FFL Dealer

What is an FFL (Federal Firearms License) & Who Must Have One?

By David S. Katz

What is an FFL?

An “FFL” or Federal Firearms License is a license required by federal law for people or companies engaged in the business of buying and selling firearms.  A federal firearms licensee is often called an “FFL” or “dealer.”  When an individual purchases, sells, or transfers a firearm through a dealer, the FFL and the individual must both comply with specific federal law requirements, paperwork, and procedures concerning the buying, selling, or transferring of those firearms.

Who needs an FFL?

Federal law requires a Federal Firearms License if a person is engaged in business as a firearms dealer, manufacturer, or importer.  A person is engaged in business as a firearms dealer when the person “devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but does not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms.”  18 U.S.C. §921(a)(21)(C).

How do you get an FFL?

Interested in learning more about applying for an FFL?  Visit the ATF website: https://www.atf.gov/firearms/apply-license

Who is eligible to have an FFL?

In order to be granted an FFL, an applicant must:

be at least 21 years old;

• be eligible to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition;

• not have willfully violated the Gun Control Act (GCA) or its regulations;

• not willfully fail to disclose material information or make false statements concerning material facts in connection with his or her application;

• Have a premises for conducting business or collecting; and

• certify that:

(1) the business to be conducted under the license is not prohibited by State or local law in the place where the licensed premises is located;

 (2) within 30 days after the application is approved the business will comply with the requirements of State and local law applicable to the conduct of the business;

(3) the business will not be conducted under the license until the requirements of State and local law applicable to the business have been met;

(4) the applicant has sent or delivered a form to the chief law enforcement officer where the premises is located notifying the officer that the applicant intends to apply for a license; and

* if the applicant is to be a licensed dealer, the applicant certifies that secure gun storage or safety devices will be available at any place in which firearms are sold under the license to persons who are not licensees (“secure gun storage or safety device” is defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(34)).


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