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Old March 8, 2012, 10:56 PM   #1
Mountain_Man
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FFL Required?

I am looking into a restoration business down the road and I was wondering if you are required to have an FFL. It would entail taking legal firearms and reversing them from sporterized models and also cleaning them up and repairing them. I dont even know how mailing guns works but Im sure you have to have an FFL for that. Like I said, Im no where near this step, rather I am curious to see what the law is like and if such a business would be viable.
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Old March 8, 2012, 11:01 PM   #2
Willie Sutton
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It's called Gunsmithing, and you most definately need a FFL to conduct a business of that nature. .


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Old March 8, 2012, 11:02 PM   #3
IZZY
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YES. Anytime you work on other peoples guns for profit ( repair etc.) you will need and FFL.
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Old March 10, 2012, 08:05 AM   #4
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If you actually are going to own a storefront and legitimately do a gunsmithing business, getting an FFL is not a problem, assuming you pass the background check, etc. Years ago, a lot of people would get FFL's just for the convenience and run a "shop" from their kitchen table. The BATFE starting cracking down on this 20 years ago but if you have a storefront, it's generally not a big deal- aside from all the darn paperwork and rules....
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Old March 10, 2012, 01:18 PM   #5
dogtown tom
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Again, the myth that will not die......

Quote:
SwampYankee If you actually are going to own a storefront and legitimately do a gunsmithing business, getting an FFL is not a problem, assuming you pass the background check, etc. Years ago, a lot of people would get FFL's just for the convenience and run a "shop" from their kitchen table. The BATFE starting cracking down on this 20 years ago but if you have a storefront, it's generally not a big deal- aside from all the darn paperwork and rules....
Horsehockey.
ATF has no problem with home based or "kitchen table" dealers....I'm one and there are THOUSANDS of others....kitchen table FFL's outnumber retail storefront FFL's.

There is no requirement under Federal law, nor is there any ATF regulation that requires a 'real store" and "posted business hours".....ATF & Federal law do require that the applicant have a "licensed premises"....which can be a storefront, a residence, or a cardboard box in your backyard. As long as the applicant can legally operate a business from the licensed premises he will be approved.
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Old March 10, 2012, 02:07 PM   #6
SwampYankee
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How do you play horse hockey? I've never tried to put a horse on the ice. I'll bet you go through a lot of horses that way.... Seems rather expensive and unnecessary. Its easy enough to break bones in hockey without the horses. What do you use for a puck?

But I digress...

I never said you COULD NOT get an FFL and use you're home (here is where reading comprehension becomes a useful life skill), but I am telling you that it is certainly more difficult to maintain it than if you have a storefront. My father is an FFL and has been since 1976. He was a "kitchen table" FFL. This was fine until the late-1980's when they the BATFE (then the ATF) did indeed start cracking down and while not legally requiring a storefront, started more aggressively policing those without a store front. In addition, they looked very carefully at activity. Many of those with a "kitchen table" businesses were not really in business and did very few sales or transfers, causing the BATFE to question the rationale for the license.

My father was essentially harassed on a regular basis, as were numerous acquaintances in a similar situation. As he has gotten older, he actually opened a storefront to increase his business and low-and-behold, the BATFE leaves him alone...

Now every BATFE office is different, run by different agents with a different mentality. This was the mentality of the regional office, I have no idea how far up the chain this went.

Perhaps in places where they play horse hockey, the BATFE regional office is of a different mindset?
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Old March 10, 2012, 03:41 PM   #7
Don P
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A friend in PA has his FFL at his home address and it is used for gun smithing and he has zero problems and no harassment. They were out after his 3 rd renewal and the were polite and just looked at his bound book and made sure his private guns are marked by tags in the safes.
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Old March 10, 2012, 04:00 PM   #8
Bill DeShivs
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As long as there are no local ordinances preventing you running a business from your home, you can get an FFL.
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Old March 10, 2012, 11:38 PM   #9
Fishing_Cabin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampYankee
If you actually are going to own a storefront and legitimately do a gunsmithing business, getting an FFL is not a problem, assuming you pass the background check, etc. Years ago, a lot of people would get FFL's just for the convenience and run a "shop" from their kitchen table. The BATFE starting cracking down on this 20 years ago but if you have a storefront, it's generally not a big deal- aside from all the darn paperwork and rules....
You can have a FFL without a storefront. Many people do have a FFL without one. Do they make it easy for you to do so? Just speaking locally, the ATF inspector meets with the zoning folks, then goes to meet with the city/town manager and speaks to them about "their" concerns, etc. Locally, due to the concerns of the ATF, my local city is refusing to re-issue business licenses for home based FFL's. Yes the ATF may say "their" regulations are this, but I can speak to the local fact that they do meet with zoning officials and the city manager before they come do the initial inspection. Please do not believe that a FFL is available anywhere no questions asked. In order to have an FFL though you must meet local regs too, and at least here, this is how they seem to "discourage" any possible FFLs. While they may not be able to force federal law in some regaurds, they can push the local officials to deny, or revoke any local permits. How do I know? About a week after I had my initial with the ATF, I recieved a letter in the mail from the city stating they were revocing my business license due to "unforseen zoning issues," and a few days later I recieved my FFL in the mail. Then had a fight on my hands in order to stay legal. How did I manage to squeak by it years ago? I have a long time family friend high up in beauty control cosmetics, and had a long list of not only them, but also other companies that have home based sales people who host "parties." It came down to what was politically allowable at the end of the day. Yes, I did have a huge list, and was ready to sue. They blinked and I won. Why was my business license revoked? Because of the ATF's "concerns."

Also to dogtown_tom, while the ATF may not make it impossible from the outside, once you deal with the after effects of being approved, and then having everything revoked, and fighting for what should be legal, you have no idea. As I have said before, I am glad things work out a 100% for you, but please dont lead others to believe that the
Quote:
ATF has no problem with home based or "kitchen table" dealers....
I am one that had to fight the battle. There is no 100% when it comes to the ATF. If you or anyone else can provide a 100% bullet proof end all be all with everything dealing with the ATF, I for one would love to see it. From my experience there is a whole lot of "grey areas" they use to their advantage when they can. Not picking a fight, but what may work for you in one part of the country, may not work for another in another part of the country. We are dealing with the government of course.

I for one, tend to advise others to look locally and speak with the ATF inspectors in his/her area, and to proceed from there. Also, please do seek legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer in your area on this. It may not be a problem, but then again it can come down to a threat of, or an actual lawsuit that you may or may not win, or worse. In all honesty, from my experience, I can not give a "blanket statement" that is good for all 50 states and every city therein.


I have great respect for the OP for asking advice. What it basically comes down to is are you actually "gunsmithing" per the regs, or even in a way that may be interpreted. If so, it is my advice that you should obtain a FFL and all local and state business licenses before you start your business.

Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; March 10, 2012 at 11:45 PM.
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Old March 11, 2012, 01:37 AM   #10
dogtown tom
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Quote:
Fishing_Cabin Just speaking locally, the ATF inspector meets with the zoning folks, then goes to meet with the city/town manager and speaks to them about "their" concerns, etc. Locally, due to the concerns of the ATF, my local city is refusing to re-issue business licenses for home based FFL's....
If you cannot get an FFL because your city refuses to issue a business license, your beef is with your city.....not ATF.


Quote:
Also to dogtown_tom, while the ATF may not make it impossible from the outside, once you deal with the after effects of being approved, and then having everything revoked, and fighting for what should be legal, you have no idea. As I have said before, I am glad things work out a 100% for you, but please dont lead others to believe that the
Quote:
Quote:
ATF has no problem with home based or "kitchen table" dealers....
I am one that had to fight the battle. There is no 100% when it comes to the ATF. If you or anyone else can provide a 100% bullet proof end all be all with everything dealing with the ATF, I for one would love to see it. From my experience there is a whole lot of "grey areas" they use to their advantage when they can. Not picking a fight, but what may work for you in one part of the country, may not work for another in another part of the country. We are dealing with the government of course.
Sorry, if your local ATF IOI's aren't following the law you need a better attorney.
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Old March 11, 2012, 05:05 AM   #11
natman
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Quote:
Again, the myth that will not die......
Quote:
Quote:
SwampYankee If you actually are going to own a storefront and legitimately do a gunsmithing business, getting an FFL is not a problem, assuming you pass the background check, etc. Years ago, a lot of people would get FFL's just for the convenience and run a "shop" from their kitchen table. The BATFE starting cracking down on this 20 years ago but if you have a storefront, it's generally not a big deal- aside from all the darn paperwork and rules....
Horsehockey.
ATF has no problem with home based or "kitchen table" dealers....I'm one and there are THOUSANDS of others....kitchen table FFL's outnumber retail storefront FFL's.

There is no requirement under Federal law, nor is there any ATF regulation that requires a 'real store" and "posted business hours".....ATF & Federal law do require that the applicant have a "licensed premises"....which can be a storefront, a residence, or a cardboard box in your backyard. As long as the applicant can legally operate a business from the licensed premises he will be approved.
The reason the "myth" won't die is that there is an element of truth to it. Yes, technically it's the local zoning authorities that might not give you permission, but it's the ATF that changed its policy and now requires that you get approval from the state government, the county government, the city government and the dog catcher, any one of whom can refuse permission or make it so complicated that it's not worth it.

The long and short of it is that while it's still possible to get an FFL out of your home, it's a LOT more difficult than it once was, regardless of whose "fault" it is.
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Old March 11, 2012, 09:44 AM   #12
Fishing_Cabin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogtown tom
If you cannot get an FFL because your city refuses to issue a business license, your beef is with your city.....not ATF
Perhaps you missed the part where I mentioned the ATF voicing their concerns to the local officials here to encourage them not to issue a business license, zoning waiver, etc. I know it happened in my case because when I received the notice in the mail about the city revoking my business license and zoning waiver then, the city manager that was here at the time, whom I met with in person told me it was because the ATF inspector had asked them to do so. I was told it was because I was working from home. The ATF inspector visited and spoke with both zoning and the city manager on the day of my initial inspection, before he met with me. Since the ATF requested this in a personal discussion with the city manager then, my beef is with the ATF on this issue.


Again, I am glad everything worked out great for you, but it is not always the case for everyone. Sometimes they make it difficult, and a person has to work through the issues.

While we had what seems as 2 different experiences with the ATF, I would prefer others to be knowledgeable and to understand that its not always "easy" and that there can be roadblocks tossed up that needs to be overcome.

Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; March 11, 2012 at 09:51 AM.
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Old March 11, 2012, 09:56 AM   #13
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natman
The long and short of it is that while it's still possible to get an FFL out of your home, it's a LOT more difficult than it once was, regardless of whose "fault" it is.
That's it, in a nutshell.

In my case, I live in a suburb that has only a very small area (adjacent to the nearby city limits) that is zoned commercial. Better than 90 percent of the land area of the town is strictly residential. The only businesses allowed are home offices for professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and similar professionals who don't employ more than one staff person. No retail of any kind is allowed.

So there's no way anyone in my town could get a home-based FFL. Not even for gunsmithing, since that's not an allowable home business in this town.
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Old March 11, 2012, 11:39 AM   #14
Colokeb
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Are you going to sell the guns after you "un-sporterize" them?

If so, I think you would need an FFL.
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Old March 11, 2012, 05:02 PM   #15
ltc444
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Back in the late 80 and up to 1996 I had an FFL. I never had a problem with the ATF. Probably because I supplied the Local SO with its ammo. I also sold guns to most of the LEO including the local ATF agent and consulted on Explosives issues.

I was probably the exception.
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