The processing of the ffl license application is administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assuming you meet the ffl requirements, the application is filed on ATF Form 7. There are presently eleven types of federal firearms licence available for issue. Licenses are valid for three years, and are non-transferable.
Federal Firearms Licence Types
|Type 1||Title 1 dealer or gunsmith other than destructive devices. Can also deal in Title II NFA firearms with class 3 tax stamp.|
|Type 2||Title 1 dealer doing business as a pawnbroker|
|Type 3||Licensed collector of Curio & Relic (C&R) firearms|
|Type 6||Licensed manufacturer of ammunition and reloading components other than Armor Piercing ammunition|
|Type 7||Title 1 manufacturer of firearms, who can also act as dealer, other than Destructive Devices, ammunition and ammunition components other than Armor Piercing ammunition. Can also manufacturer & deal in Title II NFA firearms with class 2 tax stamp.|
|Type 8||Importer of Title 1 firearms and ammunition. Can also import Title II NFA firearms with class 1 tax stamp.|
|Type 9||Dealer in Title 1 firearms including NFA destructive devices, Requires payment as an SOT Class 1 (can act as an NFA Dealer) and registration with the US Dept. of State as a Broker under ITAR/D-TRADE. To deal/broker any DD with an explosives content (i.e. Flash-Bangs), requires an additional FFL; Dealer of High Explosives|
|Type 10||Manufacturer of Title 1 firearms, ammunition and ammunition components, manufacturer of NFA Destructive Devices, ammunition for Destructive Devices and Armor Piercing ammunition (can act as a dealer). Requires payment as an SOT Class 2 (can act as an NFA Dealer) and registration with the US Dept. of State as a Manufacturer under ITAR/D-TRADE. To manufacture any DD with an explosives content (i.e. Flash-Bangs), requires an additional FFL; Type 20 Manufacturer of High Explosives.|
|Type 11||Importer of Title 1 firearms, ammunition and NFA Destructive Devices, ammunition for Destructive Devices and Armor Piercing ammunition. Requires payment as an SOT Class 1 and registration with the US Dept. of State as a Broker under ITAR/D-TRADE. To import any DD with an explosives content (i.e. Flash-Bangs), requires an additional FFL; Importer of High Explosives.|
Obviously, for those interested in how to get their FFL license for personal use, the only types that apply are Type 1, 2, & 3. Luckily, the ffl requirements for those types are less onerous than the others.
The third type, type 3, is a special type of FFL available to collectors of curio or relic (C&R) firearms. C&R firearms are defined 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." There is a special application process for C&R firearms.
To be recognized by ATF as a C&R firearm, a firearm must fall into at least one of the following three categories:
Firearms which were manufactured more than 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof;
Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and
Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event. Proof of qualification of a particular firearm under this category may be established by evidence of present value and evidence that like firearms are not available except as collector's items, or that the value of like firearms available in ordinary commercial channels is substantially less.
Once again, I know that sounds complicated but, trust me, it's really not that difficult, especially if you have someone that can walk you through the process and make sure you meet the ffl requirements. Luckily, there are several inexpensive kits on the market that provide simple, step-by-step instructions to guide you through the Federal Firearms License Application and even provide guidance on the type of license you need. I've shown a picture of the Federal Firearms Application kit that we like the best in the Recommended Resource box on the upper right of this site, and have provided a link HERE as well. Please feel free to check them out.