FFL Number – What Does It Mean?
After you’ve gone through all of the steps to obtain your FFL License, you will be given your FFL number. This is a 15-digit number consisting of fourteen numbers and one letter. It is set up as #-##-###-##-#X-#####. Although it may appear as such, these numbers are not random. Each set has a meaning behind it. Here you’ll see the breakdown of what your FFL number means.
The very first number in your FFL license is in reference to what region of the country you’re located in. The US is broken into seven regions.
6- North Atlantic
8- Mid Atlantic
The second number refers to your IRS district, this dates back to when the FFL process used to be under the IRS. The districts range from 01, which starts in Maine, to 99, which is located in Hawaii. Not all of the numbers between 01 and 99 are used. Most districts are just one state. For example, Tennessee is 62. Where population in certain cities is higher, the districts may be broken up accordingly. For example, in Illinois, Chicago is 36 and Springfield is 37. Something like this also occurs in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and California.
The third number is your county Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) code. This code is assigned based on the county in which the physical address of your FFL is located. As an example, Minnehaha County in South Dakota is 083.
The fourth number corresponds with the type of FFL you have. Most FFL123.com members choose either a type 01 or type 07, and thus the fourth number would either be 01 or 07. For a full list of the different types of FFL licenses, see our blog Types of FFL Licenses!
The fifth number is actually a combination of one number and one letter, and lets you know when your FFL will expire. The number refers to the year by corresponding with the last number in the year of expiration. So, a license which expires in 2016 will have a 6. A license which expires in 2015 will have a 5, and so on. The letter corresponds with the month of expiration. The letters go “A” through “M” with the letter “I” being skipped. A signifies January, and M signifies December with all of the other months falling in order between them. Therefore, a FFL license which expires in November of 2015 would have 5L in the fifth number space. The license itself will also have the expiration date written out on it, which will also include the actual day the license expires.
The final number in the license sequence is five digits. It is the number assigned to the FFL holder by the ATF, normally sequentially and gives you an estimate of age of FFL License for that state. According to the ATF statistics, as of July 2013, there are over 137,000 FFL licenses in the US. More than ½ of these are a C&R FFL License for those collecting antique firearms. Reasonably, this means that five number sequence gets repeated, but because of the other numbers in the FFL license, it’s very unlikely that an entire FFL number will be repeated.
Using these numbers, you can identify where another FFL is located based on the FFL number. You can also have an idea of what your FFL number will look like. To check to ensure a number is valid and that the license has not expired, ATF maintains this website for cross reference… https://www.atfonline.gov/fflezcheck/