Should I get my 01 FFL? (Yes I am in the PRK, but don't hold it against me)


El Rojo
October 20, 2004, 12:31 AM
At our Friends of the NRA meeting tonight, I was talking to our Co-Chairman and he was saying he might flee to free-America (AKA move out of the PRK). Well back when I was single and had money, I had thought about getting my 01 FFL for a while. The only reason I probably didn't was because this guy already had his and sort of ran it in his off time out of his house. I liked the guy and didn't want to rain on his parade.

Well if he leaves, there is going to be a big hole in our little town for a FFL. I am seriously thinking of taking over if he leaves. Lets go over the possible benefits.

1. I get to deal guns! This is a no brainer. I can't think of a much better way to support the 2nd than being an honest gun dealer and getting guns to the people.

2. I get to have floor models! I would have to check on legalities and what not, but I would be able to have some things in this state that I can't have now. My first floor model is going to be a real AR-15 and some real AR mags. These of course would be for showing to my LEO clients.

3. Tax write offs. I am sure with some of your help and maybe the help of a good accountant, I can find plenty of tax write offs.

4. Extra income. He made it sound like sometimes he spent quite a bit of time doing this and he wasn't sure if it was worth the money. I also suspect he was holding back though and he secretly enjoyed the income. I could probably get most of his customer base out of this because his appeal is that he runs it out of his spare time and so he only charges a 10% mark up because his overhead is way low.


1. The fees. The nice thing is I already have my COE with the PRK for my C&R FFL, so that is one license I don't have to pay for. And it appears that the initial $200 bucks with the BATFE isn't bad at all. I am sure a business license isn't too bad.

2. Zoning. I am not sure what my city is going to say about zoning. My friend stores all of the guns at his house in his safe, but his business address is his wife's little business. I would probably have to do the same thing and that might be problematic.

3. The Paperwork. The sad thing is, I don't mind paperwork too much. I am pretty darn good about being organized and efficient.

4. The time. It would take up some time, but I think I would actually enjoy that time spent.

The main thing is if I did this thing, I would have to be extremely disciplined. I couldn't spend money I didn't have and I would have to be very responsible with the way I conduct business. I think I could do it though. I simply don't order anything a client hasn't given me moeny for. The key to this operation is not to sell to people who don't know what they want, but to people who know what they want and want it cheaper than the local gun stores can give it to them. If I get a credit card account, the sky is the limit! I know Pay Pal is the devil, but they would be a very simple way to get started.

You know, even if he doesn't move, I might offer to take it off his hands anyway. This is exciting.

A few quick questions.

What are the BATFE's storage requirements prior to applying for a FFL? My biggest cost would be a gun safe. Can I apply for the license and get most everything done prior to getting a safe? Also, what are the requirements for a safe? I would love to have a big huge safe for my guns and my businesses guns, but reality might dictate that I start smaller and then eventually build up. In fact, my guns now are fairly secure without an actual gun safe, but I would want a safe for my business guns.

I will post more questions as I think of them.

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October 20, 2004, 12:51 AM
Would you also be able to sell ammunition? Surely, when they come pick up their guns, they're going to want to buy a few hundred rounds, right?:D

Good luck with your idea. I hope you go through with it and it succeeds. Doing business successfully in these times is a difficult thing.

Don't forget about the power of the internet. It can multiply your business by many fold.

El Rojo
October 20, 2004, 01:01 AM
I was thinking about the ammo thing, but in all honesty, unless I can get an FFL discount, I would rather refer them to places to buy their own ammo. If I can get a good deal on ammo with my FFL, I would consider buying it for customers, but along the same basis as my buying them guns. Money up front. I think the key to this thing is absolutely lowest over head possible and virtually no money spent on merchandise. Let my customers do the investing.

I am already thinking of ways to network locally. Small adds in the Sportsman's Club newsletter and the Kern Shooting Sports e-mailing list. I would most certainly have to make a cheesy webpage that would get hits for "FFL Dealer Taft, CA".

October 20, 2004, 11:12 AM
You cannot use paypal in firearms related transactions. It's agianst their terms of service.

October 20, 2004, 11:19 AM
You cannot use paypal in firearms related transactions. It's agianst their terms of service.

That's odd, or maybe just new. I've used Paypal for Gunbroker transactions, as well as for firearm accessories off of ebay.

October 20, 2004, 11:22 AM
You cannot use paypal in firearms related transactions. It's against their terms of service.

Unfortunately, that is true. However, you can use them for legal accessories. Then again, you don't have many legal accessories in CA.:rolleyes:

You could open up one of their business accounts and get one of their debit/credit cards. You get 1.5% cash back on your purchases if you use the credit option. You can only spend what you have in the PayPal account. The downside to that is they charge you to accept payments. You could accept payments for transfers through PayPal.

El Rojo
October 20, 2004, 11:25 AM
No Pay Pal then.

October 20, 2004, 01:01 PM
El Rojo, do you need a special permit in addition to your FFL to have an AR-15? If you don't, this would be the perfect way to get a few of the rifles we have been denied in this state.

Are you sure about the AR-15?

El Rojo
October 20, 2004, 01:29 PM
I would have to check with the BATFE. I know I can order them in the state because LEOs have to order them from somewhere. Now how long I can have it might be another question. Or it might not. I will find out. I am all over this thing.

October 20, 2004, 01:35 PM
Cool. Let us know what you find out.

October 20, 2004, 02:15 PM
where in CA are you located? btw, i represent the UCLA class of 99 as well. go bruins!!!

October 20, 2004, 07:48 PM
Oay, having looked into getting an FFL, the hardest part is the zoning. Most cities require you to have actual storefront space, as residential areas aren't zoned for business. In my case, my city wouldn't issue a business license for guns, ammo, accessories or anything related to them, like primers and powder. I don't recall where you are in the state, but obviously, the further from water, the greater the sanity of the area. I recall Bakersfield being pretty good about that sort of thing, and I know the Placerville area is friendly, as I knew an FFL. Unincorporated areas are good places for non-storefront dealers.

October 20, 2004, 07:55 PM
Well you better get ready to see a lot of the ATF agents wanting to look at your transaction records. Yeah you have to keep them records and they the ATF agents really will be coming around to check them.:rolleyes:

October 20, 2004, 10:26 PM
I had a FFL for 4 years. The liscense was not all that difficult to get. It took approvel from local city hall. When I did it 8 years ago; a gun safe was not required. ( things may have changed). A sales tax permit had to be obtained; which was pretty simple. I was supprised at how little profit I could make selling the guns. The big stores could buy in such volume it was tough to compeat with them price wise. Many other things are also available to sales tax holders. You can buy scopes pretty reasonable and knives are marked up about 100 %. To be honest, don't expect to turn a profit for a while. I am not trying to discourage you , just be honest about whats up . Good luck with your choice.

October 21, 2004, 12:32 AM
Home dealers are just about weeded out these days. A storefront is paramount and a profit is expected to be made.
You should attend some of your local government meetings to get a feel for their ideas on having a gun dealer in the community. If you don't have them on your side then they can hold you up every step of the way on the needed permits, zoning regs, and tax certificates.
Don't expect to get rich. Profit on gun sales is low. Look to make it up on the accessory sales. Initial investment will be high. Good Luck should you decide to try.

El Rojo
October 21, 2004, 01:35 AM
Here is the thing guys, I am not opening a shop. The whole point of this thing is to make 10%. That is it. I will have no stock. I don't plan on making a living out of it. It is real simple. The gun stores charge and arm and a leg because they have to pay for the store and everything else to have items on stock and show stuff off. What I propose to do is simply cater to guys who want to save money on what they know they want. You charge 10% mark up. That is it. You don't order anything until you have someone ask for you to order it. So the only start up costs are maybe a safe and the licenses.

Yes the zoning is going to be the biggest hurdle. The city will allow gun dealers, as the guy leaving already is operating in the city. He stores all of the guns and has them delievered to his house, but he completes the paperwork and delievers the guns at his wife's clinic in a comercial area. I would probably end up having to do the same thing, but I don't have a wife with an office in a commercial area. The intersting thing is I live 300 yards from the skydiving business at the airport and I might be able to strike up a deal with him to just let me put down his address as my official place of business and the bATFE doesn't care that I do everything else off site as long as they know about it. I don't care being audited, you just make sure you cross the t's and dot the i's.

I think it will work. I don't plan on making a ton of money out of it. Just some extra cash doing for people what I would love to do, order them guns.

October 21, 2004, 09:28 AM
my gun shop was run just as you have described. special orders and use a home address to cut down on expenses. When I was into the gun buss.; ATF was very specific about doing all tranactions at the stated location or a gun show. After you request your packet from ATF; expect an agent to visit you and inspect the premisis. The man that came to see me was very polite and seemed to be very knowledgeable about all aspects of the bussiness. I was not trying to shoot your idiea down; I just wanted to give you an idiea about my experience

October 21, 2004, 11:24 AM
El Rojo, did you find out if you can have an AR-15 as a "floor model" to show the LEOs that you hope to do business with? I could be completely wrong. However, I thought I remember reading that you had to have special permission to sell AWBs even with an FFL.

October 21, 2004, 12:12 PM
I'll build you a web page. Free.

EDITTED: I guess you need an email...

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