Thread: Ffl license
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Old January 23, 2013, 11:23 AM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: October 20, 2007
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 7,324
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.
I suggest talking to your City or County about a zoning variance.
This is another good suggestion.

Good luck!
"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules... MARK IT ZERO!!" - Walter Sobchak

Last edited by carguychris; January 23, 2013 at 11:32 AM.
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