FFL questions

This is a discussion on FFL questions within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Forgive me if this has been posted somewhere else, but how difficult is it to obtain an FFL? A couple guys I know have them ...

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Thread: FFL questions

  1. #1
    Member Array chiboxer's Avatar
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    FFL questions

    Forgive me if this has been posted somewhere else, but how difficult is it to obtain an FFL? A couple guys I know have them and operate out of their homes. However I have heard that it is next to impossible to get one if you live in a major urban area and don't have a storefront. Any of you private FFLs out there have any guidance? I'd primarily use mine to enhance my own collection and sell to guys I work with.
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  3. #2
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    I did not find it difficult at all. The package of forms required is available on the ATF website. I just got mine last week. Here is the thread that gives more details.
    FFL
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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    Member Array denverd0n's Avatar
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    Former FFL holder here. Once I was aware of all of the consequences, I decided to give it up. The thing that got me is that the ATF has the right to inspect your business premises--with reasonable advance notice--whenever they want. And when they do, all of the guns on the business premises MUST be accounted for in your business records.

    What that means for FFLs who operate out of their home is that, in essence, they can no longer own any "personal" guns. Or, at least, if they do, they can't keep them at home. Because if you have a gun safe, and tell the ATF agents that only "personal" guns are in there, so they can't search it, they are not going to take kindly to that. And if they find guns in there that are not reflected in your business records you are going to be in a world of hurt.

    What are the odds that you'll get "caught" if you keep some of your private guns out of your business records? Pretty low. What are the consequences? Pretty severe. It wasn't a risk that I wanted to take, and I decided that I didn't like the idea that these government agents could come in and rummage through all my guns--including the ones I considered "personal"--whenever they wanted to.

    For this reason I do not recommend getting a FFL unless you honestly intend to make a serious business out of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
    Former FFL holder here. Once I was aware of all of the consequences, I decided to give it up. The thing that got me is that the ATF has the right to inspect your business premises--with reasonable advance notice--whenever they want. And when they do, all of the guns on the business premises MUST be accounted for in your business records.

    What that means for FFLs who operate out of their home is that, in essence, they can no longer own any "personal" guns. Or, at least, if they do, they can't keep them at home. Because if you have a gun safe, and tell the ATF agents that only "personal" guns are in there, so they can't search it, they are not going to take kindly to that. And if they find guns in there that are not reflected in your business records you are going to be in a world of hurt.

    What are the odds that you'll get "caught" if you keep some of your private guns out of your business records? Pretty low. What are the consequences? Pretty severe. It wasn't a risk that I wanted to take, and I decided that I didn't like the idea that these government agents could come in and rummage through all my guns--including the ones I considered "personal"--whenever they wanted to.

    For this reason I do not recommend getting a FFL unless you honestly intend to make a serious business out of it.
    According to the investigator who came to my home and the documents that I have read from ATF "personal guns" are personal guns and not subject to inspection even if laying out on the table. Section 478.23 (a) states that the things that can be inspected are:

    (1) Any records or documents required to be kept by such licensee under this part and

    (2) Any inventory of firearms or ammunition kept or stored by any licensed manufacturer, licensed importer, or licensed dealer at such premises or any firearms curios or relics or ammunition kept or stored by any licensed collector at such premises.
    Items which are personal, whether acquired before receiving the FFL or transferred to my personal collection are not "inventory . . . kept by any . . . licensed dealer."

    The one exception to this is: if I transfer an item to my personal collection it may be inspected for up to one year after the transfer. This is because for one year after transfer I am required to transfer it back to inventory to sell it. After one year I can sell it to an individual without a 4473 just as I can any other item in my personal collection. This is to prevent a dealer from getting a firearm, transferring it to his personal collection and then selling it to an individual without doing a 4473 in order to circumvent the law. This info is found in Section 478.125a. I am required to maintain a record of the transfer of any personal firearm that was transferred to my personal collection over a year ago. The record has to contain the manufacturer, model, serial no., type, caliber or gauge, date, name and address of the person who purchased it and that persons date of birth. All of the information about the person can be taken from a drivers license. Personal firearms not transferred through the business to my personal collection are not subject to the record requirement.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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    VIP Member Array Rob99VMI04's Avatar
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    Well is it easy or do you need a store front. People have told me (I took at face value at the time) that you could only get a FFL if you had a store front.
    “Are you a thermometer or a thermostat, do you reflect or become what is happening in the room or do you change the atmosphere, reset the temperature when you come into the room”?--Chuck Swindoll

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob99VMI04 View Post
    Well is it easy or do you need a store front. People have told me (I took at face value at the time) that you could only get a FFL if you had a store front.
    I have an FFL and have no storefront. I provided a pretty good sketch of what was required in this thread: FFL. For answers to most questions go to ATF Online and National Licensing Center. They cover just about everything you need to know.

    Local and state laws do come into play as well, so you need to know about them. Good Luck.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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    "(2) Any inventory of firearms or ammunition kept or stored by any licensed manufacturer, licensed importer, or licensed dealer at such premises or any firearms curios or relics or ammunition kept or stored by any licensed collector at such premises."

    What my attorney told me was that the part quoted above means that everything in the house (assuming the house is your place of business) has to be in the inventory, and is therefore subject to verification. I never asked an ATF agent that question. I leave it to you to decide if you want to ask your attorney, and then whether you would believe your attorney or the ATF agent. As for me, I believe my attorney.

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    Quote Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
    "(2) Any inventory of firearms or ammunition kept or stored by any licensed manufacturer, licensed importer, or licensed dealer at such premises or any firearms curios or relics or ammunition kept or stored by any licensed collector at such premises."

    What my attorney told me was that the part quoted above means that everything in the house (assuming the house is your place of business) has to be in the inventory, and is therefore subject to verification. I never asked an ATF agent that question. I leave it to you to decide if you want to ask your attorney, and then whether you would believe your attorney or the ATF agent. As for me, I believe my attorney.
    I would normally believe the attorney, but the attorney is not the one who is going to be doing the inspection. Besides I don't know if the attorney has actually read more than that one paragraph. Other sections, the forms and the FFL newsletters address the question and their interpretation is the same as mine. The ATF agent in question only affirmed what I had already determined to be the answer.

    I think that Section 478.125a Personal firearms collections clearly indicates that your attorney has misinterpreted Section 478.23 Right of entry and examination. It is also possible that at the time your attorney made his statement that 478.125a was not in the code. The fact that it is 125a does indicate that it was added after the other sections. I don't know when it was added. It do know that it appears in Federal Firearms Reference Guide ATF Publication 5300.4 Revised September 2005. The version prior to September 2005 was published in 2000 and between there were many changes made.

    Just one more thought. The inventory in question would be what is listed in the bound book on the Acquisition side and not on the Disposition side with the exception of items listed on the Disposition side as transferred to personal collection and which showed a date of less than one year prior to the date of the inspection. Any other interpretation of inventory would be foreign to the way the term is used in business. That doesn't mean that ATF could not use the term in another way, but that would be unusual even for the feds.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    i had an ffl during the 80's. used it to buy reloading supplies. this was before anyone could buy reloading supplies from the jobers. save tons of money with my ffl. me and my wife shot matches each weekend. we livied at the rod and gun club, in other words we pop a lots of caps. then somewhere around 1993 it was time to renew again. and the new rules that they send me were to much to do. anyway my home did not meet the standards ffl business standards, local laws, and other new things i did not want to mess with. so by this time anyone (non ffl) could get reloading supplies from the shotgun news and felt that i did not need the problems. if you are not going to open a gun store, then getting a ffl is not worth the problems that you going to save for a few guns. get to know your local gun store/club, you can allway find someone that will sale 10 to 20% over ffl cost.
    An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.

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  11. #10
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    I agree Frank, but I did not get my FFL for me. I live in a small town and it is 30 miles to the nearest FFL and at least 75 to the nearest decent gun store. I do not plan to have a gun store, but I can provide the transfer service or can order for people. If I make a few dollars fine, if I don't fine. I will save a few bucks on some things, but the service to the community is why I did it. If there had been an FFL offering transfers within 10 or 15 miles I probably would not have bothered.

    If I lived in a place other than the county I live in the 30 miles might not have been a consideration either. But the county I live in is consistently listed as one of the 3 poorest in the country. Many of the people who live here can't take an hour and a half to run to the FFL to do a transfer plus pay for the gas to go 60 miles after buying the gun. So I can make it a little easier and keep some of the dollars in the community. For me the extra records and such are not too much of a bother when compared with the benefits to my neighbors.

    If it becomes too much all I have to do is send the records back to ATF.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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