FFL Meaning: What is it?

A Federal Firearms License (FFL) is a license given by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that allows individuals to do business involving the manufacturing, importation, and interstate/intrastate sales of firearms and ammunition. Since the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968, having an FFL has been a legal requirement in the United States, as governed by Title 27, Part 478 of the Code of Federal Regulations (27 CFR 478).

The FFL is for businesses that trade in weapons and ammunition, as well as those that collect, manufacture, and import them. On the license given to the firm, each employee that has the authority and power to direct firearm compliance decisions and operations for an FFL must be designated as a responsible person.

Businesses must use the Federal Firearms Licensing Center to apply to the ATF (FFLC). The FFLC thoroughly examines the application and any accompanying documentation, such as fingerprint cards and pictures. If the application is approved, the next step is that an IOI (Industry Operations Investigator) from the nearest ATF office will conduct an in-person interview with the applicant to confirm that all federal, state, and local licensing requirements are satisfied. The FFLC then completes the application process and awards a license, once the IOI submits a report authorizing the candidate.

Why do You Need an FFL?

A Federal Weapons License is required for everyone who imports, manufactures, or deals in firearms, as well as those who import or manufacture ammunition (FFL).

The license is for anyone who “engages in the business” as defined by federal law. The license is not for anyone who wants to add to their own collection or ship weapons over state lines.

Although there is considerable ambiguity as to what “involved in the business” entails, individuals or businesses who get money or other remuneration because of the sale or brokering of weapons should carefully consider whether they need to be licensed before proceeding.

It’s important to know that an ATF violation can result in administrative action, the loss of your business and be a crime punishable with a fine with jail time, as well as forfeiture of any firearms implicated in the crime.

Who Needs an FFL?

If you want to purchase, sell, manufacture, or import firearms, you’ll need an FFL.

The phrase “involved in business” is crucial, although it does not imply that a firm or organization is necessary. Individuals do not need to own a business in order to qualify for an FFL to engage in the firearms business. For example, if you sell firearms at a tradeshow, flea market or something similar, you need an FFL.

However, to purchase or sell personal firearms, you do not need an FFL. You also don’t need an FFL to create your own guns. But you will need an FFL if you acquire or create a firearm with the intention of selling it. Examples of FFL types include:

  • Manufacturers
  • Retailers
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Distributors
  • Importers

How to Get an FFL

Once you’ve decided to apply for a Federal Firearms License (often referred to as an “FFL”), mail the application form, Application for License (FFL) – ATF Form 7/7CR, to the ATF post office box provided. The application fee, which can be paid by cheque, credit card, or money order, must be submitted with the application (cash is not accepted).

Background Check

The Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC) will put your application information into its database and begin a comprehensive evaluation of your application after the application fee has been received. Required supporting documentation, such as fingerprint card(s) and photograph(s), will be evaluated for all licensing categories except type 3.

The FFLC will next perform a computerized background check on all the Responsible Persons you have included on your application, as required by law. A Responsible Person (RP) is defined by the ATF as a sole proprietor, partner, or anybody with the authority to supervise the administration, policies, and practices of a firearms-related company or activity. Corporate officials, stockholders, board members, and any other employee with the legal power stated above fall under this category in a corporation. Each responsible person must complete their own ATF Form 7/7CR Part B – Responsible Person Questionnaire.

The FFLC will then transmit the applications to the nearest ATF field office with authority for the area where the company is situated, except for type 03 (onsite inspections are not necessary for Collector of Curio and Relics FFLs).

Final Evaluation and Interview

An Industry Operations Investigator (IOI) will be assigned by the field office supervisor to conduct an in-person interview with you. The IOI will go through your application with you to confirm that all the information is valid and up to date, as well as discuss federal, state, and local regulations.

The IOI will then write a report based on his or her interview and inspection findings and make a recommendation to either grant or refuse your application. Failure to comply with state or municipal legislation (such as zoning restrictions), proof of past willful breaches of the Gun Control Act, or fabrication of the application are all possible causes for refusal.

The report will be reviewed by the field office supervisor, who will subsequently make a recommendation to the FFLC.

The FFLC will finish the application processing and grant you the license assuming all background checks have been completed and your business address and anticipated business operations are in accordance with state and local law. From the time a fully completed application is received, the procedure will take around 60 days.

How Does FastBound Help With FFLs?

FastBound supports businesses with industry-leading software to exceed compliance requirements by the ATF. FastBound includes an attorney-backed ATF compliance guarantee, which no other ATF compliance software vendor does. Firearms compliance experts and attorneys are retained during the design and development of all FastBound software.

1. Bound Books

FastBound’s Electronic Acquisition and Disposition records allow users to manufacture an infinite number of bound books for the purposes of firearms consignment, transfer, gunsmithing, NFA, pawn, and more at no additional cost.

2. Electronic 4473

Electronic 4473 (E4473) can provide a completely digital solution. With digital storage, there’s no need to print, sign, and store hard copies of paperwork for decades when using E4473. There is no need for faxing, scanning, or mailing. Everything is in one convenient location. FastBound’s E4473 converts any computer device, tablet, or even the buyer’s smartphone, into a compliant 4473 that supports digital signatures and requires no transaction fees or specific hardware.

3. eZ Check Integration

One of the most valuable integrations included with FastBound compliance software is the eZ Check integration. This integration swiftly and seamlessly verifies the FFL number, without errors. Viewing any contact in the FastBound software interface allows the user to verify the FFL almost instantaneously. Furthermore, new contacts can be added simply by entering the FFL number. The rest of the details are auto-filled from the eZ Check database. Finally, if a user enters an incorrect FFL number that is expired, the FastBound software will suggest the non-expired FFL number.

4. Automated ATF Form 3310

One of the most common reasons for revocations is incorrectly reporting multiple sales. The ATF Form 3310 is for the report of multiple sales or dispositions of handguns. FastBound was the first in the industry to automate the filing of Form 3310. This feature is included with FastBound software at no additional charge and is the most compliant multiple sales reporting software available.

5. Attorney-Backed Legal Defense

As it stands, FastBound is the only FFL compliance software company to provide guaranteed, attorney-backed legal defense. This comes into play when or if there is a violation of the ATF. If a user incurs a violation from an ATF inspection, there is a streamlined and well-planned process that guarantees legal defense for the user. The attorney-backed legal defense is offered via FFLGuard, a partner of FastBound.

6. Support

FastBound provides live phone and chat support with an average response time of fewer than five minutes. The company also provides self-help documents and virtual software tours that can be accessed 24/7.

7. Open API and Integrations

FastBound integration helps programs to share data, transfer information, and develop processes more quickly, allowing them to get more done. Because of our open API and expanding number of connectors, your POS, e-commerce, or ERP software can evolve, but your gun compliance software won’t.

8. No Contracts

FastBound plans are affordable and paid on a monthly basis, with no contract commitment required. Users can cancel, upgrade or downgrade at any time.

FastBound is committed to keeping its software users in full compliance with ATF laws, state laws, and local laws. The software is built with layers of safeguards in place to ensure that transactions are error-free and in compliance 100% of the time. For more information about FFLs and FastBound, please contact us today.

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