How to Become a Licensed Gun Dealer

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If you want to buy and sell guns wholesale and in bulk to the general public, you have to first become a licensed gun dealer. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) issues a Federal Firearms License to those who qualify. Becoming a licensed gun dealer is a fairly simple process.

Step 1

Before you take the time to try to get a license, you must be aware that there are restrictions. You must be at least 21 years old, and you must not have violated the Gun Control Act or committed any other act that would prohibit you from using firearms.

Step 2

Find an appropriate location for your gun dealership. This is a required precondition for applying for a Federal Firearms License. In most cases your location can be your home as long as the laws of your state and locality allow this and as long as you have gun storage facilities or alternative safety features.

Step 3

Send a signed, notarized letter (not an email) to your local police chief that you are going apply for a Federal Firearms License.

Step 4

Order ATF Form 7 from the ATF Distribution Center Order Form website. This is the Federal Firearms License application form. Unfortunately, you cannot download this application; instead, it will be mailed to you.

Step 5

Complete ATF Form 7, sign it in the presence of a notary public and mail it to your local ATF office. ATF Form 7 requires you to swear under oath that you have been truthful on the application, that you meet the requirements for a Federal Firearms License, that your gun dealership is not prohibited by local law and that you will comply with all pertinent local laws before you open your dealership.

Step 6

Comply with all local legal and regulatory requirements pertaining to the operation of a gun dealership within 30 days after your Federal Firearms License is approved. If you do not meet this deadline, your license could be suspended or revoked.


  • Your signature on ATM Form 7 constitutes your attestation under penalty of perjury that the facts stated on your application are true. False statements could result in investigations by federal authorities even several years later.


  • The ATF offers different types of licenses. If you wish to collect antique or other types of collectible guns, you may need a Federal Firearms License even if you are not selling them.


About the Author

David Carnes has been a full-time writer since 1998 and has published two full-length novels. He spends much of his time in various Asian countries and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law.