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The Federal Firearms Act of 1968 placed limits on the sale, purchase and distribution of firearms in the United States. Before the passage of this act, individuals could acquire guns from mail-order dealers. Perhaps most notably, Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly purchased a rifle and pistol in this manner. Individuals who want to sell or collect guns must now apply for a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). The ATF offers a Curio and Relics FFL for U.S. citizens who wish to purchase firearms that are more than 50 years old via interstate commerce.
Meet the ATF’s standards of eligibility for acquiring a Curio and Relics FFL. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien, over the age of 21 and cannot have been convicted of a crime that carries a sentence of greater than one year’s imprisonment.
Purchase or rent a residence or place of business that meets your state’s specifications for conducting firearms sales or purchases. The ATF will assign the FFL to a business; the place of business can be a private home, but it must conform to your state’s regulations, where applicable.
Navigate to the ATF's website and download Form 7, the “Application for Federal Firearms License (Collector of Curios and Relics)" a "Certification of Compliance with 18 U.S.C 922(g)(5)(B)” form and a set of fingerprint cards. Alternatively, you can call the ATF or mail them to request an application for a Curio's and Relics FFL. If you call or mail in a request for an application, the ATF will then mail you Form 7, the “Application for Federal Firearms License (Collector of Curios and Relics)" a "Certification of Compliance with 18 U.S.C 922(g)(5)(B)” form and a set of fingerprint cards.
Fill out the ""Certification of Compliance with 18 U.S.C 922(g)(5)(B)" form to verify your status as a U.S. citizen or resident alien. Enter your name, citizenship status or alien number; if you are a non-resident alien, complete the applicable section. Sign and date this document.
Enter your name and residence or place of business location in sections 1-7 on Form 7, the “Application for Federal Firearms License (Collector of Curios and Relics).” Enter your payment information for the license fee in Section 8. If you do not wish to pay by credit card, write a check payable to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Fill out Section 9 by entering the employment information of everyone who will be employed at the business applying for the FFL.
Complete Section 10 if you are a non-immigrant alien. Only a few cases meet the non-immigrant alien regulations for receiving an FFL. For instance, if you are the citizen of another nation and are employed in the U.S. at your native country’s embassy or consulate.
Complete Sections 11 to 13 for all the individuals listed in Section 9. Verify the FFL history, criminal backgrounds, armed services history, narcotics habits, fugitive status, mental health, military discharge record, citizenship and age of all these individuals.
Complete Section 14 and then sign and date Section 15 of both applications. Mail a completed copy of the “Application for Federal Firearms License (Collector of Curios and Relics)” to the sheriff’s office or chiefl law enforcement officer of the county in which your place of business is located.
Obtain a set of fingerprints and a photo from your county sheriff’s or chief law enforcement officer. Take the fingerprints cards to the sheriff or chief law enforcement officer so that this official can take your fingerprints on this card. Make sure to fill out the cards and have the official who took the prints sign and date the cards.
Mail the set of fingerprints, your photo and the completed Application and Certification of Compliance to the ATF at the following address: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives P.O. Box 409567 Atlanta, GA 30384-9567
Make sure to include the check if you are not paying by credit card.
Schedule the one-on-one interview with a representative from the ATF when contacted. The ATF will process your application within 60 days; part of the application process requires an ATF agent to meet with you at your place of business to review your application. Meet with the ATF agent at the scheduled time and go over the application with the agent.
- Surplus Rifle: FFL 03 Curios and Relics: A Primer
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms: How to Become a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL)
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms: Open Letter to All Federally Licensed Collectors of Curio or Relic Firearms
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms: ATF F 5310.12 (Form 7) Instructions
- AARC Library: Warren Report: Chapter 4
Since 2005, James Rutter has worked as a freelance journalist for print and Internet publications, including the “News of Delaware County,” “Main Line Times” and Broad Street Review. As a former chemist, college professor and competitive weightlifter, he writes about science, education and exercise. Rutter earned a B.A. in philosophy and biology from Albright College and studied philosophy and cognitive science at Temple University.