Federal Firearms License Basics

ATF LogoIf you have tried to purchase a firearm, you have probably been told that you need to have an “FFL” or use a company or a person who is an “FFL” holder. But have you thought about what an “FFL” really is? This article will help you to better understand what this term means.

FFL stands for Federal Firearms License. This license allows a person or a company to sell and or manufacture ammunition and firearms. Since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968, an FFL license has been required for any interstate firearm transfers. This was put into place to try to regulate the industry of firearms, by allowing only licensed people or businesses to complete gun transfers. Additionally, anyone who earns a living by buying, selling or repairing guns must have an FFL. This includes those who are serious collectors of relics, dealers, pawnbrokers and more.

If you are interested in obtaining an FFL, you must apply with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. There will also be different fees associated with your application, depending on what your intentions are. These fees also vary depending on the state you are and firearms you choose to handle. You will also need to send in additional information including a set of your fingerprints and photographs. Once the ATF Bureau receives the requested items, they will begin conducting an invasive background check on you.

If everything comes back clear on your fingerprints, photographs and background check the process is taken a step further. The ATF Bureau will have an investigator visit with you. During this interview process your application will be discussed in-depth for accuracy. Also during this time you will discuss both State and Federal policies regarding policies and procedures. Once the interview is complete, the investigator will make their recommendation as to approve or deny your application. The entire process will take approximately 60 days, assuming you have all of your information in order.

Please keep in mind, the steps listed above are just the basics for applying for your FFL. Many different factors will come into play depending on what you plan to do with your FFL as well as your state laws. Also, the steps listed in this process are only for those who live in the United States. Other countries will have different regulations for their FFLs.

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