Becoming an Arms Dealer?


July 14, 2011, 02:38 AM
Did a search and didn't really see anything.
I'm thinking it would be more trouble than it's worth, but how would one become an arms dealer (LEGAL!)?
I'm thinking locally, selling from home.

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July 14, 2011, 09:10 AM
"Arms dealer" is not really the term to use, unless you're talking about someone operating at an international level (and usually in a disreputable way). Just stick to "gun dealer." We have to be sensitive to nuances of meaning.

July 14, 2011, 09:34 AM
Better yet, say "FFL" for Federal Firearms License.

July 14, 2011, 09:58 AM
ATF: How to become a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) (

July 14, 2011, 11:07 PM
Just got my 07 FFL in the mail today. I subscribed to He guarantees you to be approved and it's only $40 bucks.

Several thousand dollars? Nonsense! I've spent around $400 total so far and am in business as of today.

July 15, 2011, 08:53 AM
Several thousand dollars? Nonsense! I've spent around $400 total so far and am in business as of today.
The licensing is the cheapest part. Now there's insurance, ITAR, machinery & tooling, inventory, the SOT...

July 15, 2011, 09:57 AM
Actually "arms dealer" isn't all that pejorative when used in reference to "armament company sales rep."
Someone has to be the point person when making volume weapon sales to domestic agencies and foreign governments, whether it's a batch of infantry rifles, crew served guns, or missile batteries. Might as well be you, right?
I'd guess that firms with those sort of product lines would mostly want former military personnel with a college degree, preferably business. Absent those qualifications, at the very least someone with a solid track record of high-end sales success - pharmaceuticals, capital machinery, etc.

July 17, 2011, 12:08 AM
Wouldn't that be more applicable to the term 'international arms dealer'?
Potato, Potatoe, I wanna sell guns! lol

What insurance is needed? Wouldn't that just be bonding?
ITAR? Machinery for what? SOT?

July 17, 2011, 12:15 AM
ITAR - International Traffic in Arms Regulations Wiki (

No you wouldn't need tooling unless you were setting up to manufacture.

The SOT is the Special Occupational Tax, its a yearly tax paid by certain FFL dealers to deal in NFA firearms. Sot (Wiki) (

I suggest you read the ATF link provided by one of the above posters, as ultimately they are the critters you have to please to get an FFL.

July 17, 2011, 12:36 AM
Well, if all you are doing is a brick-n-mortar sales store, you'd need insurance on the stock in the store. Plus whatever business insurance your local Authority Having Jurisdiction requires (city/county/state business license, etc.)

If you are going to run a limited-liability sole proprietorship, there are some options you really have to do first.

Which, should have been in the paper business plan you mapped out first.

Hint, it does not look like this:
1. Get License
2. Sell guns
3. ????
4. Profit

Does AZ have a sales tax? If so, you need to apply for what ever AZ requires to collect that tax. AZ may also have special requirements to become legally eligible to be an employer; which will likely mean having your IRS employer number worked out (which you need to do after you decide which business entity--501(c); "sub-S" etc,--you will be,as there are consequences in having to change that entity, and the IRS employer ID.

You need to have the business economic model worked out for how you are handling the business reciepts. Minor things like LoC and/or RLoC; merchant accounts for credit cards; renting a card machine to take CC or debit/check cards (and all the extra-lovely costs associated with those). Oh, and you'll need a cash register. And a till for the CR. And cash to make change for the till.

ATFE will want you the have a Bound Book, too 9even if you are a "kitchen table" dealer). Now that you are allowed to electronically file 4473, you are likely going to need a business computer, which will come in handy for keeping the books. So, you'll want some software, too. Oh, and a broadband internet connection, too.

You will want some sort of business-continuation plan, too, to cope with power loss, natural disasters, and the like--just one more expense.

Almost easier to set up to be an international broker than to be a small businessman anymore.

I've been to this game a time or two. At least on the business side.

Shoot, have you thought about what "sort" of "gun bidness" you want to run? Going to offer reloading supplies? Black Powder? Sell to the clay pigeon set? MilSurps?

Each of those will have overhead issues. Reloading especially. Just think of how many boxes of projectiles you need to keep in stock. And you need to secure the powder and primers.

My hat is off to you for pressing forward, don't get me wrong. I'm just trying to see that you don't hit some of the shoals others have gone aground (or foundered) upon.

July 17, 2011, 08:32 AM
Recently received my FFL (type 01). Did the paperwork myself and set up accounts with several distributors. Interview with the BATF investigator was more informative than anything else. A lot easier than the sites that charge a fee to "assist you" would have you believe.

If you decide to pursue it check out the FFLOnly forum - a lot of good info there, though you can only register after you have your license.

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