How to Apply for a Federal Curios and Relics Gun Collector's License

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With regard to firearms curios and relics are legally defined as firearms which are of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons. To be recognized as curios or relics, firearms must fall within one of the following categories: (a) Firearms which were manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof; (b) Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, state, or federal museum that exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and (c) Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event. Proof of qualification of a particular firearm under this category may be established by evidence of present value and evidence that like firearms are not available except as collector's items, or that the value of like firearms available in ordinary commercial channels is substantially less.The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) controls the issuance of federal licenses pertaining to the sale and transfer of firearms. A collector of curios or relics may obtain a Collector's License, designated a Federal Firearms License (FFL) 03 C&R, and may acquire eligible curio & relic firearms via interstate commerce (across state lines), may transfer eligible firearms between licensed people, and order eligible firearms through the mail and common carriers.The FFL 03 C&R license IS NOT a dealer’s license and the holder of a FFL 03 C&R license IS NOT authorized to engage in business as a dealer of ANY firearms.

Items you will need

  • Access to a computer with an Internet connection

  • Time to read the requirements and restriction of a FFL 03 C&R license holder

  • Time to complete the application process

  • Thirty dollars for the application fee

Visit the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) Web sites provided in the resources section and familiarize yourself with the requirements and restrictions associated with obtaining and holding the FFL 03 C&R license. Familiarize yourself with the definition of a C&R firearm and read the BATF list of specific firearms considered eligible.

Ensure that you meet the minimum requirements for holding the C&R license. These requirements are:• You must be 21 years or more of age; • You cannot be prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition (that is, you have not been convicted of a felony, you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or you have special dispensation); • You have not willfully violated the Gun Control Act or its regulations; • You have not willfully failed to disclose material information or willfully made false statements concerning material facts in connection with his applicationIf you do not meet these requirements there is no need to continue.

Request the application form from the BATF Distribution Center. At the moment there are two ways to request the form, via the Internet or by phone. To request via the Internet go to the Distribution Center Web page (the page is sometimes slow to load so be patient). On the left side of the screen fill in the required customer information in part I. On the right side of the screen in the blue area, scroll down to find form F 7CR (5310.16) - Application for License (Collector of Curios and Relics) Under 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, Firearms. Click the button next to the form name. In the section on the top right side of the page click the “Add” button next to “step 3.” The name of the form should be in the first “order item box” on the left side of the screen under part II. Fill in the quantity (one should do), look over your information and if everything is correct click “Submit” under part III.To request the form by phone, call (703) 455-7801 and request a Form 7CR, Curio or Relic application kit.You should have the form within two weeks using either method.

When you receive the application package there will be two forms. The first form will be returned to the BATF with your payment to the address printed on the form, and the second will be sent to the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in your area. To determine who your CLEO is decide who would respond if a crime were committed at your location and the police were called. Forms 1 and 2 are nearly identical with one exception. Form 1 has a section where you can provide credit card information to pay for the license fee, while form 2 has this section blanked out.

Fill out the forms completely. Give your full name and full addresses, use no abbreviations and give complete answers providing all the information asked for. In sections 11, 12 and 13 depending on your answers you may have to attach a separate sheet providing explanations and additional information. In section 14 be sure to initial each of the boxes. You’re agreeing that you will follow your local laws, be sure that you do. Sending form 2 to your CLEO satisfies the agreement to contact him but you must provide the name and address of the person (the CLEO) to whom you send form 2.Don’t forget to sign and date the forms.

Check and recheck to ensure that you completed the forms correctly and completely, and make front and back copies of everything.

Mail form 1 with your payment of $30 or your credit card information to the BATF at the address provided on the form.At the same time mail form 2 to the CLEO that you earlier identified. You do not have to wait for any further action or communication from the CLEO.

If everything is in order you should have your license within six to eight weeks.

When you receive your license you will get one original copy with a blank space for your signature. Do not sign the original. Make a stack of high quality copies, then put the original away in a safe, secure place. When you make purchases you will have to supply a copy of your license signed in ink to the vendor. Generally the vendor will keep the signed copy on file for any future business that you do with them. Use the copies that you made for this purpose.

There are many forums and information sources on the Internet that can provide you with lists of dealers and vendors who sell C&R firearms and related items. You can contact these merchants and ask to have your license put on file and be added to their mailing lists. You’ll then receive catalogues and sales fliers from them on a regular basis. In addition to this many firearms related merchants offer discounts to C&R license holders.

You are required to keep a “bound book” to record your purchases and sales or transfers of C&R firearms. The book can actually be bound like a ledger-type book or could be a loose leaf sheet kept organized and “bound” in a three-ring binder. There is specific information required, and the format can be readily found on the Internet. Pre-printed books can be purchased but many people format their own page with the required information using a computer spreadsheet or word processing program.

Enjoy your collecting.

Prepare to repeat the process in three years when the license expires and has to be renewed. BATF will contact you in advance of your expiration date.


  • Nothing in this article is to be construed in anyway as legal advice.
  • Remember, the FFL 03 C&R license is not a dealer’s license.
  • Buying and selling firearms not eligible for C&R status is not covered under the FFL 03 C&R license and is subject to all federal, state and locals firearms laws applicable to any unlicensed entity.
  • Following these instructions does not guarantee that BATF will approve your application or issue a license.


  • You are responsible for keeping the law. Be informed. Read the regulations governing your license as well as your state and local firearms laws. When in doubt don’t proceed unless you have a ruling from BATF, law enforcement, or knowledgeable legal counsel.
  • Be sure to refer to the eligible C&R firearms list published and updated by BATF.
  • After receiving your forms and before filling them out, make copies to practice on, then copy your answers to the original.
  • The license is only good for the address provided on the application and where vendors will be shipping firearms to. If you move or otherwise have a change of address you must file form 5300.38 Application for an Amended Federal Firearms License to change the address.
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