How to get a FFL (without paying for the forms)

There are many websites offering to sell you packages so that you can get a FFL (Federal Firearms License). The problem with this is that what you need to do is unique for each city and state and the paperwork from the BATF is free, so no need to pay for it.

Here is a notice from the BATF:

There are links for the BATF and CA DOJ Firearms division on my web page. The specific BATF web page is:

ATF Online - Firearms - How To - Become An FFL

There is a FAQ link there to answer most of your questions.

It is easy to get a FFL, but it can be a bit more difficult to get the rest of the licenses and permits to allow you to make use of the FFL. The first thing you need to do if you want to get a FFL is to contact your local city and/or county business office for the details and limitations for businesses, specifically for dealing with firearms. In some places you can operate a business out of your home, but the city or county will not allow you to have visitors (LA County), which makes it useless.

You will also need to check with the state that you live in to see what the requirements are.

Once you have done all that, you can decide if you want to get a FFL. While the FFL itself is fairly cheap, the other permits and licenses can get expensive, so it is best to know what you are getting into. You will need to file a tax return as a business, which is not a big deal, at least in CA. You will also need to file sales tax returns, how often depends on how much business you do. You will also need to know all the Federal, State and Local laws which relate to selling firearms. This can be the most difficult to deal with since the laws change all the time and often the answer to what you need to do varies depending on who you talk to. Sometimes the government acts like something is a law, when in reality it isn't, which makes things more confusing.

In order to get a FFL the BATF requires that you do it as a business, not just for your own personal collection. If you are just interested in older firearms, you might consider a C&R FFL (Curios & Relics). This will allow you (with limitations, depending on where you live, to purchase firearms over 50 years old or which are on the C&R list). In the case of California, you can also get a Certificate of Eligibility which will allow you to bypass the waiting period, as well as the one gun per month limitation.

In the case of where I live I need a city business license, a city business tax permit, a resale license (the only thing free), a Certificate of Eligibility, a State inspection fee to be on the list of certified dealers and finally the FFL itself. I am also required to have a safe or an acceptable locking device for firearms, numerous signs and follow all the paperwork requirements.

If any of the pay sites are willing to give you ALL the information that you need for your exact location, then perhaps it would be worth it, as well as a money back guarantee in case you can not get everything that you need.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Examples of California Regulations



(Includes CA Licensing Requirements)

CA Licensing Requirements for Firearms Dealers (FFLs)

From the CA DOJ FAQ webpage:

For more information, see:

1. What are California's licensing requirements for firearms dealers?

California firearms dealers must obtain and maintain the following:

a. A valid FFL,
b. A valid Seller's Permit issued by the State Board of Equalization,
c. A valid COE issued by the DOJ,
d. Any regulatory business license, or licenses, required by local government,
e. A local license granted by the duly constituted licensing authority, valid for one year from the date of issuance, and in one of the following forms:
f. A listing on the DOJ Centralized List of Firearms Dealers.

For more information on dealer licensing or to obtain an Application for Centralized List of Firearms Dealers, contact the Firearms Licensing and Permits Unit at (916) 227-3694.

(PC section 12071(a))
Main FFL web page

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