....it runs down hill...
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1 old 0311 View Post
    Well I am good there. I don't think I made money on any firearm I have EVER sold.
    I think I made a profit once. I had to take a German made air rifle instead of cash. The liar I sold the 12G to tried to back out of the deal. I later sold the air rifle to a man that specialized in this particular weapon. I got $200 for an air rifle.
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    Longstreet pretty much nailed it.

    You can sell every gun that you own with no issues.

    You buy one, don't shoot and then sell it at a profit, then it becomes an issue if you do it often. You might do that for years and get away with it or you might do it once and get questioned.
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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    I once sold 160 guns in less than 1 year without running into problems. I called the DOJ office and explained that for health reasons I needed to liquidate my collection. I was told that it wasn't a problem as I wasn't in the business of dealing in firearms. I did consign most of them through a local LGS because I wasn't in any shape to make all the trips to the post office, make up all the shipping boxes, keep up with all the paperwork, etc.... I did ask for a written OK, and was told to pose my question in writing, and send it to his field office. He responded in writing within about a week. Life was good. DR

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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerranger View Post
    I was told that it wasn't a problem as I wasn't in the business of dealing in firearms.
    And there is the answer--you're selling your personal guns in a person-to-person private transaction, not doing so as a business for profit. But sometimes the gov't can misconstrue the simplest things.
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    The ATF's position is that If you engage in firearms BUSINESS, you need an FFL. Most ATF agents will tell you that occasional sales are OK as long as the firearms are from your personal collection.

    What might constitutes business?
    - A business license intended for the sale of firearms, gunsmithing, the manufacture of firearms or the manufacture of ammunition.
    - A storefront or home business intended for the sale of firearms or manufacturing ammunition.
    - Selling firearms at a gun show
    - Any Intrastate transaction dealing in firearms without transferring through a licensed FFL.
    - Sales of reloaded ammunition for profit
    - Gunsmithing
    - Manufacture of any firearm for sale to the public
    - Buying firearms wholesale from a broker or distributor and selling for profit (buying from certain brokers is possible, buying from a distributor without an FFL is unlikely).
    - Expensing any firearms related business items as income tax expenses

    What is not illegal is legal. The ATF is fairly black and white regarding the law.
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