State Zoning Laws - Texas


February 15, 2010, 06:58 PM
I'm trying to figure out if the State of Texas has any zoning laws regarding business run from home or having a home based FFL. I don't reside in an incorporated city and have confirmed no city has any jurisdiction. So I checked county and confirmed from a letter on their website and by phone that they have ZERO zoning laws. I've already received okay from my homeowner's association. All that leaves is the state, and as far as I can tell, I'm in the clear.

Can anyone offer any insight?


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February 15, 2010, 07:04 PM
I'm of the understanding that the State does not have any zoning laws. I know for a fact that as long as local ordinances do not prohibit the type of home-based business you wish to begin, the ATF will approve your Form 7. I've got several FFL home-based friends here in TX, and I looked into it for a while myself. I'm no lawyer, so my advice is worth as much as I you paid for it ;)

February 15, 2010, 07:36 PM
Thanks. My opinion is same as yours. I really want to go forward, just wanted ot make sure everything was in check.

February 17, 2010, 08:52 AM
You may save yourself a big hassle by looking at your deed restrictions and not rely on what the HOA tells you. If it's not in writing, don't believe it.

dogtown tom
February 17, 2010, 09:56 AM
All you need from the state of Texas is a sales tax permit.
The state doesn't have anything to do with zoning- that is strictly a local issue.

February 17, 2010, 10:34 AM
hivel37 - The deed strictly states no businesses run from the home. However, the VP gave is contact info and will speak to the ATF. He's good friend. Since he helped 2 others in the subdivision with this process, I'm fairly confident I'll be okay.

dogtown tom - I've all but given up trying to disprove what you say and I believe. So, I'm going with it. :D

February 17, 2010, 10:56 AM
The deed strictly states no businesses run from the home. However, the VP gave is contact info and will speak to the ATF.

The ATF will need something in writing to include in your file. This means the HOA board will have to meet, vote, have the vote recorded in the meeting minutes, etc.

This also helps protect you if a future HOA board decides to play games.

Art Eatman
February 17, 2010, 11:46 AM
In Texas, the state and the county do not control the use of property in the sense of zoning. Ya gotta get off into the area of health and safety or pollution to get their attention.

Strictly a city or as mentioned, HOA and deed restriction deal.

If you're gonna have a business name, a suggestion: Record it with the county clerk's office as a "DBA"--doing business as. That way, nobody else can use that name in your county. It's good for ten years, and renewable. Modest fee.

To deal with sales taxes, you need an ID # from the Comptroller's office. Having that lets you get a commercial discount on all sorts of stuff. :)

dogtown tom
February 17, 2010, 04:12 PM
I posted this on The Firing Line a while back.
DogtownTom's Steps to getting an 01FFL in Texas:

1. Check with your city and county to see if home based business are allowed or not. Deed restrictions or homeowners association rules may prohibit home business as well. If you rent your home then read your lease contract to see if home business is allowed. Usually city & county websites will have this info on their website. Print out a copy of those rules and keep them. If all is okay with a home based business then...

2. Decide what kind of business structure you want to have: corporation, LLC, partnership (if you have a partner) or sole proprietorship. There are advantages to each kind: sole proprietor is the easiest, corporation or LLC may give you certain legal protections. Once you decide...

3. Go to the county courthouse and apply for an assumed name (DBA). Do this before you incorporate or form a partnership because the name you want may be taken. If you’ve already done this for your other business you could just use that name. Now that you have a name for your business...

4. Go to the IRS website and get a Federal EIN # for Federal tax purposes. Then...

5. Go to and apply for your Texas Sales Tax & Use Certificate- this will be required. BTW, there is no sales tax paid on transfer fees- only on firearms you sell. You do not collect Texas Sales Tax on guns the customer buys and has shipped to you.

6. Decide what your “business hours” will be. These are not necessarily hours that you are open to the public, but hours you plan to devote time and attention to your business. My real job is teaching- so I put my “business hours” as M-F 5-10p. ATF wants to see that you are actually going to be in the business of dealing firearms. You can always change those hours later if needed.

7. Complete the Form 7 Application for Federal Firearms License. It doesn’t carbon copy, so you’ll have plenty of writing to do. It is actually three identical forms. Keep a copy for yourself, send a copy to the chief law enforcement officer of your city or county- and put a sticky note on it that says “For Files Only- No Action Needed”. Along with the Form 7, ATF will have sent fingerprint cards. Go to any law enforcement agency and tell them you need “prints for file” or “prints for Federal background check”. They should not charge you. Use ONLY the ATF fingerprint cards. Get two passport size photos taken. Mail this last Form 7 to ATF along with the app fee of $200, fingerprint cards and passport photos. I sent mine Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation. How long you wait for the FTF interview with ATF depends on the volume of FFL applicants. While you are waiting...

8. Go to and start reading EVERYTHING. I started with the “FAQ’s”, but keep in mind they are not the actual law, just a quick reference. I applied in June ’08 after school was out and spent at least an hour a day reading something on the ATF site. At some point, an ATF Industry Operations Investigator will call to set up an appointment for your interview. The interview will be at your “licensed premises” (your home). Odds are, he will already know if your home is legal for a home based business, but show him the proof you got in #1 above. Then...

9. At the interview, the IOI will review your application for accuracy and briefly review the various forms. It shouldn’t take more than an hour. He may ask about safes, alarms, etc. NONE of which are required- but it would make ATF very happy if you have a safe and alarm system. “Secure storage” has to do with gun locks for customer guns. Federal law requires every FFL to have gunlocks available for every firearm that they transfer. Almost all new guns come with a lock. Free locks are often given away at gun shows or you can buy them for as little as $1 each. After the interview...

10. He should have given you an idea whether you will get approved. The app will be reviewed by his supervisor before being approved. You should get your actual license in three to six weeks. Once it arrives...

11.Do NOT sign the license- leave it blank! Take it to Kinko’s and make LOTS of copies. I highly recommend signing one copy and having Kinko’s scan it both as a .jpg file and as a .pdf file. You can then email that FFL rather than faxing it. Faxed FFL’s often come out unreadable, not to mention it cost me nothing to email a copy, while faxing costs me paper and a big phone bill.

12. Immediately register with the FBI NICS You can’t transfer guns until you do. I registered with NICS at 7pm, at 9:30am the next morning they called to tell me I was active. After that...

13.Order your 4473’s from ATF, along with Multiple Sale of Handgun forms, Youth Gun Safety brochures and other forms you might need. ATF may have sent some when you get your license, but more is better. There is no official “bound book” and there are several different ones out there- I buy mine from Brownells because they are cheap. Order at least a pack of three. Put them in a three ring binder. Then...

14. Go to GunBroker, Auction Arms, GunsAmerica, etc and list yourself in the “Find an FFL” directory. After that things like business cards and the like to spread the word about your new FFL.

15. Although not required I highly recommend getting insurance. Collectables Insurance has a firearm dealer policy that protects your inventory, when you ship customers guns and your guns on the table at gun shows. I also have my personal guns insured through them. Very easy to deal with.

16. has an FFL forum that has good information and is worth a visit.

Whatever you do………don’t buy one of those “Get your FFL Kits” off the internet. They don’t tell you anything I didn’t write above.

February 18, 2010, 03:00 PM
DogtownTom's Steps to getting an 01FFL in Texas:

Thanks for the info...
Coupla questions...

What about shipping/receiving?
What about NFA items your LLC may own?

please PM if the answers will lead me to more questions...:confused:

dogtown tom
February 18, 2010, 08:30 PM

Thanks for the info...
Coupla questions...

What about shipping/receiving?
What about NFA items your LLC may own?

I have an account at the UPS Store. They receive and sign for UPS, FedEx and USPS packages. They shoot me an email everytime a package arrives. I pick them up each afternoon.

For shipping long guns I use UPS. For handguns USPS.

I do not deal in NFA toys.

Art Eatman
February 18, 2010, 09:23 PM
"For shipping long guns I use UPS. For handguns USPS."

Isn't that a backwards typo? :)

February 19, 2010, 08:07 AM
I have an account at the UPS Store.

That was a big concern for me.

Also, I have no intention of dealing NFA stuff, but the LLC I plan to use for my FFL does own some...
I guess that "I" own the FFL, using my LLC to conduct business..?

dogtown tom
February 22, 2010, 09:50 AM
Art Eatman "For shipping long guns I use UPS. For handguns USPS."

Isn't that a backwards typo? :)

Firearms dealers are allowed to mail handguns.

I'm a dealer, so I would rather pay $25 to ship a handgun through USPS, than pay UPS $50 for the same.

Art Eatman
February 22, 2010, 11:12 AM
Gotcha. Thanx. Good to know.

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