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:
ATF Firearms: Private Application Services and Non-Approved Application Forms
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent this bulletin at 03/09/2012 03:32 PM EST
Private Application Services and Non-Approved Application Forms
March 9, 2012
ATF has recently become aware of web-based companies which guarantee the issuance of a Federal firearms license (FFL) if a prospective applicant purchases the company's application packet and advice about how to obtain a FFL. Anyone considering applying for a FFL should be aware that the fees paid for such consulting services and materials are not required, endorsed, or received by ATF. Any fees for application consulting services and materials are paid voluntarily by a prospective applicant, who should understand that such fees are in addition to the license and permit application fees required by law and collected by ATF. ATF collects no application fees online at this time. All ATF-required fee payments must be made by check, money order, or credit card and accompany the paper application form sent to ATF by the applicant.
It is also important to note that ATF does not guarantee the issuance of FFLs. Each application is reviewed on its merits under the qualifying criteria set forth by law.
Some private application services provide their own version of license application forms. Please note that ATF will not accept any application form not approved for use by the Office of Management and Budget and will return without action applications submitted on unauthorized versions of ATF forms. All ATF application forms are provided free of charge and may be obtained from the ATF website or forms Distribution Center by calling 202-648-6420. You may also contact the Federal Firearms Licensing Center at 1-866-662-2750 for assistance in completing FFL applications.
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
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
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
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
If you have any questions please feel free to ask.
Examples of California Regulations
CA FIREARM DEALER SIGN/FEE REQUIREMENTS
CA SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR FIREARM DEALERS
CA FIREARMS DEALER COMPLIANCE INSPECTIONS
(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
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
1. In the form prescribed by the Attorney General;
f. A listing on the DOJ Centralized List of Firearms Dealers.
2. A regulatory or business license that states on its face, "Valid for
Retail Sales of Firearms" and endorsed by the signature of the issuing
3. A letter from the licensing authority stating that the jurisdiction
does not require any form of regulatory or business license or does not
otherwise restrict or regulate the sale of firearms. After obtaining the above
licenses, an Application for Centralized List and appropriate fees are
submitted to the DOJ. Upon approval of the application, the dealer will be
given a CFD number and placed on the 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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