Being my own FFL

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herrwalther

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I am considering a career change to chase after a passion many of us have here: firearms. I am looking at becoming a certified gun smith. My goal is to work in a gun store while doing some work at a home office setting. Are there significant benefits to having a personal FFL to receive firearms at home? Also can I use a personal FFL for personal firearms?
 
First, good luck with this endeavor. The firearms business can be difficult, so make sure you plan and treat it as a business rather than a hobby. Gunsmiths are a little different than a standard retailer (selling guns is a very low margin game), but if you have (or get) a good background in machine work you should do well.

There is no such thing as a personal FFL. A FFL is a business license, for the express purpose of running a business. It can not be used to enhance your personal collection. You can of course buy a firearm from your business, but you should have legitimate business operations.

As a gunsmith, you can do a 01 or 07 FFL, but I would recommend going with the 07 which lets you do everything required to build a gun, including making receivers. Every so often you hear about something that 01 gunsmiths aren't allowed to do X, Y, and Z. Having an 07 means you don't have to worry about that.

FFLs are also (mostly, some exceptions) tied to a specific physical location. You can't have a retail store for your business and accept shipments at your home. Working at home is a detail I haven't looked into too much, but I would personally be hesitant to bring guns from the licensed premises to your home for work (you should have a better shop at your business than your house). Things like record keeping, accounting, advertising, and other normal business activities can of course be done at home.

If you don't mind me asking, what types of things are you looking to do as a "certified gunsmith"? Do you plan on only doing armorer level stuff (swapping parts) or actually building guns and parts?
 
.....You can't have a retail store for your business and accept shipments at your home....
Not true. Nothing in ATF regulations says anything about where a licensee receives firearms.
I've been a kitchen table dealer for almost eleven years and have used my local UPS Store to receive all my firearm shipments. That shipping address is on my FFL.
https://www.atf.gov/file/4256/download

FFLs May Ship Firearms to Locations Other than the Business Premises Address
ATF has received numerous inquiries asking if a Federal firearms licensee (FFL) may ship firearms to an address that is different from what is listed on the recipient’s Federal firearms license.
Neither the Gun Control Act (GCA) nor its implementing regulations contain specific provisions requiring that an FFL have firearms shipped to his/her licensed business premises when receiving firearms. Therefore, an FFL may lawfully receive firearms at his/her mailing address, storage location, or other address where the licensee intends to ensure safe and secure receipt of the firearms.
ATF Industry Circular 74-13 outlines “Guidelines for Verifying Identity and Licensed Status of Transferee.” It states, in part that “when the shipment is to be made to an address other than the transferee’s premises as listed on his or her license or on his or her certified list, it is suggested that the transferor verify the address as being that of the transferee.” ATF encourages FFLs to verify to the best of their ability that the shipping address is a valid location where the licensee is prepared to receive and subsequently possess the firearms. This may require that you contact the FFL listed on the license to verify that the address listed is accurate. In addition, if an FFL requires frequent delivery of firearms to an address other than his/her licensed business premises, ATF recommends that the shipping address be placed on file with the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC) as an additional mailing address. It should be noted that any FFL receiving firearms at locations other than his/her licensed premises must still maintain accurate records of acquisition and disposition of firearms.
Please be advised that there may be State laws that prohibit the receipt of firearms at a different address than what is listed on the license.
 
Not true. Nothing in ATF regulations says anything about where a licensee receives firearms.
I've been a kitchen table dealer for almost eleven years and have used my local UPS Store to receive all my firearm shipments. That shipping address is on my FFL.
https://www.atf.gov/file/4256/download
Interesting. I always thought there was a restriction on that - thanks for correcting me. Learn something new every day!
 
It can not be used to enhance your personal collection.

Is that strictly true? Your stated purpose must be the business of buying/selling firearms and you attest to that on your application, but there’s not a prohibition against using your FFL to buy guns for yourself from what people have told me.

Unless I’m wrong and FFLs who buy guns for themselves go through another FFL, or they fill out a 4474 and run a NICS check on themselves...but I’m guessing most just transfer the guns from their bound book out to themselves for their personal collection.

Maybe an FFL can tell us how that works. I only familiar with what my buddy who has an FFL has told me and I wouldn’t bet my life on it.
 
Is that strictly true? Your stated purpose must be the business of buying/selling firearms and you attest to that on your application, but there’s not a prohibition against using your FFL to buy guns for yourself from what people have told me.

Unless I’m wrong and FFLs who buy guns for themselves go through another FFL, or they fill out a 4474 and run a NICS check on themselves...but I’m guessing most just transfer the guns from their bound book out to themselves for their personal collection.

Maybe an FFL can tell us how that works. I only familiar with what my buddy who has an FFL has told me and I wouldn’t bet my life on it.

If you read the next sentence after what you quoted, you have your answer.

You can of course buy a firearm from your business, but you should have legitimate business operations.

I think the FFL application uses "solely for the purpose", but I was trying to be succinct. The OP talks about a gun store and a separate home "personal" FFL. I think it's reasonable to note that if he uses that multiple license structure and wants to know about using the "personal FFL" for personal firearms, he should be careful not to run afoul of regulatory directives.
 
If you read the next sentence after what you quoted, you have your answer.



I think the FFL application uses "solely for the purpose", but I was trying to be succinct. The OP talks about a gun store and a separate home "personal" FFL. I think it's reasonable to note that if he uses that multiple license structure and wants to know about using the "personal FFL" for personal firearms, he should be careful not to run afoul of regulatory directives.
I’m suffering from low comprehension today. Low, er, very low comprehension.
 
If an individual becomes a FFL (say at home) does the persons "personal" guns then become part of the business and then be logged in on the bound book? or are they considered separate??

In other words if I obtain a FFL can I then sell my guns through the business.
 
If an individual becomes a FFL (say at home) does the persons "personal" guns then become part of the business .
No.
But if your FFL is issued to you as a sole proprietor then it would be wise to record all acquisitions and dispositions through your bound book.
If your FFL application was to an LLC or corporation, dispositions to yourself require a 4473/NICS.


and then be logged in on the bound book? or are they considered separate??
If you sell a "personal" firearm, you would enter it in your bound book as received from your personal collection and then disposed to the buyer.

In other words if I obtain a FFL can I then sell my guns through the business
Sure.

Be aware that ATF requires you identify "personal" firearms as "Personal collection not for sale". You can do this by attaching a tag to each or attaching a sign or label on your safe identifying the entire contents as "not for sale". Why? ATF doesn't want to drop by for a compliance inspection and find guns that you didn't enter into your books.
 
I think the FFL application uses "solely for the purpose", but I was trying to be succinct. The OP talks about a gun store and a separate home "personal" FFL. I think it's reasonable to note that if he uses that multiple license structure and wants to know about using the "personal FFL" for personal firearms, he should be careful not to run afoul of regulatory directives.

I know next to nothing about being an FFL, so that is why I asked the question. My goal and purpose of obtaining a FFL would allow me to receive guns at home to work on. If I am not working at an established gun store, I could still receive work if I am my own FFL. And of course I want to do things legally. If I cannot use my personal FFL to build a personal collection I would rather know now instead of later.

There is no such thing as a personal FFL. A FFL is a business license, for the express purpose of running a business. It can not be used to enhance your personal collection.

This I know. Only reason I refer to "personal FFL" is to denote getting one for myself as opposed to a gun store FFL.

If you don't mind me asking, what types of things are you looking to do as a "certified gunsmith"? Do you plan on only doing armorer level stuff (swapping parts) or actually building guns and parts?

Start out as armorer level work. After my skills and tools build I would not be opposed to larger projects like building receivers or designing firearms. The gun smith courses I am looking at revolve around basic gun smith tasks such as repair, troubleshooting firearms, and customization (ie stippling)
 
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All the FFL licenses, except for the type 03, are business/manufacturing oriented. If you work at home, the ATF requires you to conform to local ordinances. Zoning laws, etc. Also, for tax purposes you need a separate work area like a garage or another room, preferably with its own entrance. You can write it off by square footage. You might want to consult a CPA.
 
Actually, there is an exception, and it took me a while to find it. Rule 1973-19 allows issuance for "operations conducted by a consultant or expert."

This is the exception under which the Violence Policy Center holds one. It took me a while to drag that out of the ATF. As a bonus, they don't appear to ever audit those.
 
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