Type 03 FFLs

What is a 03 FFL - C&R License

FFLs or Federal Firearms License is not a single license but a collection of them. The special FFL is 03, which deals with the collector of curios and relic firearms for those people who are C&R holders. 

FFL 03 is for anyone who collects curios and relic firearms. The Federal Firearms license 03 defines “curio or relic (C&R) firearms as those 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.” – Quoted from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

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What is a Relic or Curio Firearm

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) uses three criteria to define what a C&R firearm is. Those include:

  1. Firearms that are at least 50 years old – meaning the gun itself must be 50 years and not a replica of a 50-year-old or older gun.
  2. The firearm must be recognized as a curio or relic by a curator at the state or federal museum
  3. The gun is special – Any firearm that is 50 years old or older and is rare or important will gain the majority of its value from the fact that it is rare or special.

Most people understand the 50-year rule. But under #2 and #3, there can be confusion. If you have a gun that you think is a curio or relic but is not listed as such, you can submit the gun to the ATF for review – The department that handles that process is The Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) and they will issue a formal classification.

There are other advantages and disadvantages of the 03 FFL. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Type 03 FFL


  1. You can buy and sell relics or curios through interstate commerce without additional hassles
  2. You can buy up to 30 firearms at one time.
  3. You can have ammo shipped to your home. 


  1. Restrictions under federal law by the NFA at the federal and state levels remain in force. So, not all antique guns fall under the curio and relic status even if they are a curio or relic. For the most part, these are historic guns that are also modern in the way they work, even if they are over 50 years old. Guns from WWII would be a large family of guns that may not fall within the 03 FFL
  2. As a 03 FFL, you cannot run a gun-selling business. The FFL for a licensed dealeris the 01 FFL and that carries a very different set of responsibilities. The 03 FFL is for collectors and their personal collection of firearms.  

If you want to have both a personal collection of C&R rifles and C&R handguns, you can do so under Type 03 FFL, but to own and run a gun selling and buying business, you will need a type 01 FFL or another FFL that fits your business model. 

03 FFL Requirements

The requirements to obtain a 03 FFL include filling out the same application as FFL applicants use for types 01 and 02, etc. You will also need to undergo a background check by the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC.) You may or may not be responsible for the firearm transfer fee. Some Type 03 purchases do not require an FFL.

The 03 FFL does not require an on-site inspection. Also, with the 03 FFL, you only need to fill out Part B for yourself, whereas, for type 01 FFL the entire board of directors and responsible parties for your business would need to each complete Part B.

The basic federal requirements are:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a US Citizen or legal permanent resident
  • Be legally permitted to possess firearms and ammunition (no felony convictions, no abuse of controlled substances, and no psychiatric issues that would disqualify you from owning a firearm)
  • Have a predetermined physical location for conducting your FFL activities
  • Have never violated the Gun Control Act or other firearms-based regulations
  • Fully and honestly fill out your FFL application and submit it appropriately to the United States Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
  • Pay all related fees related to your application (for a type 01, it’s $200 to apply and then $90 to renew every 3 years).

State and local requirements will vary depending on where exactly you are located. In general, expect to have to register your business with the state government and then get an additional license through the state after you get your federal license. 

You will also likely need permission from your local zoning board unless you’re in a very rural area. Typically, you will be unable to have a home-based FFL if you’re dealing with destructive devices or explosives, and the state or your local zoning board or fire marshal may require additional pre-licensing inspections. 

How to apply – You can download the FFL application form and fill it out. It must be mailed to the Post Office Box on the form. Be sure to include the form for Part B – Responsible Person. Part B is six pages long. The Application for FFL is 12 pages long. 

Once you have mailed in the application and Part B, the ATF will review it and initiate a comprehensive background check. If you pass the background check then the ATF will issue you a Type 03 FFL for a Licensed Collector. You do not need to undergo an on-site inspection or interview.  

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