How To Get an FFL (A Simple Guide)

Learn the necessary steps for getting your Federal Firearms License from The Gun Source. Our simple guide covers all you need to know, so start the process today.

If you want to start a firearms-related business, such as a gun store, gunsmithing or firearms manufacturing, you need to obtain an FFL from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). An FFL allows you to legally buy, sell, and transfer firearms as part of your business operations.

Collectors of firearms may choose to obtain an FFL to purchase firearms for their collection without having to go through a licensed dealer. This can make it easier to acquire rare or unique firearms.

Although the FFL application process has numerous steps in the overall process, you only need to follow a few of them as outlined in this guide:

Apply for license

Ready to get started on your Federal Firearms License (aka “FFL”)? Simply fill out the Application for License form, ATF Form 7/7CR and mail it off to the designated post office box listed on the application. It’s that easy.

To submit your application, please include the appropriate fee that can be paid by check, credit card, or money order (cash is not accepted).

This includes all firearms license types.

First review and background check

After your application fee is processed, the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC) will add all of your information to their database and assess it thoroughly. For any license type other than Type 03, they will also look at additional documents such as fingerprints and pictures. This review process allows FFLC to make sure that you meet all requirements for a firearm license before giving authorization.

By law, the FFLC must then conduct an electronic background check on all individuals you have identified as Responsible Persons in your application.

The ATF describes a Responsible Person (RP) as someone who holds sole proprietorship, is a partner of the business, or has control over how firearms are managed and organized within their organization.

Corporate officers, shareholders, board members, and all other employees with the necessary legal authority must finish their Part B – Responsible Person Questionnaire of the ATF Form 7/7CR to be held accountable by a corporation (see link below).

Interview and final review

The field office supervisor will assign an Industry Operations Investigator (IOI) to visit you and discuss the federal, state, and local requirements while they go through your application with a fine-tooth comb. This ensures that all of the information provided is accurate and up-to-date.

Following the inspection and interview, the IOI will compile a report of their findings to make an educated recommendation on whether your application should be approved or denied.

Denials may be due to not adhering to local or State regulations (e.g., zoning laws), evidence of prior violations of the Gun Control Act, or lying on the application form.

The field office supervisor will also review the report and provide their suggestion to the FFLC for consideration.

If all background investigations have been carried out and your business address as well as proposed operations are compliant with the local state laws, the FFLC will finish processing your application and issue you a license. This usually takes about sixty days from when they receive an accurately filled-out form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get an FFL (Federal Firearm License) without a business?

If you do not have a business and wish to obtain an FFL, you must demonstrate a valid reason for doing so. For example, you may be a gun collector or enthusiast who wishes to purchase and sell firearms as a hobby.

What are FFL license requirements?

Here are the basic federal requirements to obtain an FFL, according to

  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Be a US citizen or legal permanent resident.
  • Not be convicted of any felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
  • Not be a user of illegal drugs (including marijuana)
  • Never have been dishonorably discharged from the US Military.
  • No outstanding arrest warrants.
  • No pending criminal charges.

Go here for more information.

How long does it take to get an FFL?

The application process should take no more than 60 days from the time a correct application was first received at the FFLC.