The Law Dictionary

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How to Apply for an FFL (Federal Firearm License)

The application for a Federal Firearm License is constructed to cover a large array of various responsibilities and roles surrounding owning and supplying firearms and those things that make firearms usable.  This type of a license is not meant for the individual who wants to own a firearm.  It is meant for the business man who has a business that seeks to legally make, purchase, hold, and sell firearms, ammo, or other business considerations around firearms.  These various considerations are:

  • dealer of rifles, pistols, and shotguns or being a gunsmith
  • manufacturer of ammo or firearms
  • importer of ammo or firearms
  • dealer of destructive devices
  • manufacturer of destructive devices or ammo
  • importer of destructive devices or ammo

Each of the above is an area of licensing uniquely addressed by the Federal Firearm License and its application process. There are several things that must be in place before applying for this license:

  • the applicant must be 21 years old or older
  • the applicant must have no felony conviction with a sentence of one year or more
  • the applicant must not be under an indictment for a felony arrest
  • the applicant must not be a fugitive from justice
  • the applicant must not be an illegal alien
  • the applicant must not be an illegal user of any controlled substance
  • the applicant must not have a dishonorable discharge
  • the applicant must not have an adjudication as mentally unstable
  • the applicant must not have any conviction of domestic violence
  • the applicant must know the firearm laws of his or her state of residence and business

These rules are much the same but somewhat stricter than simply being a firearm owner.  To get an application go to the online site of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, also known as the ATF.  On the site find the options for forms, select the option for a license application, which is ATF F 5310.12, or Form 7.  Those who have experience with this activity say that it is very important to follow the instructions very carefully.  Follow the instructions that are for the 5310 series.  From that point the applicant can either call or order online from the available selections.  ATF will quickly send out the application kit to the address the applicant provides.  Once the application kit is received, fill out the application very carefully and completely.  It is recommended that no abbreviations be used and be very accurate.  This is very important.  The applicant will have to send two copies to the ATF, one copy to one’s local police department or sheriff’s office, and keep at least one copy for one’s self, but it also suggested to keep two copies on hand.  The applicant will also have to get a passport photo, which is the 2-inch by 2-inch size.  When the application is given to the local law enforcement, they will have to fill out and get fingerprints for the applicant on to the fingerprint card that the applicant will have to sign along with the printing officer.  Send the two copies required to the ATF along with a check or money order to cover the licensing fee for the license the applicant is filing.  Very shortly an ATF agent will be contacting the applicant to start the licensing process.


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