Gun ranges, in most cases, are not licensed by the states, but by the counties in which they are located. However, if certain guns are allowed to be used, a federal license might be needed. If you are planning to open a gun range in an area, check with local law enforcement to see whether you will need to take any special classes to operate that type of business. Once you meet your personal requirements, you can start the business opening process.
If you will allow the use and practice of automatic firearms, you must obtain a federal firearms license. Obtain this license by contacting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at 301-583-4696. Once it is sent to you, fill out the application and mail it back with two sets of fingerprint cards, two passport photos and the application fee. The possible fees range from $30 to $3,000 depending on what you plan on using or selling at your range.
Contact your county's zoning department to determine where gun ranges can be located. You will need property approved for this type of business, or you will not be able to obtain a license. If finding the right property is a problem, petition your local zoning board for either an ordinance change or waiver.
Contact the business licensing department for your county and municipality. This could be the tax office, county clerk or a business development center if it is a large city. States do not license firing ranges; it generally is a matter left to individual counties and towns.
Request and complete a license application to operate a gun range. Business applications vary by city or county, but basic information required includes name, business address, contact information, and a description of the business operation. You might also need to provide proof of a license to carry a firearm if your state or county requires it.
Contact your insurance agent to obtain liability insurance to cover the business and any potential harm that could come to a customer. Check with the licensing department to find out how much insurance is required to operate a gun range.
Return the application to the licensing office along with identification, proof of insurance and payment. A fee usually is associated with a business license and is based on the type of business and varies for different counties and towns. Wait for your license to be approved; this could take several weeks.
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