After graduating from a gunsmithing school, if you plan on putting your new skills to use as a gunsmith, then you need to apply for a number of different licenses. You will need to obtain both federal and state licenses and your town or county may also require a license.
On the federal level, there are two different licenses that a gunsmith may be expected to get. If you only plan on repairing and modifying weapons and then returning them to the original owner then you need to apply for a dealer’s license. A dealer’s license does not allow you to manufacture or sell weapons. A gunsmith with a dealer’s license is only allowed to repair or modify weapons for the owner of that firearm. At present, a dealer’s license will cost approximately $200.
If you want to manufacture or sell guns then you need a Federal Firearms License. This can cost anywhere from $30 to $3000 depending on what you are manufacturing. If a gunsmith wants to manufacture ammunition, then this will cost $30. The $3000 license is for gunsmiths who want to manufacture destructive devices like grenade launchers or artillery. Most gunsmiths will probably not need the $3000 license. There are nine types of Federal Firearms License. As you go to different and higher FFLs, you will be allowed to sell and manufacture more dangerous weapons.
There are a number of steps that must be completed in order to obtain a Federal Firearms License. The first is to fill out the application and submit to a background check. You also need to have your place of business sorted out. A FFL will not be approved if the gunsmith does not have a place to conduct business. The FFL will usually be approved if the gunsmith is 21 years old or older and is not prohibited from using firearms or ammunition. The license will not be approved if you have ever violated the Gun Control Act or did not disclose any relevant information connected to your application. You also need to comply with all State and local laws within thirty days of getting the FFL improved. Local law enforcement will also need to be informed that you are opening a gunsmithing shop and where it is located. You will need to provide a copy of your fingerprints to the authorities as well.
Once you have obtained your FFL, you need to keep written records in either an ATF-approved Bound Book or on a computer using ATF-approved software. You need to keep these records for at least twenty years after the sale. If you decide to quit or retire from gunsmithing then you need to send the records to BATFE’s Out-of-Business Records Center.
The procedure for obtaining a license from the state can be different from state to state. Not only may the procedure for applying be different but there may be different regulations or laws that need to be followed as well. Different states may have different laws in regards to record keeping, participation in gun shows and transportation of firearms. It is important that you investigate what is needed for your state to legally operate a gunsmithing business. You also need to check out what regulations you need to follow or licenses that you need from the local authorities in order to deal, sell or manufacture firearms.
Although the regulations may vary from state to state, there are some common features to state regulations. Usually the gunsmith will have to go through another record check at the state level. The length of time that this will take varies but it is usually around 30 to 60 days. You will also need to have already obtained a Federal Firearms License before you can get any of the State licenses that you might need.
After you have obtained all of the necessary licenses, federal and state as well as local, you need to keep in mind that these licenses are location specific. This means that the licenses you have obtained are connected to your place of business. If you decide to change locations, then you will need to go through the license application procedure again. This is one reason that it is important to make sure you have take care in choosing the location of your gun shop. It is not easy to change it once all of the licenses have been issued.
It can be very difficult and confusing to figure out what licenses a newly graduated gunsmith may need. Quite often, the gunsmithing schools will offer a course on how to apply for the various licenses that you need. If they don’t have a complete course, it should be part of the curriculum of one of the courses that you are required to take in order to get your gunsmith qualifications.
It is important to make sure that you have up to date information regarding the requirements and licenses needed to operate as a gunsmith. If your gunsmithing school is not able to help you, then you need to contact the relevant federal, state and local authorities to make sure that you are operating your gunsmith business legally.