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Old January 22, 2013, 09:28 AM   #1
jd3020
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Ffl license

Hey guys some of my buddies have been pushing me to get my ffl license to start buying and selling guns. From what I have researched it will cost me 200 for the license. Reading through the form application it says the ATF comes and inspects your operation but this is where my questions start. I talked to my local zoner and he said they do not allow you to work out of your house so having the license is fine but having a customer come to my house would not work. So what can I do and what do I tell the ATF when they come to talk to me about my application. I will be applying for a type 01 license I believe that is weapons but non destructive. Any input from ffl dealers would be appreciated. Thanks for all your help
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Old January 22, 2013, 09:30 AM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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The ATF will not issue an FFL unless it is legal for you to do business at your location of choice. If you're not allowed by zoning to do business out of your house, you'll have to find and use a legal location.
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Old January 22, 2013, 09:47 AM   #3
carguychris
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I suggest diving a little deeper into the zoning regulations and finding if there's a section that specifically addresses home-based businesses. Start by looking for a section that addresses "accessory uses". Read what it says and think about how you can tailor your operation to stay within the regulations.

Most municipalities recognize that some citizens are going to run cottage businesses out of their homes no matter what the local government does, and that trying to shut them all down not only makes voters mad, it also effectively cheats the city out of tax revenue by giving the operators an incentive to keep their activities off the books. Consequently, many cities allow such businesses as long as certain rules are followed, which generally focus on the potential public nuisance aspects of a business, such as brightly lit exterior signage.

Read the regs, and if there looks like there may be an opening, try talking to the municipal staff again. It's often a matter of asking the right questions. Think about it this way:

"I live at 123 Tulip Lane and I want to open a gun store in my house." - BAD

"I live at 123 Tulip Lane and I want to open an accessory minor retail business per Section 7, Subsection C of the Zoning Code. Per the regulations, there will be no added off-street parking, no exterior signage, and no operations between 8pm and 8am." - GOOD
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Old January 22, 2013, 10:41 AM   #4
jd3020
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I havnt gotten a copy of the zoning regs from the city but I know when I called he said I was in zone 4 of the county I believe and he also said that all regulations point to not allowing the sale of tangable goods out of a home. Now he also told me yes you can but if the neighbor sees people showing up at the house a couple times of a week and leaving with a rifle pistol etc and I get turned in it could be very bad for me. So he suggested I use my parents house as my place of storage. So I'm assuming this would be my business address because they are out of the city limits. So next question is this possible to do use my parents house as my business?
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Old January 22, 2013, 10:57 AM   #5
lcpiper
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You are also going to want to look a little deeper into the FFL requirements. There is alot more too it then just paying a few bucks to the feds and buying and selling guns. You must track all those purchases (meaning record keeping), you must now conduct the background checks, and there has to be more too it.
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Old January 22, 2013, 11:23 AM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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You can use whatever place you want as a place of business as long as you are legally allowed to do business from that location and you have some sort of agreement with the owners to actually do so (a lease for example).

The ATF couldn't care less where you do business as long as it's legal.

You will have to keep in mind that part of the application specifies hours which you intend to dedicate to your business. These are the hours that the ATF can (and will) show up unannounced at your place of business to do inspections.

Do your parents want the ATF showing up unannounced at their house, looking for you, your guns and your bound-book?

It's obvious that you are early in this process but just take care to learn everything you need to know before you get started. It's not that complicated but there certainly are things that you need to know and you need to do right.

Start here:
http://www.atf.gov/firearms/how-to/become-an-ffl.html
http://www.atf.gov/publications/down...f-p-5300-4.pdf
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Old January 22, 2013, 12:23 PM   #7
jd3020
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Ok can I use my house for my business to keep my papers there but use there house for a storage location and to actually pass the weapon off to the customer
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Old January 22, 2013, 10:51 PM   #8
ka26
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I'm actually nearing the end of this process (I hope). Unfortunately for me I was foolish enough to purchase a home in a HOA neighborhood. I planned on starting my business out of my home, contacted the individual in charge of my HOA & got the approval to operate business in writing. After this approval I spent some money to get everything going. The ATF agent that's coming to do my inspection told me that an email stating that it was okay to have a business in my home wouldn't be enough, it had to specifically state that it was okay to have a firearms business. When I called the HOA back, the individual that had told me it was okay was no longer with the company & the new person said that no type of business was allowed in the neighborhood (it's in the contract). As a result I was forced to change my business address & rent an office. While it is true I could probably sue the HOA or take them to arbitration depending on what's in the contract I think that would just be too much headache for me & would delay the process even longer.

Moral of the story: check, double check, & triple check to make sure you have the go ahead from your city officials and also from your HOA if you have one. Also make sure you get everything in writing stating clearly that it will be a firearm business. I had to do this for the office I rented & the owner was more than happy to comply .

All of your business must be done at the address of the FFL from my understanding.
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Old January 22, 2013, 11:36 PM   #9
dogtown tom
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Quote:
jd3020 Ok can I use my house for my business to keep my papers there but use there house for a storage location and to actually pass the weapon off to the customer
No.
You would need an FFL for each location where you will conduct your business (that includes records/inventory/and "passing off")
Your records must be located at your licensed premises.
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Old January 23, 2013, 07:25 AM   #10
jd3020
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Thanks for all the help guys. i have been thinking about this for a while now of getting my license. My concern the first time i talked to the city was that i lived 2 blocks for an elementary school. but i couldnt find any thing on the atf website about location being a problem. Thats when i contacted my local authorities. Its funny how your local law enforcement dont know the rules on an ffl license. So after the 20 phone calls i made i finally got in touch with i believe was the city inspector maybe. And thats when he told me i could work from my home but i couldnt sell tangable goods from it. Which i would apply for all the permits and every thing. Now this is just my brain thinking and im not saying its right or wrong to do this. But on my first search i found what they call a gun smiths license which allowed the person to be a gun smith and purchase for his own purpose. Now yes i want to be able to order a gun for my friends and sell to people i know per doing back ground checks and all the legal way. Nothing illegal but what would happen if i set it as my home location even tho the zoner says i cant have some one come and pick the gun up there. And say my buddy calls and says he i want a gun and i order it for him. The gun comes in i pick it up take it to my house. He comes over and does the necessary paper work and then the next day i take it to him or meet him at my parents house while im there? technically im still conducting the business out of my home but no tangible goods are leaving the property except with me. Which no one would know i have be cause i pull into the garage unload load and leave. The zoner did tell me i can work from my home i just cant sell tangable goods from there and that is the passing off at the location. So i wouldnt be passing off from that location but rather delivering to my customer. yes i am new to this and i would like to have my ffl license. but being 25 nearly 26 i dont have the extra money to go rent a building to buy firearms for my self and the ocasional person that would like to buy from me. Im not looking to go out and make a living off of this basically for my personal buying but if my legal friend dosent want to go pay what the local gun shop is gouging him on the pistol he wants i could say hey i can get it for the price plus shipping and maybe 10 or 15 bucks extra. These are all just questions before i go shell out 200 bucks that isnt refundable to me if i dont pass because im in the wrong area or what not.
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Old January 23, 2013, 10:26 AM   #11
MtnCreek
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No. You can only conduct business at your location or sanctioned gunshow in your state. I don’t know what the gunsmith license allows, but it sounds like you are looking to us it for purposes beyond its intent.

After your interview, BATF will contact your City/County to confirm you’re allowed to conduct the business; they will not issue the license if you aren’t.

I suggest talking to your City or County about a zoning variance.
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Old January 23, 2013, 11:23 AM   #12
carguychris
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Quote:
Its funny how your local law enforcement dont know the rules on an ffl license. So after the 20 phone calls i made i finally got in touch with i believe was the city inspector maybe. And thats when he told me i could work from my home but i couldnt sell tangable goods from it. Which i would apply for all the permits and every thing.
I deal with city building and development officials all the time in my career. Let me give you some tips.
  • Unless your state has some sort of firearms licensing or registration requirement that specifically requires the involvement of local law enforcement, I would not expect anyone at the local police or sheriff's department to know the rules for an FFL license. It's not their job. They stop crime and maintain order; the Zoning/Development, Building Inspection, and/or Code Enforcement departments regulate land usage (more below).
  • IIRC the ATF requires notification of local law enforcement when you get an FFL, but the key word is notification, NOT approval or review. Unless otherwise required by state law, local law enforcement doesn't have to do anything with it but... well, be notified. Most police departments will either stick the notification in some file box somewhere and forget about it, or simply throw it away!
  • If you have a complicated question, it's ALWAYS better to talk to the city staffers in person rather than trying to get an answer over the phone. It's normally the people low on the totem pole who answer random phone calls. These people often aren't experienced enough to understand what you're really asking and/or interpret the regulations correctly. Some of them will reflexively answer NO just because they don't want to get in trouble.
  • [EDIT TO ADD:] The best thing to say when you call is this: "I need an appointment to talk to someone about land uses because I want to start a business." THIS will usually garner productive results.
  • If the answer is NO, always follow up with WHY. If the answer is "Uhhh... let me get back to you", see the part about the totem pole.
  • Never talk to a city staffer without recording their name and title. If the answer includes "Intern" or "Assistant", again, see the part about the totem pole.
  • If the municipality is large enough to have separate Zoning/Development, Building Inspection, and/or Code Enforcement departments, you want to start with the first one and work your way down to the others. Regulating land usage is only a secondary concern to the latter departments. They usually defer to the former departments with complex questions.
  • If the municipality is small, these departments may be combined, or all of their functions may be performed by small group of officials who try to handle everything. In the case of VERY small towns, there may only be one or two city officials total, and complex city functions may be farmed out to an outside paid consultant. In these cases, it is even more important to thoroughly understand the regulations, because most such cities don't have enough building activity to give city staff a reason to really understand the zoning and development codes. (They're generally more concerned with routine matters such as utility billing or the police department payroll.)
  • If you can't get a coherent answer- or you get an answer that seems to blatantly contradict the written regulations- you can try going up the totem pole to the city manager and/or city council. However, this generally works better in smaller cities; in larger ones, these people are VERY busy, and may not have the time or desire to talk to a small fish like you.
Quote:
I suggest talking to your City or County about a zoning variance.
This is another good suggestion.

Good luck!
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Last edited by carguychris; January 23, 2013 at 11:32 AM.
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Old January 23, 2013, 11:41 AM   #13
Don P
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As stated the ATF will check on the legality of you doing business at the location you provide to them.
I was wanting to get the FFL for on-line transfers. County office stated "NO FOOT TRAFFIC OR SHIPPING AND DELIVERIES ON A DAILY BASIS".
That blew the game plan out of the water. Sadly no FFL 01
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Old January 23, 2013, 12:47 PM   #14
dogtown tom
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Quote:
jd3020 My concern the first time i talked to the city was that i lived 2 blocks for an elementary school. but i couldnt find any thing on the atf website about location being a problem.
Its not a problem.



Quote:
Its funny how your local law enforcement dont know the rules on an ffl license.
it's not their job, why would you think they know anything about it?




Quote:
But on my first search i found what they call a gun smiths license which allowed the person to be a gun smith and purchase for his own purpose.
I don't know where you read that.....but it isn't correct. There is no such thing as a "gunsmiths license". Gunsmithsmithing requires either an 01FFL Dealer or 07FFL Manufacturer.







Quote:
Now yes i want to be able to order a gun for my friends and sell to people i know per doing back ground checks and all the legal way. Nothing illegal but what would happen if i set it as my home location even tho the zoner says i cant have some one come and pick the gun up there.
What part of illegal do you not get?
Operating illegally under your city, county, HOA, etc is a violation and your FFL will be yanked if it was ever issued.





Quote:
And say my buddy calls and says he i want a gun and i order it for him. The gun comes in i pick it up take it to my house. He comes over and does the necessary paper work and then the next day i take it to him or meet him at my parents house while im there?
That would be a violation of Federal law. As has been repeated several times in this thread......your licensed premises must allow you to conduct business legally. Federal law only allows a licensed dealer to conduct business at two locations: the licensed premises and at a gun show/special event. Taking the firearm to the customer is a crime.


Quote:
technically im still conducting the business out of my home but no tangible goods are leaving the property except with me.
You are wrong.


Quote:
These are all just questions before i go shell out 200 bucks that isnt refundable to me if i dont pass because im in the wrong area or what not.
The application fee is refunded is you are not approved.
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Old January 24, 2013, 07:16 AM   #15
jd3020
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Thanks guys for all the help. I guess the first step is to get in contact with my city and sit down and have a talk with them. Luckly my city is only about 4000 people so hopefully they will be willing to make it happen for me. Until i hear more thanks again and i will report back when i have some news.
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Old January 24, 2013, 09:20 AM   #16
Don P
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After reading responses on this topic, my opinion is jd3020 would be better off just not going any further. Rude awakening on the horizon. Regs are regs and trying to slip around the obstacles will end in disaster.
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Old January 24, 2013, 11:09 AM   #17
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jd3020
Thanks guys for all the help. I guess the first step is to get in contact with my city and sit down and have a talk with them. Luckly my city is only about 4000 people so hopefully they will be willing to make it happen for me. Until i hear more thanks again and i will report back when i have some news.
Sir, you either have a very wrong attitude going into this, or you just don't understand how zoning laws work.

Since you have apparently spoken with someone about what zoning allows in your municipality, we'll assume that there are zoning regulations. Those are regulations, formally enacted and adopted by the governing body of the municipality pursuant to state law. They are in writing, and usually printed up in a book that anyone can buy a copy of for a couple of bucks. Most municipalities around the U.S. now also have their zoning regulations available on-line.

Those regulations say what they say. If they say you cannot operate a retail business out of your home in a residential zone, then that's the regulation. You can't operate a retail operation out of your home. Selling guns is a retail operation, even if a small-scale retail operation. Your municipality most likely has an official appointed as the Zoning Enforcement Officer. It is not his/her job to "make it happen" for you. His/her job is to enforce the regulations. He/she has NO authority to grant or allow anything that is contrary to the regulations. Period.

By all means, go in and discuss what you want to do in person with the zoning official, and ask to see what the regulations say. If the regulations don't allow what you want to do, then quit trying to push the river. No good will come of it.
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Old January 24, 2013, 10:21 PM   #18
dogtown tom
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Cities/towns/counties grant zoning variances all the time.
They also deny them just as often.

OP will not know unless he tries.
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