Getting A FFL From Home
People ask me all the time “Can I get an FFL from my house?” As with most things, the answer is…it depends. Getting Federal Firearms License (FFL) is essentially no different than getting a FFL at a commercial business location. In fact it may be easier to get a home FFL than an FFL at a commercial location. In some states, and especially in rural areas, getting a FFL from home is usually less difficult that getting a FFL in a commercially zoned area.
States and local governments have traditionally been more stringent with respect to firearms regulation than the federal government. The federal law is relatively liberal with respect to who can possess a federal firearms license.
The requirements are very straight forward, and the Gun Control Act is written in such a way that protects the average person’s ability to engage in the firearms business.
State and local jurisdictions have incorporated laws and ordinances specifically related to firearms, but FFL applicants should concern themselves with FFL zoning and occupational licensing requirements in general.
Local governments, city and county, will have ordinances in place regulating business within their jurisdictions. These ordinances, though not specific to firearms, regulate any business, including firearms.
The federal law requires FFLs to be in compliance with all state and local law.
If the ATF investigation into your license application shows that you are not in compliance, or do not have the ability to comply within a specified time, your application will likely be denied or you may have to withdraw.
How Do I Get A FFL From Home?
Any person interested in getting a FFL from home should follow the same steps as if they were getting a FFL at business location. You should keep in mind that the federal firearms license is intended for persons who need to engage in the firearms business.
It is a license for a business venture, not a hobby or to enhance a of personal collection of firearms.
That said, the criteria for making a determination as to whether one is “engaged in the business” is nebulous at best and confusing at worst.
Again, the language of the law is extremely ambiguous and leaves lots of room for interpretation. You can look at the language for yourself in this article: Getting An FFL.
For example, a FFL sells one firearm per year; this particular firearm is a high end piece of handmade engineering that provides “livelihood and profit” for the dealer or manufacturer.
The dealer or manufacturer spends all year designing, making and selling this one firearm. Is this person engaged in the firearms business? It’s likely that the common person would say this person is engaged in the firearms business as either a manufacturer, a dealer or both.
Granted, this is a rare scenario but it goes to the heart of the language in the law. The bottom line for home FFLs is that they should understand the license is intended for persons to engage in the firearms business, and for no other purpose.
Are There Special Requirements For Home FFLs
Requirements for FFLs are the same for home or commercially located FFLs.
The Gun Control Act (GCA) and the regulations under the GCA; Title 27 Code Of Federal Regulations apply to all persons who are licensed under the law.
Depending on your firearms activity, different sections of the regulations will apply, but in general, as a “Home FFL”, you should be concerned with 27 CFR Part 478; and Part 479 if you deal in firearms under the National Firearms Act (NFA).