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Do you want to know how to get your Washington FFL? Are you overwhelmed by the heavy handed Federal regulations and confusing laws and rules about being an FFL in Washington? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone!
There are more than 3,000 FFLs throughout Washington, so don’t feel like it’s something that can’t be done! Yes, it’s true that there are some state-specific requirements in Washington that you won’t find anywhere else. That means you have to tread carefully when getting your Washington FFL and you need to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row in order to get into – and stay in – business.
Washington is a confusing and somewhat difficult place of late to be an FFL. A wildly heavy-handed state initiative, I-1639 recently declared every form of semi-auto rifle to be an “assault weapon.” The new law prohibits persons under 21 from purchasing even a Ruger 10/22! It also imposes additional paperwork and compliance effort on FFL’s, including verifying that a prospective buyer has had safety training, and submitting unique state paperwork to local law enforcement.
Washington FFL’s also have to hold so-called “assault weapons” for ten business days, and under some circumstances, this can stretch out beyond two weeks. These burdens and others we’ll talk about in a moment make an FFL
NFA items are also quite popular in Washington but somewhat regulated. You cannot have machine guns unless they were in the state prior to 1994, and short barrel shotguns are prohibited. Silencers, AOW’s, and SBR’s are legal and increasingly widely sold though.
Ready to get your Washington FFL? Great! Let’s look at the simple steps you need to get it.
That’s where we come in. FFL123 is here to make sure you can get that Washington FFL you want and deserve!
The very simple answer is: yes. If you plan on running a business that deals with firearms, you need to have an FFL. This isn’t a state requirement, but rather a Federal requirement. Speaking of which…
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 Washington licenses and rules.
To get an FFL, the ATF requires that you 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 Washington 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…
Once you meet the federal requirements, it’s time to make sure you meet the state ones next, and as we alluded to earlier, there are some extra steps involved in getting into the gun business in Washington, but don’t worry – we’ll cover that, too.
It isn’t too hard to get an Washington FFL. You will be required to get a Washington State Firearms Dealer License which takes about 30-60 days to receive. Employees must also undergo background checks. The license must be renewed annually and costs $125 plus fingerprinting fees. You must have a valid FFL before applying for a Washington State Firearms Dealer License.
You must still be successfully licensed with the state and the local area you are doing business in. You also have to operate in a correctly zoned area that matches the type of business you are doing.
Yes, you must be registered with the state as some kind of business to get an FFL in Washington. You also have to operate in a correctly zoned area that matches the type of business you are doing.
First, you need to get a state business license. This is a pretty cut and dry process and even largely automatic as long as you pay the licensing fees. Now is a good time to decide if you are setting up as a corporation or not. We suggest doing business as an LLC or other corporation to limit personal liability.
Now you have to get your State Firearms Dealer License. The cost is $125 and it must be obtained every year. There’s no way to actually renew it, so each and every year in business, you have to get fingerprinted and go through the background check process.
Next, it’s time to get your local business licenses. Cities and counties may also require a business license. Again, this should be pretty cut and dry.
Make sure you are properly zoned for the kind of business you plan on doing. In most places, a home-based FFL should be possible. Type 07 FFLs that engage in more than the lightest of manufacturing probably won’t be possible in residential areas.
In other words:
A wildly heavy-handed state initiative, Washington’s I-1639 declared every form of semi-auto rifle to be an “assault weapon.” The law prohibits persons under 21 from purchasing even a Ruger 10/22! It also imposes additional paperwork and compliance effort on FF’s, including verifying that a prospective buyer has had safety training, and submitting unique state paperwork to local law enforcement.
Washington FFLs also have to hold so-called “assault weapons” for ten business days, and under some circumstances, this can stretch out beyond two weeks.
NFA items are also quite popular in Washington but somewhat regulated. You cannot have machine guns unless they were in the state prior to 1994, and short-barrel shotguns are prohibited. Silencers, AOW’s, and SBR’s are legal and increasingly widely sold though.
Local rules and regulations can vary widely, so be sure to check with your specific locality to ensure you’re in compliance there.
If for some reason, you encounter a snag, FFL123 is here to help. Our members are provided access to private forums with other FFL dealers just like you, as well as members-only resources to help you navigate these waters.
Washington has a lot of small towns and rural areas with less restrictive zoning regulations than developed population centers. That means if you want to get a home based FFL in Washington, it should be pretty easy.
As you can see, you cannot get your Washington FFL until you are licensed to do business at the location you choose. Both the ATF and the State of Washington 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 Washington for your FFL. Typically your biggest issue will be zoning. If you are in town that’s usually pretty cut and dried. If you are trying to set up a home based FFL, you need to make sure that you can get a zoning variance for the kind of business you are trying to operate.
To get your Washington FFL, you’ll likely mostly have to satisfy the ATF that you’ve done your homework. Local business licenses shouldn’t be a problem, but there is always the chance that local offices could try and hold you up.
On the Federal level, it costs between $30-$200 to get an FFL for the first three years. Each license type’s cost varies due to the different responsibilities they allow the licensee to perform. There are different kinds of licenses for selling a few handguns versus handling or making NFA items.
There are also other costs associated with Washington state and local licenses. Because of the wide variety of localities and their different policies and procedures, it’s best to check directly with your local government to find out how much they charge for business licenses, etc.
Because Washington State performs their own redundant local background checks on handguns and semi-auto rifles, the FBI has long been trying to wean Washington State off of total reliance on the NICS background check system, and force the state to become a full or partial point of contact state.
Washington has opted after much last minute wrangling to be a partial point of contact state. That means for handguns, “other” firearms, semi-auto rifles, and receivers/frames, the state will be or in theory will be conducting the background checks. Because of the COVID emergency, a lot of plans have been put on hold, and we do not know exactly what will be handled by the state and what will be handled through NICS and when changes will take place.
We do know that the state will be imposing a background check fee on each gun purchased, but do not know yet what they will set the fee at. That means customers buying multiple guns will have to pay multiple fees, despite being on a single transaction. Washington FFL holders need to be aware of this and be prepared for the many issues that will come up.
Rest assured FFL123 customers will receive up to the minute expert guidance and assistance with these matters as they develop!
Washington FFL Fees are the same as for any other state. FFL license fees are set by the ATF and are uniform across the nation. You can learn more about FFL fees by clicking here.
Washington FFL laws are the same as for any other state, as they are set by the ATF. However, FFL holders in Washington State will have to follow any additional state laws or regulations. We discuss Washington FFL laws established by the state elsewhere in this article.
Washington FFL holders have the same background check as any other FFL holder anywhere in the US. However, if you are looking to have a Washington FFL perform a background check for a private party or online transfer, then that is totally possible!
Some Washington FFL’s will not conduct transfers or background checks for them. Others will. You’ll have to call and ask which FFL’s will conduct background checks for transfers and how much they charge.
Sometime in 2020 or 2021, traditional NICS background checks for handguns, all semi automatic rifles (including rimfire and Curio and Relic guns) and “other” type firearms including frames and receivers will be conducted entirely by the state instead of by the FBI. This means you’ll have to fill out a special state background check form and probably pay a Washington FFL background check fee for each gun purchased that require a state background check.
Washington FFL transfer fees can vary wildly depending on the market and the FFL. Some FFL’s have been known to charge as little as $20 for handling a simple online transfer. Because state law requires private party transfers go through an FFL, and because there are complex state paperwork and mandated waiting periods for certain types of guns, these FFL transfer fees can be higher.
Often a Washington FFL transfer fee for a private party sale will range from about $30 to as high as $50 due to the complexity of paperwork and multiple week waiting periods for some guns.
Are you trying to locate a Washington FFL dealer? Check out our article on how to locate an FFL dealer by clicking here.
Just click here for more information about FFL locator for Washington and how to find a Washington FFL!
If you want to find a Washington NFA dealer, click here!
How to Become a Federal Firearms Licensee in 10 Easy Steps: This is the ATF’s own guide to getting your FFL.
US Code § 923: Federal US Code § 923 covers regulations for the import, manufacture, and dealing of firearms and ammunition. This is the law that requires firearms businesses to get an FFL.
US CFR § 478.47 – Issuance of License: This explains how a Federal Firearms License is issued, including who must assign the license number. It requires the ATF to qualify applicants based on a predetermined list of requirements and to issue Federal Firearms Licenses. If a correct FFL application has been submitted, the Chief of the Federal Firearms Licensing Center must issue the license and assign a serial number to the licensee.
Gun Control Act (GCA): The GCA of 1968 established stricter laws on the firearms industry than were already present in the NFA of 1934. This included new regulations regarding firearms offenses, firearms/ammunition sales to “prohibited persons,” and federal jurisdiction for “destructive devices” (bombs, grenades, mines, etc.) These are just some of the things that were created with the GCA.
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. 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 Washington 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.
With just a couple easy clicks, you can start your journey to your Washington 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 Washington FFL? 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!
Find the latest list of Washington 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 Washington.
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