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How to get FFL License in California (CA)?

Do you want to know how to get your California FFL? Are you overwhelmed by the heavy handed regulations and confusing laws and rules about being an FFL in California? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone!

Despite being a huge market for firearms, California is one of the most difficult states to get licensed in to sell guns. Not only does the state maintain a redundant set of licensing above what the ATF already does, but they burden FFL’s with draconian regulation, limitations on what they can sell, how they can sell it and other heavy handed restrictions.

In other words, how to get a California FFL is a lesson in patience and the horrors of anti-gun regulation gone wild. But don’t worry, FFL123 has plenty of experience with this, and we’ll give you a broad overview of what you need to do, and then how you can get the expert help you’ll need to get that California FFL!

Federal Requirements in California (CA)

The ATF has pretty basic requirements to get an FFL. So basic in fact, we’ll only glance at them, because the real problem lies with California licenses and rules.

To get an FFL, the ATF requires that you basically be a law-abiding US citizen or a permanent resident over 21 years of age who can legally own a firearm. Pretty simple stuff really. The paperwork is annoying, and you have to demonstrate you are planning to operate a business, but that’s not too hard.

What is hard for would-be California FFL holders is that the ATF also requires that you have all appropriate state and local licenses before you can be in business. And that is where the “fun” starts…

State Requirements

California has more restrictive gun laws than some European nations. That’s right, despite Europe being held up as some sort of gun control utopia, there are countries where it is easier to buy and even carry a gun than in California.  So let’s take a look at the key things a California FFL holder needs to start doing business.

  1. First you need to a Certificate of Eligibility from the California Attorney General’s Office. This is an annual requirement that basically proves you can legally own a firearm and have an FFL. All of your employees must also get one. They can only be applied for electronically and cost $71 for the first year.
  2. After you get your Certificate of Eligibility, you’ll need to register on the Centralized List of Firearm Dealers.
  3. You’ll need to purchase state-approved magnetic card swipe and other digital equipment as part of the background check procedures for California. This is all explained when you register with the state.
  4. You have to have a valid FFL, as well as valid state and local business licenses.
  5. You have to be extremely patient with a system that is highly redundant to a Federal FFL and is literally designed to discourage and limit participation in the market. In other words, California is deliberately not making it easy to become an FFL.

California Ammunition Vendor License

Along with getting a California FFL, you need a special license to sell ammo in California. While you don’t have to be a California FFL to sell ammo, you do need a special California Ammunition Vendor License. This is because once you get a California FFL and want to sell ammo, you are required by law to perform a background check for every ammo purchase. This can make it tough to deal in ammo as well, because many times the background checks don’t come back in a timely fashion, or generate false denials or simply can’t be processed by the state.

Now the ATF won’t care if you have this license or not during your application process, because having one isn’t required to do business unless you sell ammo. However, expect your ATF examiner to ask how you plan to comply with California law, including ammo. Demonstrating knowledge in this field is a good way to show your ATF examiner that you are familiar with the laws needed to sell guns in California.

There is currently a lawsuit challenging California ammunition laws. Rhode v Becerra was briefly decided in favor of those trying to overturn the need for California FFL’s to have a Ammunition Vendor License, but the 9th Circuit restored the status quo, while the state appeals. So sadly for the time being, California FFL’s will need an additional license if they wish to sell ammo.

This is a good example of the need to be very familiar with state laws before applying for your California FFL. FFL123 customers receive expert one on one guidance from our team of industry insider experts, ensuring you have the most up to date and complete knowledge of California gun laws.

Local Requirements

California is a big state and not all of it is heavily anti-gun. However, major cities like San Francisco use restrictive zoning regulations to drive FFL’s out of their borders, while small mountain towns may welcome an FFL.

As you can see, you cannot get your California FFL until you are licensed to do business at the location you choose. Both the ATF and the State of California require that you be properly licensed locally before you can do business.

It is impossible to describe all the possible local problems getting a business license in California for your FFL. Many major population centers are openly hostile to gun dealers, and use restrictive zoning and operations requirements to make doing business very hard.

Home based FFL’s are especially hard hit in California, as the anti-gun bias doubles down when small dealers try to do business. To get your California FFL you’ll likely need to navigate a brutal minefield of legal and procedural obstruction that is specific to your unique circumstances.

FFL License Cost in California (CA)

FFL Types Application Renewals Years Guns
FFL Type 1 $200 $90 3 X X
FFL Type 2 $200 $90 3 X X
FFL Type 3 $30 $30 3 X X X
FFL Type 6 $30 $30 3 X X X
FFL Type 7 $150 $150 3 X
FFL Type 8 $150 $150 3 X
FFL TYPE 9 $3,000 $3,000 3 X X
FFL Type 10 $3,000 $3,000 3 X
FFL Type 11 $3,000 $3,000 3 X

The FFL cost in California is the same as in all other US states. In other words, the ATF has a uniform FFL cost regardless of which state. However that fee starts at $30 and can quickly rise to $3000 depending on the type of FFL you are getting. We’ll also reveal state fees that increase the FFL cost in California.

However, the most common FFL’s that people get are the 01, 03, and 07. These are respectively a dealer’s license, a collector’s license and a manufacturer’s license which also lets you serve as a dealer.

The FFL cost in California for an 01 FFL is $200 to the ATF for your first 3 years. After that, it costs $90 to renew your FFL in California. The 01 FFL allows you to engage in retail sale of firearms, and is probably the most common FFL people get.

To get an 03 FFL in California is $30 for the first 3 years, and then $30 to renew it for 3 years. This license is only for collectors, can only be used on guns of a certain age or otherwise deemed to be a curio or relic primarily of value to collectors, and may not be used for commercial purposes.

The FFL cost in California for an 07 manufacturing FFL is $150 for the first 3 years, and $150 to renew for another 3 years. This FFL can be used to sell guns, as well as to manufacture non NFA items for resale. It is perhaps the most flexible FFL to get, as it allows you to assemble guns for resale.

Additional California Costs for an FFL

California FFL costs also mean paying the State of California all sorts of different fees. In addition to business licenses on state and local levels (which vary) you have to pay a $95 Dealer Inspection Annual Fee each year, plus $20 per license you have in order to be on the state’s Centralized List of Firearms Dealers.

This means at a minimum the FFL cost in California for somebody starting out can be as high as $315 plus various state and local business license fees, which can add hundreds dollars more to your annual or startup expenses.

The FFL123 Advantage

Truth be told, we’d like a world where any law abiding American could easily get into the gun business. But we don’t live in that world, and California heavily burdens FFL holders with vicious regulations and laws that crush FFL holders.

We know this, and so does our staff of industry insiders and legal experts. FFL123 has assembled a staff that is dedicated to helping our customers cut through the red tape of getting an FFL.

When you purchase an FFL123 guide, you aren’t just buying a comprehensive step-by-step guide to applying for an FFL. You are also getting decades of combined industry and legal experience that is there when you need it the most.

Every FFL123 customer is entitled to direct, one on one customer support for their specific problems in getting an FFL. We specialize in helping people understand and navigate complex local zoning issues, as this is where most problems with getting your California FFL will occur.

In other words, when you do business with FFL123, we back you up until you get your FFL. In fact, we go beyond that, and keep backing you up for as long as you in business! Our customers get ongoing support for everything to finding suppliers, to keeping abreast with the latest changes in gun laws and regulations.

Start Today!

With just a couple easy clicks, you can start your journey to your California FFL today. Rest easy knowing that you aren’t cast adrift with confusing Federal and state paperwork or left alone to figure out how to fill out and file seemingly conflicting forms. FFL123 is here for you along your entire journey from choosing the FFL that’s right for you, to your first day of business and everything in between.

Are you ready to get your California FFL? Click here and choose the guide that is right for you. Not sure which one you need? No problem! Just ask and we’ll help you with that too. What are you waiting for? The sooner you start, the sooner you can enjoy all the benefits of an FFL!

California Gun dealers

Find the latest list of Florida gun dealer’s name, email id, phone number and address. You can easily contact the gun dealers. Click here to see class 3 gun dealers in California.

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