Posted By FFL Dealer Network on 07/10/2018 in FFL Business

How to Get an FFL

How to Get an FFL

Anyone who wants to acquire a federal firearms license has only one place to do it, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, also called the BATF or ATF.

To answer the question “how do I get an FFL” several companies do business selling license application kits showing how to get a FFL license. The better kits even include advice and tips on getting through the FFL interview.

These kits contain a walk-through of the entire application. Going line by line, a person learns how to get an FFL by providing the answers the BATF agent is looking for.

Is a kit necessary? No. All the forms are available for free from the BATF website. The main page even tells people how to get an FFL license. Unlike most government websites, this one is written in mostly plain English. The actual form is a PDF download.


The first step to get a FFL license starts with deciding what kind of license the applicant wants. BATF has several different licenses, each of which has different privileges and restrictions. Pick a license from this list:

01 - Firearms dealer. This includes a license for shipping guns across state lines for gunsmithing work.

02 - Same as 01 except for pawnbrokers.

03 - Collector of Curio & Relics, also called Cruffler.

06 - Ammo manufacturing, except for armor-piercing. Selling guns is not allowed with this license.

07- Gun and ammo maker, except for armor-piercing ammo, destructive devices and full-auto. This includes all the buying and selling privileges under Type 01. This license combines a Type 01 and 06.

08 - Import guns and ammo, except for armor-piercing ammo, destructive devices and full-auto.

09 - Destructive devices dealer, does not include full-auto and other restricted weapons.

10 - Manufacturing destructive devices, ammo for them and armor-piercing ammo.

11 - Import license for everything covered under License 10.

BATF does not have a type 04 or 05 license.

Check the fees for each license. The license must be renewed every three years. Along with telling people how to get an FFL license, Rocket FFL explains how much each license costs. SOTs, explained below, are paid each year instead of every three years.


Buying and selling full-auto and restricted firearms requires a Special Occupational Tax (SOT) permit in addition to the regular license. All ATF licenses, except the 03, may have the SOT added. Download the SOT form here.  

Most people call the SOT a Class 3 permit because that is the one a Class 01 or Class 02 FFL holder gets. SOT can also be Class 1 for importers or Class 2 for manufacturers.


How to get an FFL includes getting permission from the local chief law enforcement officer. This person can be the sheriff or chief of police. The chief officer does not have to sign the application. However, the BATF will not allow someone trying to get an FFL to have the license without that signature.


With the paperwork done and permission secured, an applicant must be fingerprinted. This is best done by a law enforcement agency. The agency has the proper form for fingerprinting. The people doing the fingerprinting also know how to do it. Expect a small charge for this service.

BATF uses the fingerprint card as part of a background check on applicants. A photo of the application is also required.

Prints and a picture are not required for a Type 03.


Some states also require a state license to sell firearms. The state license alone is not enough to be a fully legal firearms dealer. It must be paired with the federal license.


Even a state and federal license may not be enough to actually open a gun shop. Most communities require a business license to run a store that sells guns. This local license may be firearms-specific, for sporting goods or a general business license.

BATF also requires property where the commercial license is held to meet local zoning codes for firearms sales. The Cruffler is not a commercial license so zoning does not matter.


With all the paperwork done, send it in. BATF will then decide if the license should be granted or not.

If approved, “will then send the applications to the nearest ATF field office having responsibility for the area in which the business is located. The field office supervisor will issue an assignment to an Industry Operations Investigator (IOI) who will conduct an in-person interview with you. The IOI will discuss Federal and State and local requirements with you, and go over your application with you to ensure the information is correct and current. The IOI will then prepare a report of his/her interview, the inspection and make a recommendation to either issue you the license or deny the application,” the federal agency says. A personal interview is not required for a Type 03 license.


Asking the BATF “how do I get an FFL” generally does not get an answer. If an answer does come, the person is directed to the agency’s website.

  1. How to Get an FFL
  2. Your FFL Transfer Fee
  3. Gun Wholesalers for FFL Dealers
  4. What Can You Do With an FFL?
  5. The FFL eZ Check System
  6. The NFA and Owning NFA Items
  7. Offline Firearms Marketing and Your FFL Business Plan
  8. Online Firearms Marketing and Your FFL Business Plan
  9. Pawn Shops and the Type 02 FFL
  10. FFL Responsibilities and Regulations
  11. BATF Will Approve Home Based FFLs
  12. Customer Service in Your FFL Business

What do you think about this post? Leave a comment below!

Show Phone Number
View Listing

Member since 06/21/2018

Contact This Member

Join Our Newsletter