Gone Outdoors

How to Get a Class 3 Federal Firearms License

by Andy Pasquesi

Under the National Firearms Act (NFA), weapons known as Title II firearms must be taxed and their manufacture and sale must be registered and closely monitored. These weapons include machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, silencers, destructive devices (grenades, bombs, poison gas) and various easily concealed guns. In order to deal or make them, you need a Federal Firearms License (FFL) with a Class 3 Special Occupational Tax (SOT) distinction. Obtaining a Class 3 FFL can require a big initial investment, but the application process is relatively straightforward.

Making Local Arrangements

Buy or lease a building zoned for commercial use. Consult with an attorney to make sure that state and local laws allow you to operate a Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) business at the location.

Buy a gun safe or lockbox large enough to fit all the firearms you plan to sell. On the windows, install either stationary metal bars or a track based sliding, lockable, metal barricade. Buy trigger locks for all the firearms. Install an electronic security system in your place of business (including burglar alarms and closed-circuit television cameras).

Visit the headquarters of the police jurisdiction your place of business falls under. Explain that you'd like to submit an official notice of your intention to apply for a Federal Firearms License (FFL). This office should give you a form to fill out.

Apply For A Class 3 Federal Firearms License (FFL)

Go online to: www.atf.gov/dcof/index.htm. Scroll through the list of forms on the right and check the box labeled: "ATF Form 7(5310.12) - Federal Firearms License Application Packet"

Click "Go To Checkout." Using a credit card or PayPal account, pay the fee and order the application packet.

Once you receive the packet, fill out the paperwork. You will also need passport-style photos of yourself, available at any postal service office, and fingerprint records. For fingerprints, take the special fingerprinting sheet included in the packet to your local police department, where a trained officer will help you do it properly.

Get a certified check for $200 (either from a bank or currency exchange). However, if you plan to sell armor-piercing ammunition or "destructive devices" (such as grenades, bombs, poison gas or guns with a caliber over .50), the check must be for $3,000.

Mail the ATF Form 7 paperwork, photos, check and fingerprint records to your regional Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) office. Be sure to use certified mail--you don't want all your time and money to get lost. If after 60 days the BATFE has neither approved nor denied you application, call them at 404-417-2750.

Items you will need
  • Closed-circuit TV cameras
  • Trigger locks
  • Gun safe
  • Passport photos
  • Computer
  • Credit card
  • Commercial property
  • A clean criminal record (no felonies)
  • Be 21 or older

Warning

  • Do not start buying, storing or selling firearms/ammunition until you have the official letter of approval in hand. Besides buying/leasing property and getting security gear, any other of the above transactions prior to approval are illegal. If you get approved for a Class 3 FFL and the BATFE learns that you bought or sold a gun while your application was still being processed, you'll lose your license and get slapped with a nasty fine.

About the Author

A Chicago-based copywriter, Andy Pasquesi has extensive experience writing for automotive (BMW, MINI Cooper, Harley-Davidson), financial services (Ivy Funds, William Blair, T. Rowe Price, CME Group), healthcare (Abbott) and consumer goods (Sony, Motorola, Knoll) clients. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Harvard University but does not care for the Oxford comma.

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