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Question about FFLs

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Anthony, Oct 5, 2005.

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  1. Anthony

    Anthony Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    I've been looking at the BATF website and find an answer for a question that has been bugging me for the last week.

    Recently a fellow shooter suggested that I apply for the limited "Curio" FFL that allows you to get a discount on non-firearm shooting supplies although this was never the original purpose of this FFL.

    In the early 1990s it was not unheard of for many serious shooters to have their own full blown FFLs to take advantage of the discounts it offers. Sometime during the Clinton administration the rules to qualify for a full FFL changed and my understanding was that the new rules eliminated many of the inidividuals, hobbyists, and dealers who did business out of their homes and those who just had an FFL to take advantage of the discount. Recently I started looking around for an FFL holder to possibly perform future transfers for me and I noticed that quite a few of the individuals I found were working out of their homes.

    What confuses me is that if the ATF supposedly frowns upon such use of a full FFL why wouldn't they feel the same way about the "Curio" FFL.

    So what is the reality of the situation?

    Can one realistically obtain and keep a full FFL for themselves and a small group of shooters with the intent of using their home as the address of their business?

    Is this or was it ever frowned upon by the BATF?

    Is it more realistic to obtain the "Curio" FFL to get a discount on non-firearm shooting supplies?

    Thank you for any and all input.
     
  2. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    The C&R FFL is designed to allow a collector to purchase C&R Firearms (those over 50 years old and so designated) for their individual collections. Since it is not classified as a business license there is no real reason to object to widespread use of this license. The fact that many businesses give you a break on supplies is a "bennie". If you were a normal FFL, you would be buying such supplies in bulk from a distributor.
     
  3. Anthony

    Anthony Member

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    Thank you, Frosty.

    So if that's the case is it still possible to legally justify having a full FFL for limited use if you are not going to maintain a retail store, but work from your home and deal mostly with fellow shooters you already know?
     
  4. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    I'd like to think it is but that depends upon your state laws and the local BATFE office. You would be better off asking someone within your state that has actual knowledge of this subject.
     
  5. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    Short answer: ask BATFE and your own lawyer.

    Long answer: Generally, yes. An FFL is appropriate so long as you intend to buy and sell firearms as a "business." If it's just a hobby, or for personal use, you are not entitled to an FFL. You need to treat it like an actual business, though. You should have separate accounts and not commingle your personal firearms or money with your business property. You need to comply with any local and state laws and regulations regarding running a business (it may be illegal to run a business from your home where you live). You need any other necessary permits to run a business, etc. Nothing says you have to be engaged in the business full time, or do any particular amount of business, so long as it really is a business.
     
  6. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    Lastly, my friendly local FFL told me about another FFL he encountered at some BATFE briefing that dealers attended not to long ago. The other guy got into an argument with the BATFE guy (not a terribly intelligent thing to do, if you ask me) over business hours. The BATFE has the right to visit your place of BUSINESS at any time during your NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS to inspect your records. This means, according to the BATFE, that an FFL must have some regular business hours.

    Our hero at this seminar apparently argued that he worked out of his house by appointment only and did not have regular hours. The BATFE guy told him he has to have regular hours. The way my FFL related it, the "regular hours" can be Thursday evening from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m., but if those are the regular hours, you better be there and open for business when the BATFE shows up.

    I have since asked about this and an independent source confirmed it.
     
  7. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer Member

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    Anthony, here is what happened to me! I applied for and received my FFL in 1985. My specified purpose was for "gunsmithing", and I detailed on my application that I would only be doing repairs on firearms owned by LEO's (I was a full-time LEO, myself). I clearly specified that my "business" location would be my garage, and that it would NOT be open to the public and NOT have "regular" business hours. The "gunsmithing" FFL was a Class-1, which would also allow me to purchase/ sell/transfer firearms and other gun-related items.

    Back then, there were a LOT of "garage" FFL holders, but as the years passed, it was becoming obvious that the BATF would, eventually, start clamping down on the "little guys"....especially when several of those "little guy" FFL dealers were caught selling firearms illegally. My "business" was strictly legal, even though I did make purchases for close friends and, of course, myself.
    All of the firearm transactions that I did were 100% legal.

    In 1993, the BATF contacted me and said that they wanted to audit my "business". I wasn't able to be at home during the time/date that they wanted to conduct the audit, but they were really nice, allowing me to give them a time/date that would be to MY liking. That gave me the time to "dot the i's and cross the t's" on all of my FFL books. I had everything up-to-date, neatly arranged and in proper order for the auditor.

    The audit went "okay", except for a few minor discrepancies. The auditor explained that, since guns had become such a "hot topic" in the news, the BATF no longer limited their duties to only FEDERAL violations, and were required to report any STATE or LOCAL violations to the proper agencies. My violation was with LOCAL regulations, in that I had never applied for a business license and hadn't had an "EIR" (Environmental Impact Report) documented!
    My FEDERAL paperwork was 100% "up-to-snuff", but the auditor said that she would be required to report the local violations.

    The BATF auditor was actually VERY nice, and VERY informative! That may have been due to me being a LEO, and having all of the federal paperwork done properly. Anyway, she answered all of my questions and even clued me into a few things that were enough to make me consider surrendering my FFL.

    She made it clear that the "garage business" FFL dealers would, eventually, become a thing of the past. The fees for the FFL license would be increased, and more restrictions would be imposed.
    She told me that I would be required to submit schematic diagrams of my "business", along with all info related to my security/alarm system. None of those things were requirements for my original license! Add to that, she stated that "off-hour inspections" by the BATF would become commonplace, meaning that "surprise audits" would be done, instead of "scheduled" audit times for the FFL holder. I asked if that might mean a knock on my door at, say, 3:00 a.m., she said "Yes".

    While there IS somewhat of a difference between the "standard" Class-1 FFL and the "C&R" (Curio & Relic) FFL licenses, you need to realize that GUNS are involved....and the current trend within government is ANTI-gun. There has been a FLOOD of "C&R" FFL licenses granted over the past several years, and just because those licensees deal with "old" guns....they're still GUNS! Putting that into perspective, I know that a lot of our "representatives" in government THOUGHT that the "high capacity" magazines that the "evil" assault weapons use would either break or become useless after a few years. That is ONE of the reasons why the idiotic 1994 "ban" was imposed, limiting rifle and pistol magazines to only 10 rounds. The 10+ round magazines, in their "expertise", would die off like the dinosaurs.

    After surrendering my FFL, I still had to deal with the local government for the violations. At one point, I feared being PROSECUTED for those violations! I sent them documented PROOF that I was no longer in any sort of gun-related business, and they sent me a letter that, in essence, stated that I was "lucky" that they chose to not prosecute me. Since then, I have had NO inclination to try it again, even with a "C&R" FFL! I'd rather pay a little bit extra to the "big guys" in business, than to worry about the seemingly never-ending changes in the gun laws!
     
  8. artherd

    artherd member

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    Oh great, more lies and intimidation and threats from government agents. Too bad they only do this verbally for the most part. You should have asked her to put all this in writing.

    I'm sure she was very nice and polite while she systematically manipulated you into capitulation using erronious facts, threats and outright lies. (3am, riiiiight. Are you going to get mud on my living room floor too and slurp your tea?)

    As for your local issues, this is all your personal call of course, but I'd have gotten the lic and paid for an EIR and submitted them.

    "Feared" a "Possibility" of prosecution drove you? I've *been* prosecuted. I've accused the ADA of Prosecutorial Misconduct in pretrial hearings for even bringing us here, the judge has agreed and had the cases dismissed. (Not FFL related items, but other harasment by an agency that had not gotten the memo aparently.) You know the saying, they can Indict a Ham Sanwich right?
     
  9. SMMAssociates

    SMMAssociates Member

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    A good friend of mine is an FFL - full fledged dealership, storefront, staff, paperwork, mound of 4473's, etc.

    He was instructed to create a powder storage container for black powder, because he sells the stuff. He used BATF-approved (or specified) components, including a lock.

    Somewhere along the line, BATF showed up and did an inspection, and cited him for an improper black powder storage facility.

    He did lose the memo ordering that the locking mechanism be changed. From a "horizontal" hasp to a "vertical" one, or vice versa.... :fire:

    Cost him a few bucks....

    "We" should have the power in the legislature to deal with this agency.... :cuss:

    Sheesh....
     
  10. artherd

    artherd member

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    Disgusting.
     
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