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How to Start a Gun Store

Starting a gun store requires you to have the Federal Firearms License (FFL) issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). With a FFL, you can set up as a storefront (check with your local authorities concerning business zoning) or operate as a independent gun broker from the privacy of your own home. Additionally, you have the option of selling firearms online through a business website or online auction houses. It's a business that allows you to start small and grow at your own pace.

Establish yourself as a business entity by filing a “Doing Business As” (DBA) form with your local county. A DBA, which allows you to conduct business under your business name, is required in your FFL application.

Ask the ATF's form distribution center for a FFL application at 301-583-4696. Or go online to the ATF website to download an application.

Fill out and submit the FFL application (including fingerprints and photographs) to the ATF. The agency, which typically processes these applications within 60 days, will contact you when your license is approved.

Apply to your state’s department of taxation and finance for a sales certificate. As a business, you will be required to collect sales taxes on guns you sell. A sales certificate allows you to do so.


Peter Timm has been writing since 2002 for both print and online publications. Timm earned a Bachelor of Arts from the New York Institute of Technology in 2008 and emerged a technically astute writer.