Letter Re: Advice on Obtaining an FFL

Dear James,  
Thank you for all that you have done for millions of us who were once asleep and unprepared!   I had a question for you regarding obtaining a Federal Firearms License (FFL).  I am in the process of starting some home businesses as a backstop to my “office job.”  I have considered getting a FFL and Class 3 license to generate income from gun and ammo sales out of my home.  Is this advisable or does this make me too “high profile?”  I remember the movie Red Dawn!   Thanks and I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! – Mark in Florida

JWR Replies: I have some strong reservations about getting an FFL. The biggest advantage is of course that it gives you access to modern firearms at wholesale prices. But unfortunately there are several drawbacks. First and foremost, it raises your profile, both locally and with the BATFE. Secondarily, it also makes your business premises subject to government search under some circumstances. (The last time I checked, the ATF agents were more constrained in making searches if you operate a gun business out of your home.) You will also need to keep meticulous records and the records will become government property when you eventually go out of business.

My advice is to not get an FFL but instead to specialize in selling pre-1899 guns. Buying and selling these doesn’t require a license. Nor does selling ammunition (in most jurisdictions).