The short answer to this question is yes. An FFL holder can buy a gun anywhere in the United States. However, as with anything that involves the Federal government and firearms, there are some caveats. Nothing is ever black and white, rather, more a shade of gray.
Don’t worry, though! We’ll go over the ways you can buy guns with your FFL and what you must do in order to stay within the confines of the law. Sure, there are some nuances here and there, but it’s really not hard to figure it out and it certainly shouldn’t deter you from getting your FFL!
All 50 States
Gun laws vary from state to state, which can make buying and selling guns as a private person somewhat confusing. What’s permitted in your home state may be forbidden on the other side of the country – or even in a neighboring state – thereby adding extra hoops to jump through in order to complete the transaction.
Despite the wide variety of state laws, one commonality among them all is that each state must adhere to all applicable Federal laws. Since an FFL is a Federal license, it lets each state know that you’ve been cleared by Uncle Sam and they trust you to do business with firearms anywhere in the United States. This means that having your FFL allows you to more easily navigate the patchwork of laws in our 50 states. That alone is worth the price of the FFL.
Gun Shows and Shops
You never know what might turn up on a random table at a gun show or in a dimly lit case in the back of a pawn shop somewhere else in the US. You might have a customer who has been on the hunt for something specific and they couldn’t find it in your home state. Many dealers keep customer “wish lists” handy for just such occasions.
If you’re at a gun show or shop in another state (could be the next one over or even all the way across the country) and you see the customer’s “grail gun” is available, this is an opportunity for you to buy the gun and then make some money selling it to the collector back home. (After all, the purpose of an FFL is to make money, right?)
Handguns vs Long Guns
Buying a long gun (that is, a shotgun or a rifle) anywhere in the United States and taking possession of it immediately is perfectly legal to do as a private person, as long as you’re abiding by all applicable laws in both your home state and the state in which you’re purchasing the long gun.
Handguns, however, are a different story. A private person can buy a handgun in another state, but you cannot take possession of it there. Instead, the handgun must be transferred to an FFL holder in your home state. Once the out-of-state seller has sent the handgun to an FFL holder in your home state, you can complete the transaction like you normally would and then take possession of the handgun.
Having an FFL changes this process dramatically. Regardless of what state you call home or what state the handgun is located in, you can take possession of the handgun right away as long as all of the required bookkeeping is done to acquire the handgun with your FFL.
We’ve already established that having an FFL enables you to save money by purchasing firearms at wholesale prices, but using your FFL for the sole purpose of expanding your personal collection at a discounted price is strictly forbidden.
You don’t have to sell firearms full-time, but when the ATF shows up for an inspection (and they will – eventually), you’ve got to be able to provide evidence that you are using the FFL for business purposes. Failure to do so comes with heavy fines and even jail time.
The very idea of a personal collection is just that: it’s personal. You don’t buy stuff you want just so you can sell it again. At least, not sell it again right away. Perhaps your interests change down the road and you want to sell.
That’s perfectly fine, but how long do you need to keep the gun in your collection to stay within the confines of the law? To prevent abuse of an FFL for private collections, the ATF states that you must maintain possession of a gun purchased for your collection for one year before disposing of it.
It’s also important that you keep your personal collection separate from your business inventory. If you keep them at the same location, make sure the personal guns are tagged as such or displayed in a way that there is no mistaking them for inventory.
Life happens, and often at inconvenient times. We’ve all faced situations where the hot water heater goes out or the transmission in your car gives up the ghost and you don’t have the money in the bank to fix it. As a result, you may be forced to sell one of your personal guns to fund the repair.
But what if you acquired it with your FFL and haven’t owned the gun for a year? The process is simple, really. All you have to do is record the gun you’re selling as having gone from your personal collection to your business inventory. From there, you can sell the gun just as you would any other gun that was on your FFL’s books.
Ready to Buy in All 50 States?
As you’ve learned here, the benefits of having an FFL are plentiful, especially when it comes to being able to buy a gun anywhere in the United States. You can add that new gun to your collection or you can find the rare piece your customer has been looking for, all with a bit more ease than without having an FFL.
If you think you’re ready to obtain your own FFL, we’re ready to help you do it! If recent events have taught the gun industry anything, it’s that sales and demand are far outpacing supply. This means the time is right to get your FFL and start cashing in on the boom we’re experiencing.
FFL123 has spent almost 20 years helping tens of thousands of people get their FFL. We’re so confident that FFL123 will work for you that we offer a 150% money-back guarantee. You literally have nothing to lose, so there’s no reason not to start the process of obtaining your FFL right now!