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How to Get a Gun License

If you're starting a business that sells firearms, you'll need to know how to get a federal firearms license as well as state and local permits.


  • Step 1: Go to the ATF website Go to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms -- or ATF -- website and read the Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide.
  • TIP: Read the Gun Control Act of 1968. It established federal licensing standards for firearms businesses including dealers.
  • Step 2: Know firearms licensee requirements Know firearms licensee requirements. Firearms dealers must be at least 21 years old, have premises for conducting business, and must be compliant with state and local laws where the premises is located.
  • Step 3: Order an FFL application packet Order a federal firearms license, or FFL, packet from the ATF's Distribution Center Order Form page or by calling the Distribution Center.
  • Step 4: Assemble all packet materials Assemble all packet materials: ATF Form 7, Certificate of Compliance, two fingerprint ID cards, two photos for each responsible party, and the application fee.
  • TIP: Firearms dealer applicants will pay a Class 3 federal license application fee, which is $200 for three years.
  • Step 5: Send the completed application packet Send the completed application packet to the Federal Firearms Licensing Center. An ATF field officer will then conduct an in-person interview.
  • TIP: FFL license approval typically occurs within a 60-day period after the application is received by the Licensing Center.
  • Step 6: Send the special occupation tax fee Send the special occupation tax fee with the Special Tax Registration and Return form to the ATF. You'll then be issued a tax stamp, which is an annual tax.
  • Step 7: Contact your ATF field office Contact your ATF field office. Ask about specific state firearms licensing laws. California, Pennsylvania, New York, and Indiana have their own licensing systems.
  • FACT: In 2008, Guinness World Records acknowledged the SwissMiniGun as the world's smallest working revolver at less than 2.2 inches long.

You Will Need

  • FFL application packet
  • ATF Form 7
  • Certificate of Compliance
  • Fingerprint ID cards
  • Photos
  • Interview
  • Special Tax Registration and Return form
  • ATF field office

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