Any Home Based FFL dealers here?


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AWL
January 20, 2006, 07:13 PM
I am considering getting my FFL to do internet and gun show sales. I am in the process of doing my paperwork for BATF and I have already checked with the county sheriff and there are no local laws against me doing this out of my home here in GA. Do any of you forum members have FFL without an actual retail shop and what has your experience been with BATF and have you had success at gun shows and internet sales?

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thatguy
January 20, 2006, 07:49 PM
Not now but I did for 9 years.

You must have state, city and county licenses or approval. Questions will be asked about parking (by appointment only, one customer at a time usually covers that), noise, etc. Be aware of any storage laws in your state on guns or ammo.

You will need to collect sales tax. They may require a despoit on future payments. This can be hefty.

Note that your home address will now be a matter of public record.

I was inspected twice by local ATF. Both times the agent was courteous and professional. They both complimented me for the completeness and neatness of my records (note this) and made friendly suggestions for even further improvement. Each inspection took about 30 minutes and they called to set the appointment. I was told that listing business hours outside 8-5 elimiates any surprise visits but I don't know if that's true.

I realized very little profit from my gun-selling activities, but this was before GunBroker and AuctionArms which offer increased opportunities. Most of ny trade was in transfers.

Good luck.

Spreadfire Arms
January 20, 2006, 08:38 PM
if you are not going to do retail sales then i think ATF may not allow issuance of a license. also the majority of your business cannot be from gun show sales, and especially not 100% of your sales.

Jack Baur
January 21, 2006, 02:59 AM
The ATF doesn't care where you sell from, only that you follow the rules. As long as you are profiting from the FFL and following their guidlines they couldn't care less.

SIOP
January 21, 2006, 12:35 PM
The ATF doesn't care where you sell from, only that you follow the rules. As long as you are profiting from the FFL and following their guidlines they couldn't care less.

Not true. They do care where you sell from. On the application and during the interview they ask whether you will be doing most of your business at gun shows. If you answer yes, no FFL for you. Also, you can only transfer a firearm at your licensed premises address or at a recognized gun show. Anywhere else is a violation of the Gun Control Act. What they DON'T care about is wheter or not you make a profit. Only that you are actively in the business of dealing firearms.

thatguy
January 21, 2006, 02:22 PM
It was a while ago but I don't recall any questions about premesis vs. gun show sales.

AWL
January 21, 2006, 03:29 PM
Thanks for the replies. The confusing thing about a FFL is that you hear so many different things. Most of my sales will be internet based and I may do a few gun shows. I know I won't get rich doing this but I think it will be enjoyable nonetheless. There is one guy in my county that has a home based FFL and he said the application process was time consuming but not overly difficult. So I figure it is worth a try. Thanks for the advice so far.

SIOP
January 21, 2006, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the replies. The confusing thing about a FFL is that you hear so many different things. Most of my sales will be internet based and I may do a few gun shows. I know I won't get rich doing this but I think it will be enjoyable nonetheless. There is one guy in my county that has a home based FFL and he said the application process was time consuming but not overly difficult. So I figure it is worth a try. Thanks for the advice so far.


If that's the way you present it to the ATF Inspector when he comes to interview you, you should be fine. The only other caveat would be zoning, as long as there isn't an issue there you should be good to go.

k_dawg
January 21, 2006, 09:21 PM
I *really* wish they had a hybrid of the FFL01 and FFL03. I would gladly undergo all the more rigor's of an FFL01, but not to engage in a business.

palerider1
January 21, 2006, 09:49 PM
i want to get a FFL also to do internet sales and local sales by appountment only. how long does it normally take to get one and if you run it out of your home what are the chances to get an FFL?
thanks,

bean357
January 21, 2006, 10:00 PM
The dealers I normally visit have said that one would run into trouble obtaining an FFL if they do not have a storefront to conduct business. Is this not true?

AWL
January 21, 2006, 10:01 PM
From what I understand it takes 4-8 months for the ATF to approve or deny a FFL. There is no guarantee of approval. A big part depends on the state and county that you live in and what kind of zoning exists there. I checked with my sheriff to make sure that I could do it from a state and conty perspective. I would not proceed with a BATF application until you cover that base.

AWL
January 21, 2006, 10:04 PM
The dealers I normally visit have said that one would run into trouble obtaining an FFL if they do not have a storefront to conduct business. Is this not true?

I thought the same thing but I know of two people in my area that have recently been approved for home based FFLs.

dmftoy1
January 21, 2006, 10:09 PM
I am considering getting my FFL to do internet and gun show sales. I am in the process of doing my paperwork for BATF and I have already checked with the county sheriff and there are no local laws against me doing this out of my home here in GA. Do any of you forum members have FFL without an actual retail shop and what has your experience been with BATF and have you had success at gun shows and internet sales?

A little over 20 years ago I did this and had no problem operating out of my home. I was never "visited" and never had any problems. I got out of it when Clinton raised the fee's through the roof and I "heard" at the time that there was going to be a emphasis on storefront operations. I don't know if that ever took place or not. (???) It's been a very long time, but I think it took maybe 6 weeks for me to get my license. That might have changed. I used to keep my FFL and tried to make enough money to cover the license fee's. Typically I was making $15-20 per gun but in my community people really liked being able to come over, look through the wholesale catalogs and know that I was just taking on "x" dollars.

I had to have a State Sales tax license, but that was free and only required "quarterly" payments. Wasn't a big hassle, but it was when I lived in SD so it may be more involved where you live. Here in IL a State Sales Tax license requires all kinds of paperwork to be filed quarterly.

I don't know if it helps or not being so long ago. I'm curious how it works out for you if you decide to do it.

One thing I'd recommend if you decide to do it is a personal liability insurance policy for a couple of million bucks. (around here they run about $200 a year). With all the sue-happy yahoo's these days it would be useful if you ever got in a bad spot.

Have a good one,
Dave

bean357
January 21, 2006, 10:15 PM
I thought the same thing but I know of two people in my area that have recently been approved for home based FFLs.
One other thing that was mentioned to me, was that even IF one is able to acquire the FFL, many of the distributors will not even do business without the storefront. ???

AWL
January 21, 2006, 10:27 PM
True, some distributors will not sell to you if you don't have a storefront but I heard that at least 2/3 would.

palerider1
January 21, 2006, 10:30 PM
True, some distributors will not sell to you if you don't have a storefront but I heard that at least 2/3 would.
probably true ,,,,,,just hang a sign in front of your garage and take a pic of it to send to them.

hotpig
January 22, 2006, 06:50 PM
One other thing that was mentioned to me, was that even IF one is able to acquire the FFL, many of the distributors will not even do business without the storefront. ???

Some will not, others will but you pay more and get the left overs. The big guys get first dips on everything.

In other words you may not get the new release gun until it has been on the market for weeks or even months. In that time the price that you pay for the gun often goes up and the selling price goes down because it is more availible.

geoff40
January 22, 2006, 10:40 PM
Interesting. I too, would like to get my FFL and do most of my dealings via the web, so some of these responses are encouraging, after hearing from others that I have little or no chance of BATF approval. Because of the home based angle, that is.

dmftoy1
January 23, 2006, 08:42 AM
If you're interested give it a go. I'd be willing to bet that if you send them your $ you will get a license. The approvals probably very by the political climate of the administration in charge. ( I applied when Reagan was in office. :) ) If you do all the paperwork and check your local rules I doubt if you'll have any problem. What's the fee now anyway? Report back when you do or don't get it.

Have a good one,
Dave

AWL
January 23, 2006, 10:04 AM
The fee is $200.00 for the first three years and $90.00 to renew for next three year period. I am sending in my paperwork at the end of the week. I will post updates as to how things are going.

wally
January 23, 2006, 10:27 AM
I *really* wish they had a hybrid of the FFL01 and FFL03. I would gladly undergo all the more rigor's of an FFL01, but not to engage in a business.

+1
I'd like there to be a collectors FFL so I could directly buy guns from out of state. Say like an FFL01 but sales restricted to other FFLs like a C&R but for modern guns.

OTOH, this could be construed as a foot in the door to a full registration and licensing scheme by evolving the law to require every gun owner have this.

--wally.

TIMC
January 23, 2006, 11:41 AM
True, some distributors will not sell to you if you don't have a storefront but I heard that at least 2/3 would.

I just gave my FFL up last year. I did have trouble getting some distributers to work with me at first, Some said "No only store front businesses". After my first year they started calling and asking for my business. There are a couple distributers that will deal with you right off the bat, a few others want 2 references about other distributers you have been dealing with.
Davidson's, Sports South, Jerry's and Zanders sporting goods were my main suppliers. All are great for internet orders. Davidson's will even set you up a free web store if you do 10K+ business with them per year.

AWL
January 23, 2006, 11:45 AM
I just gave my FFL up last year. I did have trouble getting some distributers to work with me at first, Some said "No only store front businesses". After my first year they started calling and asking for my business. There are a couple distributers that will deal with you right off the bat, a few others want 2 references about other distributers you have been dealing with.
Davidson's, Sports South, Jerry's and Zanders sporting goods were my main suppliers. All are great for internet orders. Davidson's will even set you up a free web store if you do 10K+ business with them per year.

Why did you give up your FFL if I may ask? Lost interest or just not worth it in general. Thanks.

TIMC
January 23, 2006, 11:49 AM
Thanks for the replies. The confusing thing about a FFL is that you hear so many different things. Most of my sales will be internet based and I may do a few gun shows. I know I won't get rich doing this but I think it will be enjoyable nonetheless.

It was enjoyable to me for the years I did it and I did make enough money to buy myself a few nice toys. I did run into a few people that were pretty scary and having them know where you live is not good which will happen since you would be having people come by your house to pick up guns and fill out paperwork. This is the main reason I got out of the business. Remember You will be required to be open to the public by the BATF.

Your also going to have fun finding a bank that will set you up to take credit cards, most won't mess with firearms sales and if you want your business to do good on the internet you will need this.

Good luck.

Werewolf
January 23, 2006, 12:02 PM
...Your also going to have fun finding a bank that will set you up to take credit cards, most won't mess with firearms sales...Cite...

Every gunstore and pawnshop in OKC (and there's quite a few) takes credit cards. My experience with banks is they do business with qualified customers. For businesses that means a good business plan, assets, etc. Banks are looking for business customers that will make them money. Just getting an FFL doesn't mean one has any business savy (and if the local mom and pops around here are any indication the average FFL doesn't have any of that [though there are 3 shops in OKC that are definitely run by business savy guys and it shows]).

waterhouse
January 23, 2006, 01:03 PM
I've been doing it for a little over a year now. It took 3-4 months from the time I sent in my application to the time I had a license, which I consider to be pretty quick by government standards.

Some distrubutors require that you already have accounts set up with 2 or 3 other distributors. Some don't care. It's not difficult to set up accounts with the ones that don't care and then use them as references for the ones that do care.

From the extra paperwork I had to submit, I gather the BATFE is very concerned about your local (all the way down to a neighborhood level) retrictions. If there aren't any and you have a clean record, and you can convince them you are running a for profit business (and not just building a personal collection) you should be fine.

As for accepting credit cards and banks not wanting to deal with guns, I probably got 20 phone calls (this really isn't an exageration) in the first week from companies wanting me to use their credit card system. Not one hung up the phone when we got to the fact that I was going to be selling guns.

TIMC
January 23, 2006, 04:59 PM
As for accepting credit cards and banks not wanting to deal with guns, I probably got 20 phone calls (this really isn't an exageration) in the first week from companies wanting me to use their credit card system. Not one hung up the phone when we got to the fact that I was going to be selling guns.

The problem I had was not just accepting credit cards it was the internet sales part. Credit card companies mainly did not want "Card not present" sales over $500. I sold a lot of upper end guns over the web. A lot of people like to buy upper end guns out of state to avoid sales tax. I would make them a good deal and take a less but nice quick profit, ship to their FFL and log it out, simple task for an easy sale. The credit card companies just don't like seeing 2-3K sales without the card being present.

Jack Baur
January 23, 2006, 10:20 PM
Not true. They do care where you sell from. On the application and during the interview they ask whether you will be doing most of your business at gun shows. If you answer yes, no FFL for you. Also, you can only transfer a firearm at your licensed premises address or at a recognized gun show. Anywhere else is a violation of the Gun Control Act. What they DON'T care about is wheter or not you make a profit. Only that you are actively in the business of dealing firearms.

I was refering to home based operations.

Thanks tho.

jbeni96
April 23, 2009, 11:56 PM
I had my FFL in the mail exactly 5 working days after my inspection. I guess the BATF office in Tucson Arizona works pretty fast.

wyocarp
April 25, 2009, 12:39 AM
I had my FFL in the mail exactly 5 working days after my inspection.

That was much quicker than mine but not as bad as others I have heard of.

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