Live to Shoot - Defending our 2nd Amendment Rights

Being a Home Based FFL

October 15, 2022 Jeff Dowdle Episode 136
Show Notes Transcript

Well, welcome to the Live to Shoot podcast. My name is Jeff Dolan. I've been a licensed firearm dealer for the last 15 years, and this podcast we talk about all things related to tech Amendment, as well as my throwing a sports story or something going on in other areas of politics. So welcome, welcome, welcome. Hope everybody's having a great week so far and looking forward to the weekend. I appreciate y'all listening. So our thought I'd talk about a little, something a little different this time. I, like I said, I've been in Ffl for. 15 years. And when I first started, my intention was I was gonna have him break and mortar store. I had some great ideas, but in the meantime, I created an online store, started being anfl, buying, selling guns, and then I slowly transitioned away from that. And we might talk a little bit about that here in just a bit, but to now what I've really done just focused on the last 10 years as being an ffl based out of my home. and it's just facilitating internet transfers, being that ffl transfer that when you go to a GR gun broker, Or any other online re retailer. And you need, you buy a gun, you need it shipped someplace it comes, it comes to me. And to do that, I charge a nominal fee. $10 if you're licensed to carry holder, $15 if you're not. And I do that really, it's just a side hustle. Make a little extra cash. I get to meet a lot of nice people. I get to see a lot of cool guns, and I also am doing it so I can help. Make it the process of, of purchasing a farm a little bit easier for folks that might be intimidated by doing it online, making it affordable, not taking advantage of people and really helping to, you know, support and facilitate and promote the second Amendment. And that's what's important to me. So that's why I do that. But along the course of doing that, I get asked all the time, Is it hard to be a, to get your license to be an FFL out of your house? And. The answer to that is a little bit more nuance, and I thought I'd just talk a little bit about that and what it's like to be a home based ffl. So, just a little history, it used to be a long time ago you could buy a gun from Sears catalog and have it shipped to you at your house. No, no need to go through a gun dealer. Nothing like that. And then in 1938, they passed the Federal Farms Act, which enacted and created kind of the Ffl process and then, And created that, that position. And then in 1968 President Johnson came in and he had the cut and control act of 1968. What he wanted to originally do was ban register all handguns, but he also wanted to ban the, ordering a firearms through the mail, and then also the importation of certain firearms from other countries. From that point on, then you could no longer buy a gun. Online, have it shipped to yourself. It had to go the direct mail was now prohibited and you had to go through an ffl. It's a go between to, to do that. And so then it created different records and everything for FFLs to get their license. Then, you know, fast forward again to 1986 and we had the Firearm Owner's Protection Act and. One thing it did was had some plus pluses allowed FFLs to work out a gun. Shows prohibited the ATF from centralizing their records allowed for the sale. And ammunition without an ffl reduced the penalties of committing an offense as an ffl and some things like that. But the other thing it did was, Change the, the, the definition of. What an ffl had to be practicing to, to be in business, you had to be doing this as a business that you couldn't just be buying firearms to support your local hobby. And so they changed it from engaged in the business to include only those who devote time, attention, and labor of dealing in firearms is a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit. Through the repetitive purchase and refill of firearms. Really what they changed in 1986. Then you fast forward again to 1990s and the Bill Clinton timeframe and you know, Bill Clinton came in with gun control as being a major facet of his presidency. And so he came up with the assault weapon ban and the the Brady law. And one of the things he did in the Brady law was increase the fee from $10 a year. Now it's, it's $300 for every three years I believe is what the fee is. So raise the fee 10 times as much, but still not exorbitant. But then he also directed the ATF to start going and reviewing FFLs and determined whether or not they are truly engaged in a, as a, as a business and. They reviewed over 40% of the FFLs at the time were not engaged in the business, and so they started revoking licenses and from that point on, so there's a steep decline in Ffl licenses that went from about 250,000 FFLs in 1993 down to under a hundred thousand in 1997 and up to about 200, 2014. This is all the staff I have, right? There's about 50,000 ffl licenses in the United States. And so it had a, a, a big impact. But, and so for that reason, a lot of people believe that you cannot be an ffl out of your house. You cannot be what they call a kitchen table ffl. And that's just, that's not accurate. You can be an ffl out of your house if you're doing it as a business. The atf doesn't want you buying guns. For your own hobby, you have to be doing it as a business. So when I initially got my license 15 years ago and I had my inspection, the, the ATF agent that came to do the inspection prior to issuing the license, we spent an over, I thought they were gonna look at security and quiz me on what I knew about the loss. He, he primarily wanted to know how I was gonna make. To have a website, you know, business cards, how was I gonna promote it? Was it gonna go to gun shows? What, what was I gonna do? And so we talked through that entire process and you know, I have been now an FFL for 15 years. So the question is, can you be an ffl out of your home? The answer is yes. How do you do that? Well, there's some paperwork that you have to fill out and you have to get fingerprinted, and you have to have your picture taken and all of those types of things. And that's what you have to send to the atf. But they also require that you get approval or show that local business ordinances don't, doesn't prohibit it, that your local law enforcement won't prohibit it. And if you're in a homeowner's association, they don't prohibit you, not necessarily. Being an ffl, but doing business out of your home. And when people ask, you know, Can you get, I say, Yes. The, what I have heard, the biggest stumbling block for FFLs out their home is their homeowner's association. They won't approve it, and that's where things get sticky. They may have, you may have an ordinance in your, in your, the bylaw, in your covenant, in your homeowner's association that you can't do run a business out of your house. One of the things is you might be able to run a business, but you can't have foot traffic. Meaning you could do an online business and things like that, but you can't have people coming up to your door and things like that. So you could be an online ffl and just sell outta your bus outta out a store and outta your online store and ship things to you, but you couldn't have people coming in to pick 'em up directly from you. So anybody, any kinda local business might be prohibited. Those are the stumbling blocks. Is it a good, Is it something that you should do? Well, it really depends on what your motives are, and I will tell you one, it's very tough to make money in the gun. Business margins are very thin. You have to have a lot of capital. You have to be able to stock a lot of inventory. It is difficult to compete with these online retailers on price. If you're going to be an online and home based ffl and you plan on buying and selling guns, you have to. Probably my suggestion is find a niche, find something that's not being served well. You can't compete trying to sell Glocks. Impossible. You can't buy 'em cheap enough. You're not gonna be able to get enough to get priority access with the, the distributors, those types of things. It's just difficult. But if you can find a niche, and so I found my niche. I'm doing transfers, but again, I can't do transfers as my primary source of business. So it's, it's a side hustle. So, Being a Ffl out of your home. Can you? Yes. Good idea. Depends on what your goals are. Also you do have to be willing to deal with the ATF and to be on the ATF radar and, you know, as things are going along, that's one of the things that has me the most concerned, the way our our Department of Justice and are trying to come after. Gun owners and I, at some point I feel that, you know, they may start looking at FFLs. They, they've, they've tried to eliminate FFLs. They're trying to, but they, you know, they just don't have the manpower to go through and do 'em. I've been inspected, I've passed inspections, never had anything that really threatened my license, but I don't know. I could see things on the horizon changing especially if this regime stays in power. So can you be a ffl out of your home? Yes. Is it a good line of business? It's a difficult line of business, but you get to see a lot of people. You get to see a lot of guns, and if you are passionate about it, you can, you can. Utilize your passion and, and, and make some money at it. But there are a lot of hoops. You have to be willing to do paperwork. You have to pay attention to it because they're very particular. You have to have your eyes cross dotted and your ts crossed. The ATF doesn't really tolerate mistakes too well. So you have to be organized, you have to be diligent, you have to be willing to deal with people. And when you put your name out there, you know, I've had people just show up at my house, things like that. But you know, nothing ever too concerning. So, Yes, you can be an ffl your house. It's hard. It is a little harder to do these days. Do I encourage it? Don't know. Really depends on what your personal goals are. But anyway, I wanted to just share that bit of information. Just talk about something a little differently. If you have questions, feel free to contact me. Again, we're close to the elections. If you want, want to continue to protect your Second Amendment rights, we've gotta get the right people in there and get the wrong people out. We have to keep fighting for this in the show notes. We've got a list of of candidates that we need to be supporting. Go out there, support 'em, vote, Get people to vote. Do everything you can because this is a critical election period, and we have got to continue to protect our Second Amendment. Thank you and have a great.