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Posted: 9/5/2004 1:51:33 PM EST
So, I'm entertaining the idea of getting an '01 FFL license.

I'm not so interested in going into buisness so much as I'd like to save a little dough from time to time as well as be able to take delivery of handguns and non C+R guns. The $200 ATF fee doesn't bother me. Nor does the record keeping or "site" inspection. Yeah, I'll have to get a MI state tax I.D. #. Is there any big issue I'm overlooking that would scream at me to just forget the whole thing? I haven't been able to find anything in the fed or local laws precluding such a "home" buisness. The only thing I haven't been able to check out yet are any local laws; zoning or other, that would preclude going through the trouble. I'm in Lodi Twp. in case anyone has any local info that might be helpful to me.

Thoughts, suggestions, advice, warnings?
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 1:58:32 PM EST
"Is there any big issue I'm overlooking that would scream at me to just forget the whole thing?"

Yep...called illigal. Can't get a DEALER license to enhance your personal collection. Tell the ATF this is why you want one and you will get denied sure as shit. You have to do it to be in business....PERIOD.

I am not trying to piss on your parade...just letting you know the facts. If you are serious, do it...do it as a business and make your hobby pay for iteself and then some. There is no measure of how big your business has to be but you definately have to do this for profit as a business.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 10:34:41 PM EST
In addition to what gordie48001 wrote above, I'd say check, VERY CAREFULLY, your local zoneing laws. Where I live (Libral Royal Oak) the city, county, and sometimes the BATF will fight you all the way. I was a FFL about 13 years ago, and it was a great time, but the laws have changed, and it's a PITA now. Good luck and get EVERYTHING IN WRITING!!!!

Tall Shadow
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 4:55:05 PM EST
Thanks for the replies.

I may have understated the buisness aspect. I intend to turn a profit and turn over product regularly...I just don't plan on opening a storefront operation. There's nothing in the fed laws that says how much if any buisness I'd have to turn to be legit. I don't plan on telling the ATF I'm not plannning on doing buisness. I, in fact, am planning on doing buisness on a small scale for the first couple of years. If I like it and I can make some profits without having to rape and pillage, maybe then I'll expand. It just frosts my azz to know how much some guns are marked up.

As far as local issues, my township has a $50 fee for a home occupation permit, one time. Have to go for a public hearing...no big deal. The big if will come from the lawyers. I have to be able to protect my personal asstets from the gun banning sue mongerers. If incorporating will take care of that, good. If my personal assets would still be liable...screw it.
Link Posted: 9/15/2004 10:47:26 AM EST
I had an FFL for over 20 years and finally gave it up 2 years ago.

First don't let the guys scare you about enhancing your collection. I asked the compliance agents numerous times over the years how many guns you have to sell to be considered "in the business". They won't tell you because it has never been defined. One year I sold one gun, though I bought several. No problem.

A problem with FFL's is that you sign the form saying you will comply with all laws, ordinances etc. This means zoning laws, sales tax collection, filing DBA's, tax laws, gun lock laws, storage of firearms laws etc. It is a federal crime if you don't meet every law. It just gets to be a hassle after awhile. It is a pain in the ass sitting down each year to do your taxes and having to figure out what percentage of your house, vehicle and such is "business related" when in fact your biz is a shell so you can buy guns cheaper.

If you think you will save money with an FFL, I have to warn you.? You will buy 10 times as many guns as you normally would just because you can.

If you are serious about going into business consider that is a cutthroat industry. During the 1980's I doubled my yearly income just doing gunshows one weekend a month. Gunshows are not a very good source anymore. Too much junk, too much bad press, too much competition.

I never liked it when someone asked me to "find" them such or such a gun, and after spending a hell of a lot of time searching the internet and numerous distributors for a week bitched about the price because a friend bought it $10 cheaper at a gun show last year. Another one is that someone will order a cheap POS gun and then complain when it doesn't work or they don't like the way it looks and wants you to take it back.

My suggestion is get a Curio & Relics license. This will get you discounts on C&R guns and accessories and stuff but doesn't have the same amount of paperwork or responsibility. Second, hook up with a dealer that will do transfers for you for a reasonable fee. Some dealers are happy to take a fee if they don't have to do any work.

Good luck.

Link Posted: 9/27/2004 7:14:58 PM EST
I'm also planning on getting an 01. What are the laws pertaining to storage here in Michigan? I don't have a safe, would a locked room be good enough, with trigger locks?
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 2:23:01 AM EST
Im looking at getitng my liscense as well, just got my paper work from the ATF today, any dealers out there have any tips for the DEQ papers, how the hell are you supposed to know what and how much waste you are going to generate?
And do you have to have the police do your prints or can you do them yourself?
also what paper work is you local PD supposed to get?
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 5:40:15 AM EST
I believe you have to take your application to the PD and have it signed by the chief or his representitive so they know you will be dealing weapons. It should say on the application.

If there are any local zoning ordinances that prevent you from dealing out of your house or out of an office they will not sign it. In many cases, where you will be selling has to be zoned retail.

The police have have to fingerprint you.
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 9:59:25 AM EST
thanks for the info, are there any good links for any other ordinances, or laws specific to MI?
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 4:28:48 PM EST
The police will likely tell you what if any local ordinances including zoning laws are applicable to your city. They won't approve your app and the ATF would approve it if zoning laws don't allow you.

If you are going to sell guns you will need a sales tax license, you can get one through the dept of commerce in MI. Go online to michigan.gov and search for the forms. Your city may require you to have the sales tax license before approving the FFL, though you basically are signing the form saying you will or are complying with all laws and ordinances. You may also want to get a DBA, (doing buisness as).
You get this through the county clerk and it may require the application to be notorized.

Finally, you will need to comply with the trigger lock laws. This can be downloaded with all the forms from the Mich State Police website. Any gun you sell has to have a gun lock or locking case and the person you sell it to has to read and sign the lock law forms.

good luck
Link Posted: 9/28/2004 7:39:40 PM EST
So, I wouldn't need a safe? BTW, I'm in Mount Clemens, I take it from one of your other posts, you are near me, Monkey.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 8:50:19 AM EST

Originally Posted By hughjafj:
So, I wouldn't need a safe? BTW, I'm in Mount Clemens, I take it from one of your other posts, you are near me, Monkey.



I am not sure what the ATF requirements are about securing your guns anymore. When I started I had them in several metal gun cabinets, like those Homak jobs you can buy at Meijer etc. Those were in a separate locked room in the basement. You have to keep your personal and FFL guns separate. Eventually I bought gun safes and put an alarm on my house and an alarm on that room.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 8:16:52 PM EST
What about zoning laws?
Link Posted: 10/6/2004 5:19:17 AM EST

Originally Posted By hughjafj:
What about zoning laws?



Zoning laws vary city to city. In my experience, neither your local PD or ATF will approve the application if they know of zoning laws that are contrary to selling out of your house. Zoning is probably the number one reason why people don't get a license. It took me 18 months one time to renew my license because of zoning laws. The thing that finally got me approved was that the city I lived in suddenly recognized that many people sold stuff by mail order and over the internet out of their homes. The traditional idea of "retail" no longer applied and one did not need a storefront to do business. In my case I convinced them that all my sales were by pre order only and all pickups were by appointment.

What you might want to do is check with your city (zoning dept) and see if there are any restrictions on home based buisnesses such as mail order/internet orders. You might want to pick up a copy of the zoning laws from them as well.

Somtimes zoning laws are rather strange. Some cities have ordinances that prohibit gun shops within 1000 feet of a school. I live across the street from an elementary school and they tried that one on me. I turned it around on them since my area wasn't zoned retail I couldn't be a "gun shop" and thus the law did not apply to homeowners etc.

There is a lot of BS to dig through and more and more to come, which is why I eventually gave up my FFL.
Link Posted: 10/17/2004 1:51:53 PM EST
A close friend of mine went down this road about a year ago. Not to discourage you, but all said and done, it has become such a hassel now that he gave up. The straw that broke the camels back was storgae of inventory. He already has his own business, a tool and die shop. Based on the BATF person he spoke with, he was going to have to have a "retail" presence (aka walk-in store front) and a secured storage area which would either have to be a very large gun safe or construct a concrete block room. His ideas of running the business out of the existing tool & die shop did not qualify without major restructuring.

I am not aware if this was documented anywhere, but I DO know they made it appear very very difficult to secure an FFL and remain within the law. Thus he gave up.

BTW - He was in the Barry County area - SE of Grand Rapids.
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