View Full Version : Does he NEED a FFL?

June 21, 2001, 07:13 PM
A fella I know has moved to an area near Bakersfield Ca. in a community of fairly well to do folks . Kind of an area where the guys wanted out of the L.A. area to be in a place where there was some room ( every property is 20 acres +- ) but momma wanted to still be near the kids and grandkids . Now this old boy was a tooling engineer for about a million years so he is fairly knowledgable around machine shop equipment . He knows quite a bit about guns and plans to learn more before starting to do some repairs and perhaps minor modifications .
Now as a caveat before we start I want to let us assume that he will be good at what he does so there is no misunderstanding as to his abilities . The main question is as follows . If he fixes weapons for his neighbors and never mails or receives weapons does he need a FFL? How about for parts mailed to or by him ?
He is fixin' to put a Bridgeport Mill as well as a lathe and some other goodies in his garage . He is good on a machine since he still does tooling work . Jigs , fixtures and the like and I see him do it . I have no doubt as to his skill but wonder what papers he will need . Thank you .

James K
June 21, 2001, 08:09 PM
It is my understanding that he needs a gunsmith FFL if he charges for the work or if he keeps guns on his premises while they are being worked on. If he fixes guns only for close friends, on a while you wait basis, and charges nothing, he would not need the FFL. The rule here is "engaging in business", which he would be doing if he charges and keeps guns in his custody.


June 22, 2001, 05:59 PM
also he will have to do background checks on all who brimg guns in to be repaired before he can give them back,some peoples names WILL come back denied and all kinds of fun stuff will he go
thru,excise tax on parts, and tax on his work he gets paid for,
ALOT of BS to go thru, not fun anymore.

Brazos Custom Gunworks
June 23, 2001, 09:33 AM
There are no background checks when returning a gun to the person who sent it to you, no excise taxes on parts only on the manufacture of a full gun, you would have to pay sales tax. If a gun comes into the shop and you fix it while the customer waits it does not have to be logged into your books, if it stays overnight it does.

George Stringer
June 23, 2001, 10:51 AM
Brazos is absolutely correct. And Paratrooper, I would add this. Tell your friend to go ahead and get his FFl and state sales tax permit. Then just follow the rules. He'll need them to get dealer discounts on parts, barrels etc. George

June 23, 2001, 01:53 PM
GEORGE: I am sure you are right BUT with all the attention being paid to small time FFL holders he does not want to draw any attention to himself . He just wants to be like our other friend that fixed lawnmowers and edgers and such . It was done in the garage along with gossip , a cold one and plain old comraderie . He don't want the feds to come in looking for records he should be keeping IF they were needed . If he does not do the things that require record keeping the feds might figure he doesn't need his FFL . If they revoke it the record might slant a revocation to insinuate that it was yanked through something he did wrong . This might show on the record and keep him from purchasing a weapon himself . Stranger things have happened .He does not want unneeded attention by the Feds . I can't blame him .Thank you for answering .

James K
June 23, 2001, 08:30 PM
I hate to be blunt, but if he doesn't want any involvement with the law or the feds, he should repair lawnmowers.

There are just too many firearms laws and too many potential problems to be able to do gun stuff on the "buddy and beer" system any more. IMHO, if someone wants to get into the gun business, dealer or gunsmith, fine. Get a store, open a business, obey the rules, and make money. But the kitchen table gunsmith or dealer is on the way out, whether we like it or not. Sad and bad news, but that is the way it is.


June 26, 2001, 11:52 AM
Bottom line...if you repair firearms for others, for pay, without an FFL, you are committing a Federal FELONY...Kalifornia is NOT the place to try to skirt the law on that one. "nuff said.:(

June 26, 2001, 07:17 PM
can't find my blue fed book,BUT, any FFL who takes a firearm to
fix HAS to to do a background check before he can LEGALLY give the firearm back, pawn shops too. its the new instant check,
and I've heard alot of people who have had guns fixed by a FFL
gunsmith 07 or other, have their guns kept because of some
crap they did 30 years ago,I'm just trying to save enough money
to pay all taxes and get out of bussiness,I can't compete with
Wal-Mart, or Farm King,there are 4 FFL bussiness in a 4 county
area, Mckeys went out in Ottumwa,just too much chance of breaking some dumb law, the one that allways Ps me off is some
guy SAYING he's buying this handgun for his girlfriend! now
anyone know whats wrong with that?

George Stringer
June 27, 2001, 06:46 AM
Zot, I'm afraid your in err here. To reclaim a firearm from a pawn shop or buy one from any licensed dealer requires a NICS check. Getting one back from a gunsmith does not. George

June 27, 2001, 10:20 AM
If I may muddy the waters here a bit. I am not disagreeing with anyone on this matter. If this person is planning on operating a business, he needs to do the legal stuff and keep his nose clean.

My hobby is restoring Mauser rifles. I have done a bunch for myself and have been approached by people do the same for them. Worried about the legal ramifications, I contacted,the local AFT office here in Tucson. The agent stated that as long as it was not my primary source or constituted a "significant portion" of my income and I did so occassionally, a gunsmithing FFL was not required.

Now, not being the trusting type, (these are the same people that say if they give you the wrong information, it's your fault) I contacted a buddy who owns a company that does Gun Koat. He started a couple of years ago in his barn and it has grown to a full time second job. He said the same thing. Occassionally, is okay. But define "occassionally" or "not a significant part of your income".

My advise would be to err on the side of caution and have the gentleman obtain a FFL and all the state licensing. He needs to check with his local zoning,as he may not be allowed to conduct a repair business out of his house or garage.

Just more to chew on.

June 27, 2001, 01:27 PM
I'm sorry I'm wrong about gunsmiths,all I know is if you have any kind of FFL you do the NICS check, and that thing with some guy
buying his gal a handgun is a straw purchase, I get this more often than I care to, sometimes I THINK their BATF agents trying
to set me up?