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Can Anyone Define what was meant by "Kitchen Table FFL's"

Discussion in 'Legal' started by krs, Jan 13, 2009.

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  1. krs

    krs Member

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    or whatever that phrase was.

    I know it was meant to restrict the number of FFL's in the country, but never got how it was defined, or what it meant, although I can guess.
     
  2. scottgun

    scottgun Member

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    Someone doing business out of their home. Rather than an established retail location outside of their house.
     
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    The term was applied by both the anti-gun gang and by storefront gun dealers to people who had a dealer FFL but no business location. They operated out of their homes, often using the kitchen table to show guns and do the paperwork. Some held the license only so they could buy guns at wholesale prices for themselves and their friends.

    In most cases, they did no harm and were never a big factor in the illegal gun market, but most were violating local laws (zoning, business licenses, etc.) and quite often "forgot" to pay income tax on profits.

    This sounds derogatory, but for a while I was a "kitchen table" dealer, so I am not really condemning anyone. Of course, store dealers did not like the competition and some actively campaigned to restrict licenses to storefront dealers or at least to those who conformed to local laws.

    Jim
     
  4. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    If I recall correctly, the number of FFLs in the US was reduced significantly during the Clinton administration when they introduced a pogram against "kitchen table FFLs" and made it much more difficult to be an FFL.

    A good lesson that licenses and firearm freedoms don't mix. The next administration can always make the licenses more expensive and more difficult to get.
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Another term is "car-trunk FFL's.

    Same difference, except even more of a problem for the fed's, as the "business" was mobile.

    rc
     
  6. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    These are still allowed, and plentiful.

    What the definition meant was FFLs that were not IN THE BUSINESS of selling guns, just had an FFL to get guns for themselves and their buddies at a discount.

    Now you have to be "actively engaged in the business" or somesuch definition. In other words, trying to make a living out of it rather than as a hobby.

    It was just a way to reduce the numbers of FFLs. It didn't really have anything to do with the physical location.

    I know of one FFL being run out of a home that does in excess of $1 million a year in revenue. THAT is "in business" :)
     
  7. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    When the GCA '68 was first passed, licensed dealers could take orders for firearms but could not actually make delivery at gunshows. They could sell only at their regular place of business. Only private individuals could transfer at a show. Dealers could take orders, but could only deliver at the regular place of business.

    Some people would have the wife get the FFL and then buy from her, filling out the 4473s. They would then take the firearms to gunshows and sell as individuals. "She" would also sell from the home.

    The law was changed so that FFLs could make sales and transfer ownership at gunshows. Fewer wives as FFL-holders, thereafter, but a continuation of FFLs who only sold at gunshows or less-frequently from home.

    The Clinton-era anti-gun hype led to a tightening of all manner of things in the world of sales of firearms.
     
  8. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

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    Since Clintoon, you need a retail business location (extra rent and utilities) AND regular business hours (not just "by appointment"). This keeps most people from moonlighting as an FFL, and wiped out two thirds of FFL licenses practically overnight. Guns sales is the only business I can think of that cannot legally be run out of your home or car.
     
  9. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Years ago I bought my first SKS from a gentleman, and I did the paperwork on his kitchen table, literally. He lived next door to a good friend.
    Wish I still had that Norinco Paratrooper model...and that the good old gent had not died of old age. Cest la vie.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
  10. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    Don't you have to have an FFL to do most types of gunsmithing work (because you have to take possession of the firearms)? If so, did this affect low-volume gunsmiths who worked out of their homes?
     
  11. subknave

    subknave Member

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    If you read the licensing regulations there is an exception for gunsmithing in that you can have by appointment only. I believe you can run your business in your home as long as you are not violating any zoning laws or other ordinances etc. have proper storage facilities, don't violate fire laws, have set business hours, business license, taxes and everything else. including whatever other labor laws that apply. I was going to open my own gunsmithing business in my house but it would violate a local ordinance.
     
  12. MAKster

    MAKster Member

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    You have always had to be in the business of selling firearms to get an FFL. What changed during Clinton Admin is that the ATF now requires you to prove that you are complying with state and local laws regarding zoning and business licenses. You can still run your business out of your house as long as it doesn't violate a local law on businesses in residential areas.
     
  13. Rmeju

    Rmeju Member

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    There's also the problem of the ATF coming and searching your place of business, if your place of business is your house.

    I wouldn't want that unless I was somehow able to get a section of my place zoned differently. I have seen some dealers do things like that, with sort of a showroom thing attached to (what looks like) a house.

    Rmeju
     
  14. DMF

    DMF Member

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    This post is extremely misleading, to say the least.

    FFLs have always been required to have a location where they operate their business, and have business hours, to have a license. This is NOT something created by the Clinton administration. Also, that business location could in fact be the licensees home, IF that was legal based on local law for running a business.

    Further, there is no federal requirement that the business location be separate from the residence of the licensee. In fact a friend of mine is a so called "Kitchen Table FFL," who does business out of his home and first got his license in the middle of the Clinton adminstration.

    What the law does require, and always has, is that the licensee comply with the local laws to run the business. If for example the local zoning laws prohibit a person from running a gun business out of a residential home in that neighborhood, then the person cannot have an FFL with that home as the business location. Again, this is not something created by the Clinton administration or the Clinton era Congress. It has always been that way.
     
  15. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    What Clinton DID kick off was actual enforcement and investigations.

    In the past the definition of "in the business" was applied very loosely. One guy might sell 3 guns a year to his buddies and say he was "in the business" and not much would happen.

    Now that would not fly at all.
     
  16. lanternlad1

    lanternlad1 Member

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    "Since Clintoon, you need a retail business location (extra rent and utilities) AND regular business hours (not just "by appointment"). This keeps most people from moonlighting as an FFL, and wiped out two thirds of FFL licenses practically overnight. Guns sales is the only business I can think of that cannot legally be run out of your home or car."

    Bullcrap.

    My FFL dealer who does my out of state transfers works out his home.

    Its better to have a store unless you want Feds in your home, but if you don't care, then run it there.
     
  17. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Back in the '80s, there were more people who had an FFL 01 to mail-order guns for themselves and their neighbors. Now, only FFL 03 (C&R) licenses are handed out to whoever wants one.

    However, if the zoning laws permit it (around here, there are homes in residential areas with a C1 zoning, for example), and you do the usual stuff to have a business (state resale permit and sale tax returns, local business license, etc.), there's no law that says it can't be in the same building as you make your dinner.

    More or less, the ATF was directed to only issue FFL 03 to personal buyers, and FFL 01 and 02 to actual, organized retailers.

    Now I don't see why I shouldn't be allowed to get an FFL 01 if I want, even for personal use. I'm subject to the same record-keeping and other requirements as any other FFL holder, whether I sell one gun or a thousand.

    However, you will note that gun stores in California supported the new transfer approval law for shipping guns into the state. This law helps to make sure that the only worthwhile way to buy a gun in California is through a retailer -- increasingly, only through a large retailer.

    The bottom line is, while many FFL holders are hard-core RKBA advocates who even sacrifice their immediate business interests for their beliefs, there are others who just do what's in their own short-term interest: work to force people to buy from them.
     
  18. Sir Aardvark

    Sir Aardvark Member

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    I was a "Kitchen Table" Gun Dealer in California for 6 years.

    California's crazy rules made it so that I had to have 7 separate licenses, permits, and certificates to sell a handgun.

    I finally got fed up of having to jump through all of the hoops and gave up my FFL.
     
  19. rogertc1

    rogertc1 member

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    I had my 01 FFL for about 5 years. Not really a kitchen table as I had a shop in a different town and ran the paperwork out of my home. In the hayday of FFL's there were over 240,000 of us out there. Then they changed the requirements to send in photo and finger prints. My FFL was not renewed because I did not sell enough firearms. I only sold about 200.
    Not sure how many FFL's are out there now? 50,000? Anyone know.
     
  20. krs

    krs Member

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    This is the reason for my question, a 'fact sheet' in the BATF website about the decline in the number of active FFL's in the country in which ATF claims that actual revokation of licenses is 'insignificant' to the decline.

    http://www.atf.gov/press/factsheets/0608-factsheet-ffl-decline.pdf

    This letter is suspicious to me. It's as though they felt the need to deny that they are a factor in the decline of the overall economy or of free enterprise as it relates to the selling of guns.

    I know that there are many licensees operating their businesses from home. They need to comply with local restrictions such as if they live near a school it ain't gonna' happen, or zoning may not allow for any business, or there may be any number of other factors that are unrelated to BATF's mission.

    I know that in order to be an 01 dealer you must show evidence of at least attempting to make a go of a business although I've never seen anything that said that you must succeed in business.

    (BTW, Art Eatman, there can be advantages to having a business in your wife's name. Woman owned and minority owned businesses have a leg up in most governmental contracting. I knew a guy who's wife was in the business of putting together and supplying the sniper rifle packages bought by several LE agencies in the area, for example, even while she held down a full time job in the local bank. He did the gun stuff but got his contracts because of the niceties contained in the procurement regulations for those agencies).

    A friend is a gunsmith now. He has his shop in what was his garage and he keeps it separate from the house even to having installed a walk through door with a sign over that separate door. His license is an 01.

    So with home operations licensed, with BATF denying having been the reason for the decline in the number of licenses, what did the "Kitchen Table" rhetoric accomplish?

    I don't think that it's ever been possible to obtain a license without having a "licensed premises" as contained in a block square on the face of every kind of FFL. You can't obtain even the 03 Curio & Relics "Collectors" license that way, nor could you. (this does not mean that you can't go find a guy selling guns from the trunk of his car in certain parts of any urban area :) ).

    So was the "Kitchen Table" just a figment of some president's imagination, or what?
     
  21. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    I was a Kitchen Table FFL and had mine in the 80's and 90's in 3 different states with multiple moves - I gave mine up after they raised the cost to (IIRC) $300/year from $10/year - wasn't doing that much to warrant that cost
     
  22. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    A C&R licensee does not have to have a business premises; the C&R license is not considered a business license and it is assumed that collection activities take place at the licensee's home.

    For a dealer/manufacturer license, BAFTE says (and is backed by the law) that it is a business license. BATFE does not say the business can't be in the licensee's home (I know some that are) but that state and local laws, including zoning laws, must be complied with. That usually, but not always, serves to prevent home gun dealing businesses.

    A C&R licensee does not have to have a business premises; the C&R license is not considered a business license and it is assumed that collection activities take place at the licensee's home.

    For a dealer/manufacturer license, BAFTE says (and is backed by the law) that it is a business license. BATFE does not say the business can't be in the licensee's home (I know some that are) but that state and local laws, including zoning laws, must be complied with. That usually, but not always, serves to prevent home gun dealing businesses.

    Duke of Doubt wrote, "Guns sales is the only business I can think of that cannot legally be run out of your home or car."

    Not true. Try to set up ANY business in an area not zoned for buisness use in any urban or suburban area. And most cities and counties prohibit "temporary" businesses, simply by requiring business licenses for fixed addresses. Maybe no problem in the middle of the AZ desert, but then there aren't many customers there, either.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  23. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    Be thankful you weren't manufacturing surfboards in California:

    http://www.surfermag.com/features/onlineexclusives/clarkfoamletter/

    Remember, things can always get worse. If this is how California treats this
    issue, imagine how bad it's going to get for guns?
     
  24. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    I don't believe it has ever been legal for a FFL to be "mobile". ATF regulations only allow for transactions at your licensed premises or at a gunshow. I know this because at my interview I asked my ATF Industry Operations agent if I could deliver firearms to my customers home and have them fill out the 4473 and do the NICS check from there. "No, otherwise we would have guys selling guns out of their car trunk all over the place." I didn't argue the point, but I as long as the Form 4473 and NICS check are complete I see no real reason not to allow "deliveries". But the regs do say ONLY at your licensed premises or at gun shows.

    Nonsense. I currently run my business from an apartment. My kitchen doesn't even have a table. It is not a full time job (I'm a teacher). You certainly can be open to the public "by appointment". I can easily name DOZENS of businesses that you can't run out of a home or car.

    Absolutely true.

    ATF is allowed to inspect your records, but they don't have carte blanche to rummage through your underwear drawer. In order to perform a search ATF would need a warrant.

    NOPE. There is an application & fee.

    Nope again. C&R is for Collectors of Curios & Relics, which limits the collector to firearms that are at least fifty years old or on the ATF C&R list. An 03FFL may ONLY use that license to purchase eligible firearms.

    An 01FFL is for gun dealers, an 02FFL is for pawnbrokers.

    What's stopping you? Fill out app for FFL, pay $200. Get license. Do a few transfers. Be happy.

    No, you're not.
    Non-FFL's do not have to keep a "bound book" to log their transactions.
    Non-FFL's are not required to use a Form 4473 when selling a firearm.
    Non-FFL's CANNOT use the FBI NICS check when selling a firearm
    Non-FFL's do not have their records & premises subject to inspection by ATF.

    If you are selling "a thousand" you better get an FFL. :scrutiny:

    There is no minimum number of firearm sales required the ATF. They only require that you be "engaged in the business".

    An 01FFL is $200 for the first three years, each three year renewal after that is $90. (That's less than $50 a year for the next six years)
     
  25. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Yeah, when I set up a sandblasting and powdercoating business in my high-rise studio apartment, there was no end to the individuals, businesses and government agencies who were pretty pissed off!
     
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