Applying for an FFL

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Jul 10, 2010
Anyone here ever attempt to get their own FFL? Myself and some coworkers have been talking about the idea of having our own FFL so we could stop paying the dealer transfer fees and their profit margins. In WA their requirements are really small so I cant imagine this not worth looking into seriously.
It has become harder and harder to get a FFL. The ATF used to approve them for collectors all the time. But over the past years, they have been moving away from doing that. From what I hear, unless you already have a business plan and have or plan on having a store front, the odds of getting one is slim. . . .
If you list your home as your store front, you can count on ATF inspecting you frequently to the point of being annoying. From what I hear, they have been discouraging small "kitchen table" gun stores. It would be expensive to maintain a separate store front. It will be cheaper just to keep supporting your bonafide established dealer. They earn their transfer fees dealing with ATF hassles.
I had one for three years. It is sort of up to your local guy at the ATF office. The guy that was in charge in Des Moines when I had mine was a laid back guy. Several people in the area got theirs with no store front at all. I got mine and basically just did special orders and transfers for the local gun club and a few other people here and there for some extra cash. But the process is laborious and the paperwork not fun. You also have to make sure you are in accordance with state and local laws as well. When the leadership around here changed hands and the new guy was known as a real pain, I just chose to not renew it. I never got inspected once in three years. Funny thing is when you give it up you have to send your log book and 4473 forms in. BATFE lost mine and tried to pin it on me. Lucky for me I do not trust the government and sent it certified mail so I had proof they got it and someone signed for it. Otherwise I may have been in deep doodoo. I just go to a local dude now that has one since he is a gunsmith and I get transfers for 15 bucks.
The other guys nailed it. Do NOT set up an FFL with your home address as an FFL, unless you have a shop way away from your house. It's not worth the hassle. Trust me I know the Bellingham area is lacking good gun are those guys on the Guide?
My experience as a FFL dealer is getting dated but I still urge you to do your homework before taking that step. You must specify a licensed premise and business hours. Since you are becoming a business, don't forget that you'll need a WA State Business License and a WA State Firearms Dealers License. The business license is a one time fee and then you pay taxes on your annual sales. The firearms license must be renewed every year. Decide now whether you will be just selling to buddies or whether you're going to actually retail. If it's just for yourself and a couple of buddies, personally, I would say it's not worth it. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me. I started off working at the wholesale level with RSR Wholesale, then dealing out of my home (bad idea), moved to storefront (what a pain in the behind), and then quit it entirely. It was real and it was fun...but it wasn't real fun.
it is not that hard to get. it took me about 45 days and 1 visit to my house. i did buy the 123ffl guide.
Originally Posted By: Pablo
The other guys nailed it. Do NOT set up an FFL with your home address as an FFL, unless you have a shop way away from your house. It's not worth the hassle. Trust me I know the Bellingham area is lacking good gun are those guys on the Guide?
Agency Firearms on the Guide is a great store. They just suck when it comes to customer service. They dont answer the phone or respond to emails. They will get you whatever you want if its available to their few distributers. They push the idea of doing it yourself hard and paying their $20 transfer. They have next to nothing in stock. So going their is a waste of time unless your going to order something or tell them in person to fax their FFL somewhere because they wont answer the phone!
Depending on what you are interested in, it might be worht while to get an FFL03. This is the Collector's license for "Curio & relic" firearms and allows you to buy certain firearms directly, including out of State. It also gets you a nice discount at places like Midway USA, Brownells, etc. The FFL03 is $30 for 3 years and the paperwork (Bound Book) is very minimal. The $30 fee will more than likely be offset just by the discounts you receive over 3 years of shopping!
Outdated knowledge here as well but had a relative that had an FFL just for his house and buddies. Never was an issue until Waco, then the local ATF started looking for the pictures of the storefront etc. Basically said they were getting away from 'tableside dealer'. FWIW this was in a western state that is fairly pro-gun.
More outdated info, but five years experiences in sales at a legit storefront dealer (70/30 wholesale/individual) was something that started out awesome and ended up with me bleary-eyed and jaded. I got tons of experience with sales, have experience with a vast array of firearms and accessories, and was lucky to own a number of rare and/or C3 firearms. We supplied local police with their weapons and gear, and I got out of at least a half dozen tickets due to this. When the DEA administrator changed, though, my experience was similar to a previous poster: he was a d1ck. Went from maybe one inspection a year to as many as 8 in 5days. Too much hassle, and even the local sheriff and police chief met with him about it to ask him to back off, but it never got better smirk It was fun and a great experience, and I got a world class collection out of it, but I am glad I left when I did. I have heard from the owner that the guy still has not backed off, and this is as legitimate a firearms store as there is. Too bad, really.
Too bad some people in government just hate that "pesky" second amendment. I would have kept mine as I got some cool trades that came in along the way I had to keep for myself. I mean how often do you get a Martini Action 12ga made by the famous Greener company in England?
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