The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”. Whether for hunting, recreation, self-defense, or purely the desire to exercise one of the most important rights as an American citizen, gun-ownership is at an all-time high. With over 47% of the United States population owning a combined 310 million firearms, the gun industry generates a lucrative $32 billion for the US economy.
While private sales between private citizens (without knowledge or belief that the person is prohibited from possessing firearms) is a perfectly legal transaction that is popular within firearm clubs and gun shows, there is specific, in-depth and complicated documentation that must be applied for and acquired in order to professionally buy, sell, or repair guns – the Federal Firearms License, or the FFL for short.
Required by Federal law in order to conduct their livelihoods, prospective manufacturers, dealers, importers, pawnbrokers, and collectors of firearm-related relics find themselves asking about FFL application. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have an extensive process for application that requires a decent amount of time and a handful of relevant fees. Every process has a first step, and entrepreneurs of the firearms industry will find below the answer regarding FFL application.
In order to apply for a Federal Firearms License, there are several applicant requirements that must be met. The applicant:
- Must be at least twenty-one years of age.
- Must be a legal United States citizen.
- Cannot have ever renounced United States citizenship.
- Must be a legal resident in the state where your business is located.
- Cannot be found to have broken any federal laws related to firearms.
- Cannot have been convicted of a crime and imprisoned for more than one year.
- Cannot have ever had a restraining order held against them.
- Cannot be an addict of an illegal controlled substance.
- Cannot have ever been committed to a mental institution.
- Cannot have been dishonorably discharged (if the applicant served in the armed forces)
While not a requirement for the applicants themselves, state and local zoning ordinances must be checked to ensure the business’s location is not prohibited.
If all requirements are met, next comes the paperwork. The main document that will be dealt with is the ATF F 5310.12, commonly referred to as ATF Form 7. Therefore the ATF Form 7 is also known as FFL application form. The form is available as a .pdf file on The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives website. On the form, you will find basic identification information like name, business trade, Social Security number, address, and contact information.
The license, which is issued for a three-year period, has specific fees for specific certifications. Here are the costs that will be incurred, depending on which certification(s) are required:
- For dealers or pawnbrokers to sell firearms other than Destructive Devices* – $200
- For manufacturers of ammunition for firearms other than Destructive Devices* or Armor Piercing – $30
- For manufacturers of firearms other than Destructive Devices* – $150
- For importers of firearms or ammunition other than Destructive Devices* or Armor Piercing – $150
- For dealers of Destructive Devices* – $3000
- For manufacturers of Destructive Devices*, ammunition for Destructive Devices*, or Armor Piercing ammunition – $3000
- For importers of Destructive Devices*. Ammunition for Destructive Devices*, or Armor Piecing ammunition – $3000
*Destructive Devices, in layman’s terms, are missiles, explosives, grenade launchers, artillery, or large shotgun shells determined to be generally recognized as used for sporting purposes.
The rest of the ATF Form 7 is fairly straightforward, including information about the business where the firearm activity will take place, and the individual owners and partners of the business. One caveat of the application is prior approval from State or Local law officials to ensure that the intended business complies with zoning ordinances (as mentioned previously in the article).
To finalize your FFL application process, two more documents are needed. These final two pieces are not nearly as comprehensive as ATF Form 7, but are imperative to the process. Form ATF F 533.20, or the Certification of Compliance, and Form FD-258: the Fingerprint card. The Certification of Compliance is a simple form, ensuring that the applicant is a United States Citizen. The fingerprint card however, must be filled out by a law enforcement or government agency.
The final step in the arduous application process is the inclusion of two 2×2 photos of each person on the license application. A standard US Passport-quality photo is recommended. The ATF F 5310.12, ATF 5330.20, FD-258, and photos should be mailed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at the following address:
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
PO Box 409567
Atlanta, Georgia 30384-9567
The ATF will approve or disapprove the application within a 60-day period, which begins on the day the FFL application is received at the Federal Firearms Licensing Center. It is extremely important to make sure all of the rules and regulations on the application are met; the slightest deviation from the fine print will cause delay, which would be a huge setback for the prospective business to begin operation.
With such a complicated and drawn-out process, the question may easily go from ‘How can I get a FFL?” to “Do I really need one this badly?” in seconds. However, there is an easier way! With an FFL Kit, the process becomes simple. The FFL Kit provides all of the necessary paperwork and instruction to ensure that the pile of paperwork becomes a diligent and streamlined application session. Clear instructions help take out the risk and brings a certified license that much closer.Many people ask gun shop owners and others in the know, “How can I get a FFL?” With the FFL kit, the process is much more simplified and straightforward.