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Posted: 3/6/2010 7:46:34 AM EDT
I searched for this but found nothing.

Is this even possible? I do plan on having a store in the future. We are working towards that but want to be as proactive as possible. I didnt see this on the ATF website either.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 7:58:42 AM EDT
yes, got mine last year. Just make sure your ok for zoning and that you are in it to make money not personal collection.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 8:24:06 AM EDT
Buddy a couple doors down is an FFL w/o storefront, & runs it out of his home. He handles all my FFL transfers and he's cheap. He said its not a problem but you have to make sure you keep a solid secure storage area for whatever comes in/out, needs to be stored, etc. Burglary or crime in your neighborhood or a high chance of theft of firearms at your home (because everybody knows you're running it from there), and if your security is lacking, like missing a good heavy-duty gun safe, gives the ATF reason to deny or take your FFL away.  



He also said the most important thing is to maintain excellent records and if you can, record details about people/strangers you've sold to or done transfers for even though the background check said OK.  For example, a coworker he knew well bought 10 stripped lower receivers at one time and the ATF questioned him about the purchase and the individual's personal details, whom he vouched for. The ATF still questioned the coworker who bought the 10, but they just wanted to make sure he wasn't building and selling them "for profit" or for "straw sales", because that could constitute "manufacture of firearms" rather than for personal collection or use.



There are several FFL-specific computer software packages out there for maintaining a good FFL database. Once all is in good order, when the ATF does an audit, if they're happy, he said they tend not to come back for as long as 5 years. If not, they'll audit you every year he said, which they might do anyway the first few years until they get to know & trust you well.



The previous reply about doing it for profit and not primarily for personal collecting is important.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 8:55:25 AM EDT
Thanks for the replies.

So how do I go about making sure it will be ok with the county (I live on county land, not in the city)? Zoning, etc? Who do I speak to?
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 10:15:10 AM EDT
Quoted:
Thanks for the replies.

So how do I go about making sure it will be ok with the county (I live on county land, not in the city)? Zoning, etc? Who do I speak to?


Most counties have a zoning/planning department and can tell you how your property is zoned or if there are restrictions on what kind of business you can run out of your home. Usually people in the county are better off in this regard, as there are usually less restrictions.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 11:43:40 AM EDT
Well, I think one of the requirements for the FFL is your local CLEO's signature.  The local CLEO might be able to give some information if its OK in your county/zoning to begin with, since he's the one who has to sign your application.  Note that a judge or even an FBI agent doesn't qualify as a CLEO depending on the ATF's position about it.  



Buddy... here's more info.  



If you're serious, I'd talk to these guys, buy the kit, STUDY it, get the software, and follow it to the letter.  http://www.fflkit.com/?hop=verto



Let me know when you become an FFL (use the email link below) and what you went thru to get it.  Good luck!
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 1:05:56 PM EDT
There is NO sign off needed by the CLEO, just a copy of the form needs sent to them for their records.

Those kits are a waste of money, the ATF gives you all the info you need to proceed.

Get your zoning right and any business licenses you need, do the paperwork (fingerprints, pictures and forms etc) and send it off.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 1:10:24 PM EDT
Clear it with your planning and zoning and homeowners association if you have one.  Without proper zoning and ok by HOA if any, BATFE will not issue FFL.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 2:25:49 PM EDT
HOA are evil communist organizations.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 2:50:55 PM EDT
Agreed!  That is why I made it a point not to be able to see my neighbors house from mine when I bought



Quoted:


HOA are evil communist organizations.






 
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 3:41:44 PM EDT
Quoted:
If you're serious, I'd talk to these guys, buy the kit, STUDY it, get the software, and follow it to the letter.  http://www.fflkit.com/?hop=verto


Kit not needed - ATF is kind enough to give you all the info the kit does, but at no charge.
Hot to Become an FFL

After getting a home-based Type 07 FFL I wrote this up based on my experience:

Steps to getting a home-based Federal Firearms License (FFL):

1) Check your local zoning ordinances and HOA CCR's, if any. If either document prohibits you from obtaining a business license at your residence, go no further. The ATF will not issue you an FFL.

2) Check with your homeowner's insurance to see how much it will go up if you run a firearm business out of your home. Hopefully you have a local agent who you've personally known and worked with for many years, as the flunkie on the toll-free call center phone will probably freak at your questions. You may find the increase in premium alone makes getting an FFL unviable.

3) Another question for yourself - are you comfortable filing federal and state tax returns every quarter, and monthly sales tax returns? If not, add CPA services to your list of expenses.

4) If you've gotten to this point, find an attorney to help you form a S Corp, C Corp, or LLC (most folks go with an LLC). This is not the time to go with a DIY document off the internet, especially if you plan on dealing in NFA toys. Besides, being in the firearms biz, you're going to need an attorney sooner or later anyway; might as well get to know one now.

5) Once your corp/LLC is formed, get your EIN and obtain any necessary state and local business licenses to run a business. If you don't have these, the ATF will not issue an FFL. See #1 (and yes, they go to your county or city courthouse and check).

6) Call the ATF Distribution Center (703-455-7801) and ask for an application packet. It will include several copies of the application (no carbons unfortunately), fingerprint cards, and instructions.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 6:04:59 PM EDT
Well... thanks to all of you who corrected me. Learn something new every day.



(And I didn't think to ask my FFL buddy a couple doors down exactly how he went about his application and approval, since he might think I'm trying to compete with him. Besides, I didn't think this town needed another FFL on the same block.)



And guys...and semperfiws6...  I wasn't sure if you were really serious.  I mean... come on... an FFL is no laughing matter, neither is a Class 3 license.  Do your "Due Diligence".  You are going to have to find out thsi stuff yourself and read all of it.  I am sure all the responders to this thread can agree that the ATF won't "forgive" you for ignorance of the law.  



Like Mr. "Bubbles" just posted, find an attorney b/c you're going to need one eventually.  Well, better yet, find an attorney who knows and cares about gun rights and laws as it pertains to you being an FFL.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 7:02:44 PM EDT
Awesome info guys. I appreciate it. Will be going to the courthouse soon to inquire on business licenses, zoning etc.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 7:35:48 PM EDT
Quoted:
...you have to make sure you keep a solid secure storage area for whatever comes in/out, needs to be stored, etc. Burglary or crime in your neighborhood or a high chance of theft of firearms at your home (because everybody knows you're running it from there), and if your security is lacking, like missing a good heavy-duty gun safe, gives the ATF reason to deny or take your FFL away...


I'd like to hear from some other FFLs on this. While I understand the requirement to have secure storage for the firearms in your inventory, there is some lack of specificity on exactly what constituted secure storage.

Quoted:He also said the most important thing is to maintain excellent records and if you can, record details about people/strangers you've sold to or done transfers for even though the background check said OK.  For example, a coworker he knew well bought 10 stripped lower receivers at one time and the ATF questioned him about the purchase and the individual's personal details, whom he vouched for. The ATF still questioned the coworker who bought the 10, but they just wanted to make sure he wasn't building and selling them "for profit" or for "straw sales", because that could constitute "manufacture of firearms" rather than for personal collection or use.


As stated above, I'd be interested in hearing about recording "details about people/strangers".  If there is reason to believe that something is not right, don't go through with the sale. Otherwise, is it common to document interaction like this?

Quoted:...Once all is in good order, when the ATF does an audit, if they're happy, he said they tend not to come back for as long as 5 years. If not, they'll audit you every year he said, which they might do anyway the first few years until they get to know & trust you well.


I was under the impression that the ATF's goal was to perform an inspection on each dealer annually. Again, what is the experience regarding this from some of the other FFLs?
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 7:50:06 PM EDT
There is no definition of what constitutes "secure storage" by the ATF, but you must attest to having it.  Its a common sense thing really.  We dont use a gun safe, but a more general commercial one inside a cage system etc.... ATF inspector has never even looked at it.

And what records to keep, only the ones required by law, i.e. the bound book entries etc, they do not require you to take note of peoples characteristics, you have record of their name/address and all their details when you do the NICS check.
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 8:55:34 PM EDT
GEORGIA-TRANSFER: I am re-iterating word-for-word what my FFL friend said to me, who now runs it out of his house. He was told the same thing, paraphrasing the area ATF office. I'm narrating the "details about people/strangers" that my FFL buddy said about an experience during an ATF audit where they asked him about a certain purchase of TEN (10) AR lower receivers by ONE individual. My friend told the ATF agent that he works with the guy, has known him for a while and isn't "manufacturing" AR's for resale, that they were all his personal collection. The ATF agent actually asked my FFL if he had any idea how much this purchaser earned, if he had the kind of money to afford that many lowers or to build that many AR's. Needless to say, the purchaser got a call by the ATF, and nothing more transpired than a visit to the OUTSIDE DOOR of his house to talk to the guy. They had no warrant and not enough suspicion BECAUSE HIS FFL PERSONALLY VOUCHED FOR THE BUYER. Nothing more was done.



Of course if something is NOT RIGHT, don't go thru with it. It isn't worth risking your business & license, let alone your jail time.



As for audits on my FFL friend, he's been an FFL since before some of us were born, "as long as the first FFL was ever issued long ago" is what he said. The ATF and all the local CLEO's know him and he has been an outstanding citizen, community man, and FFL for the little time that I've known him. He has been very careful and thus his experience has been very successful. The other issue is that he's an FFL in a small "bedroom community", one of the safest, well-to-do, and quietest Texas communities around. He is also close to retirement and no longer runs the FFL business fulltime; hence he does not have a lot of transfers, just transfers from online or mail-order sales of firearms by those who know him. Therefore, his database isn't as large as much busier full-inventory gunshops. So, his experience as of late has been longer than 1 year between audits.



ONE WORD OF ADVICE TO GEORGIA-TRANSFER - DON'T TAKE WHAT I'VE SAID OUT OF CONTEXT!!!!
Link Posted: 3/6/2010 9:07:05 PM EDT
Quoted:
GEORGIA-TRANSFER: I am re-iterating word-for-word what my FFL friend said to me, who now runs it out of his house.  He was told the same thing, paraphrasing the area ATF office.  I'm narrating the "details about people/strangers" that my FFL buddy said about an experience during an ATF audit where they asked him about a certain purchase of TEN (10) AR lower receivers by ONE individual.  My friend told the ATF agent that he works with the guy, has known him for a while and isn't "manufacturing" AR's for resale, that they were all his personal collection.  The ATF agent actually asked my FFL if he had any idea how much this purchaser earned, if he had the kind of money to afford that many lowers or to build that many AR's.  Needless to say, the purchaser got a call by the ATF, and nothing more transpired than a visit to the OUTSIDE DOOR of his house to talk to the guy.  They had no warrant and not enough suspicion BECAUSE HIS FFL PERSONALLY VOUCHED FOR THE BUYER.  Nothing more was done.  

Of course if something is NOT RIGHT, don't go thru with it.  It isn't worth risking your business & license, let alone your jail time.

As for audits on my FFL friend, he's been an FFL since before some of us were born, "as long as the first FFL was ever issued long ago" is what he said.  The ATF and all the local CLEO's know him and he has been an outstanding citizen, community man, and FFL for the little time that I've known him.  So his experience has been very successful.  The other issue is that he's an FFL in a "bedroom community", one of the safest, well-to-do, and quietest Texas communities around.

ONE WORD OF ADVICE TO GEORGIA-TRANSFER - DON'T TAKE WHAT I'VE SAID OUT OF CONTEXT!!!!


WarLord31:

Relax, I'm not taking what you are saying out of context.  I'm just asking the other FFL's about their experiences in order to see how prevalent issues like this are when it comes inspection time.  No one is attempting to question your character or that of your FFL-friend.







Can Do!

Link Posted: 3/6/2010 9:31:09 PM EDT
Quoted:
There is no definition of what constitutes "secure storage" by the ATF, but you must attest to having it.  Its a common sense thing really.  We dont use a gun safe, but a more general commercial one inside a cage system etc.... ATF inspector has never even looked at it.

And what records to keep, only the ones required by law, i.e. the bound book entries etc, they do not require you to take note of peoples characteristics, you have record of their name/address and all their details when you do the NICS check.


The "secure storage" requirement has to do with child proof gun locks or cases being available to customers, NOT gun safes for the dealers inventory. http://www.atf.gov/forms/download/atf-f-5300-42.pdf



Link Posted: 3/6/2010 9:49:20 PM EDT




Quoted:



Quoted:

GEORGIA-TRANSFER: I am re-iterating word-for-word what my FFL friend said to me, who now runs it out of his house. He was told the same thing, paraphrasing the area ATF office. I'm narrating the "details about people/strangers" that my FFL buddy said about an experience during an ATF audit where they asked him about a certain purchase of TEN (10) AR lower receivers by ONE individual. My friend told the ATF agent that he works with the guy, has known him for a while and isn't "manufacturing" AR's for resale, that they were all his personal collection. The ATF agent actually asked my FFL if he had any idea how much this purchaser earned, if he had the kind of money to afford that many lowers or to build that many AR's. Needless to say, the purchaser got a call by the ATF, and nothing more transpired than a visit to the OUTSIDE DOOR of his house to talk to the guy. They had no warrant and not enough suspicion BECAUSE HIS FFL PERSONALLY VOUCHED FOR THE BUYER. Nothing more was done.



Of course if something is NOT RIGHT, don't go thru with it. It isn't worth risking your business & license, let alone your jail time.



As for audits on my FFL friend, he's been an FFL since before some of us were born, "as long as the first FFL was ever issued long ago" is what he said. The ATF and all the local CLEO's know him and he has been an outstanding citizen, community man, and FFL for the little time that I've known him. So his experience has been very successful. The other issue is that he's an FFL in a "bedroom community", one of the safest, well-to-do, and quietest Texas communities around.



ONE WORD OF ADVICE TO GEORGIA-TRANSFER - DON'T TAKE WHAT I'VE SAID OUT OF CONTEXT!!!!




WarLord31:



Relax, I'm not taking what you are saying out of context. I'm just asking the other FFL's about their experiences in order to see how prevalent issues like this are when it comes inspection time. No one is attempting to question your character or that of your FFL-friend.



Can Do!







OOPS ... SORRY GEORGIA-TRANSFER. It must be this Coca-Cola drink I've been having at this late hour... oh man...now I can't sleep for sure. SORRY!  Oh hey - fellow Seabee!  Oh man...I feel like a prick....sorry... its gotta be the caffeine, and a long day of yardwork.
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 6:33:13 AM EDT
...
Link Posted: 3/7/2010 7:08:57 PM EDT
I love reading threads like this...
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 4:06:31 AM EDT
I started out in my house selling/transfering from the kitchen table. Moved out to the garage a few years later with a safe and glass store case. I just didn't like the idea of having strangers in the house, even the garage. I was lucky in the fact that we have been in the retail business for many years and already had a store downtown and established. I just thought it would be convenient to do it from the house but then about 8 years ago I moved everything into town to our store. I found out it is WAY MORE convenient there and no more strangers in the house.

Also, some people complain about the ATF inspections and being in their home. I never worried about that at all. I have nothing to hide and it the ATF wants to snoop around in my underwear drawer they are more than welcome
Link Posted: 3/8/2010 5:07:32 AM EDT
Quoted:
...Also, some people complain about the ATF inspections and being in their home. I never worried about that at all. I have nothing to hide and it the ATF wants to snoop around in my underwear drawer they are more than welcome


I just moved to a new home. When my ATF guy came by to inspect the new "licensed premises" he was careful to note that the "first bedroom on the west side of the house...would be the location of all records, etc.". He said that would be the only portion of my licensed premises open to ATF compliance inspections.

Link Posted: 3/11/2010 8:12:01 AM EDT
Awesome info. This is exactly the stuff I needed. Thanks to all.
Link Posted: 3/13/2010 4:30:59 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
If you're serious, I'd talk to these guys, buy the kit, STUDY it, get the software, and follow it to the letter.  http://www.fflkit.com/?hop=verto


Kit not needed - ATF is kind enough to give you all the info the kit does, but at no charge.
Hot to Become an FFL

After getting a home-based Type 07 FFL I wrote this up based on my experience:

Steps to getting a home-based Federal Firearms License (FFL):

1) Check your local zoning ordinances and HOA CCR's, if any. If either document prohibits you from obtaining a business license at your residence, go no further. The ATF will not issue you an FFL.

2) Check with your homeowner's insurance to see how much it will go up if you run a firearm business out of your home. Hopefully you have a local agent who you've personally known and worked with for many years, as the flunkie on the toll-free call center phone will probably freak at your questions. You may find the increase in premium alone makes getting an FFL unviable.

3) Another question for yourself - are you comfortable filing federal and state tax returns every quarter, and monthly sales tax returns? If not, add CPA services to your list of expenses.

4) If you've gotten to this point, find an attorney to help you form a S Corp, C Corp, or LLC (most folks go with an LLC). This is not the time to go with a DIY document off the internet, especially if you plan on dealing in NFA toys. Besides, being in the firearms biz, you're going to need an attorney sooner or later anyway; might as well get to know one now.

5) Once your corp/LLC is formed, get your EIN and obtain any necessary state and local business licenses to run a business. If you don't have these, the ATF will not issue an FFL. See #1 (and yes, they go to your county or city courthouse and check).

6) Call the ATF Distribution Center (703-455-7801) and ask for an application packet. It will include several copies of the application (no carbons unfortunately), fingerprint cards, and instructions.


How are they with addresses? Do you need to have the storefront up and running? I can't see "starting" a business out of a proper storefront without being able to sell firearms for 6-12 months.

Link Posted: 3/13/2010 6:25:49 PM EDT
Quoted:
How are they with addresses? Do you need to have the storefront up and running? I can't see "starting" a business out of a proper storefront without being able to sell firearms for 6-12 months.



I think as long as there is no "legal" reason to deny an FFL, the BATF must issue one to the applicant.

I'm in a similar situation myself... having leased a former gun shop and indoor range. The range is being remodeled right now, because it may take another month or two until I have the FFL in my hand. As far as I'm aware, there is no legal reason they could deny my application... so I'm moving forward with the business. The range will open very shortly... and hopefully the FFL will arrive ASAP. I've waited almost a month for the license application kit... and it STILL hasn't arrived.  Monday morning I will start making phone calls to see about getting it sooner.

Link Posted: 3/13/2010 7:51:50 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
How are they with addresses? Do you need to have the storefront up and running? I can't see "starting" a business out of a proper storefront without being able to sell firearms for 6-12 months.



I think as long as there is no "legal" reason to deny an FFL, the BATF must issue one to the applicant.

I'm in a similar situation myself... having leased a former gun shop and indoor range. The range is being remodeled right now, because it may take another month or two until I have the FFL in my hand. As far as I'm aware, there is no legal reason they could deny my application... so I'm moving forward with the business. The range will open very shortly... and hopefully the FFL will arrive ASAP. I've waited almost a month for the license application kit... and it STILL hasn't arrived.  Monday morning I will start making phone calls to see about getting it sooner.



Are you on Lincoln Highway/Rt. 30?

Link Posted: 3/13/2010 7:58:19 PM EDT
Nope... I'm in Berks, on the East side of Reading.
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