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Posted: 11/8/2003 8:55:34 AM EDT
I was wondering if any of you had any experience with running a gun dealership as a home business. I understand everything about the local zoning laws etc, my main concern is the ATF. I would like to do this a legitimate side business, I would incorporate etc. From what I gather as long as you have posted hours and a dedicated spot in your home it would be OK to do this. My other concern I guess which is not a legal one, is the safety of my family if some nut knew I was running a store out of the house and decided he wanted something.
Any advice would be helpful
Thanks,
Tom
Link Posted: 11/8/2003 10:25:31 AM EDT
Incorporating means you do not own the items, and can not keep them if you drop the license. They are corporation assets. Probably not hard to transfer them to yourself if only dealing in Title 1 firearms.

You will open your home to inspections not just one area of your home.

If you feel your family is not safe then I would not do this.
Link Posted: 11/9/2003 1:47:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/10/2003 10:16:52 AM EDT by TNFrank]
The way I understand it you can no longer run a firearms business from a private home. You have to have a business location to be a firearms dealer. You can have a C&R Type O3 lic. and use it from your home but you can't sell for the purpose of "doing business" so that won't help you as far as business goes.
Link Posted: 11/9/2003 2:43:05 PM EDT
TNFrank totally wrong. ATF will approve a license for anywhere that complies with local zoning codes.
Link Posted: 11/10/2003 10:15:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/10/2003 10:29:33 AM EDT by TNFrank]
http://www.atf.gov/firearms/nlc/ffl/faqs_genques.htm
Check out the ATF web site for the RIGHT answers. It says that you must have a "business" address, a privite home can't be your business address so you can't deal firearms from your house anymore. In the past you could but the laws have changed.
Page 44 of the"Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide" states: "Business premises. The property on which the manufacturing or importing of firearms or ammunition or the dealing in firearms is or will be conducted. A private dwelling, no part of which is open to the public, shall not be recognized as coming within the meaning of the term." So you see, you'd have to set aside a part of your house that would be seperate form the house to stay legal. Even that could still be a "grey" area, it would be safer to have a seperate building apart from the house to conduct business.
Link Posted: 11/10/2003 4:19:43 PM EDT
My home IS a business address like David pointed out in his post.

1/3 of my residential address is designated as a BUSINESS under zoning regulations for my State. I have an separate entrance and designated hours of operation for the FFL activities if the general public wanted to wander in. My application is processing as I type...
Link Posted: 11/11/2003 4:13:10 AM EDT
In that case Green Moutain Patriot you're ok. Tommc8 said he wanted to run a gun dealership as a "home business" and he was talking about a dedicated spot "in your home". From the way I read the law the place where you sell firearms would have to be seperate from the home not just a dedicated spot in the home. And as you've pointed out, you have to be open to the public. They can't just walk up to your house and ring the door bell and you let them come into your living room and sell them a gun. I had a very good buddy in Phoenix AZ. that had a firearms business in his home some years ago. He had a show room in his garage and you'd go into his dinning area to fill out your 4473. When the law changed he had to give up his business because the ATF told him that under the new law he was running his business from a privite residence and didn't have a place that was a legitemate business address since his house was in a residential area. Tommc8, if you really want to do this why not just call ATF, there're some very nice people to talk to and can help answer your questions better then anyone here in the forum.
Link Posted: 11/11/2003 6:21:28 AM EDT
I know two FFL holders that works out of his house. If it wassn't legal why does the ATF continue to renew their FLLs?
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 11:44:07 AM EDT
Well, just got done talking to the ATF. I was told that a big part of selling would depend on your local zoning laws. Also, you CAN NOT legally deal firearms from a privite residence. If you are zoned for it you could build a seperat building apart from your house and deal from there but you can't have people coming to the door of your house, coming into your living room and legally deal in firearms. If you don't believe me give ATF a call and let them explain it to you.
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 3:09:22 PM EDT
Like you said...it comes down to ZONING. I do not have a separate building but rather space zoned to conduct business w/ an entrance other than the front door to the dwelling. You can deal from a private residence as long as all of your zoning is in check.

Call the ATF 5 times and you could possibly get 5 answers on this subject
Link Posted: 11/12/2003 6:05:09 PM EDT
Lots of good information, I appreciate all the help. I guess I should do as you said and call the ATF and give them my exact situation and see what they have to say. I would really like to do this as a way to bring in some extra money and do something I enjoy a lot. I'm an elecrical engineer by trade so I'm not ready to quit my day job and open a retai store, but as I stated above it would be great to turn a hobby into a little extra cash flow.
Thanks again everyone, I'll keep you posted when I talk to the ATF
Tom
Link Posted: 11/18/2003 3:07:40 PM EDT
TNTFran you are so totally wrong on this. Any residence that is properly zoned for home based business, is legal to run an FFL from.

Wanna come to my shop. It's at my home. Yes I have opened my entire home up for inspection. You must have posted business hours but this can be 1:00-2:00 AM on Sunday only if you so choosed. The rest of business can be done by appointment only.

There are more Home Based FFLs than there are stocking gun shops.

Durring the Clinton years guys like your buddy gave them up under added pressure, but the only regulation chage was that you must follow local zoning laws. Many places have no zoning laws what-so-ever.

Link Posted: 11/18/2003 3:18:56 PM EDT
Since you are in Florida I would suggest you talk to those in the Florida forum under Hometown link.

Also goto and register with the following, there will be plenty of home based FFLs in your state that can help out with any local regs you might have.

groups.msn.com/TheFloridaAR15ShootersSite/_homepage.msnw?pgmarket=en-us
Link Posted: 11/18/2003 4:10:40 PM EDT
I never said that you couldn't have a firearms business based from your home, The law says that part of your home needs to be open to the public, so long as you open part of your home to the public and comply with local zoning laws you can sell all the guns that you want to. What I said was that you couldn't just get an FFL and sell form your home as it is now. There was a time when you could get an FFL and have people knock on your front door and they'd come in and set on the couch and you'd sell em' a gun but not any more. Now you have to have a part of your house set aside with an unlocked door so people can come and go, like a business, then it's legal.
Link Posted: 11/28/2003 1:43:28 AM EDT
Depending on type of FFL you don't HAVE to have your home opened up to the public. If you were to obtain an 07 FFL you could be making firearms for other FFL's, doing gunsmithing via mail order only, picking up firearms from local FFL's to work on, personally delivering them to other FFL's...and so on. In my opinion the best bet for a home based FFL is an 07. TS
Link Posted: 12/6/2003 11:54:28 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TNFrank: Now you have to have a part of your house set aside with an unlocked door so people can come and go, like a business, then it's legal.
View Quote
This is incorrect. Your BATF inspector told you wrong. I am familiar with multiple places that are "home" based with locked doors. People have to knock to come in. Security of the guns, you know. Dave is correct in what he has said.
Link Posted: 12/7/2003 7:45:11 AM EDT
Thanks for all the great info. I checked with the zoning board, looks like I'm OK there. I just can't post a sign bigger than 2'x2', cause traffic problems on my street, etc. I've got a buddy who does welding, he is going to make me a steel safe, so I can save some money there. I just need to decide if I want to incorporate or go LLC. Thanks again to everyone Tom
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