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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please excuse me if this is the wrong place to ask these questions. I figured that this might be the better place to post this, but feel free to move this post, if needed.

For the past few weeks, I have been doing some research into opening a firearm dealing business. I have been out of work since 2006, and I been "officially" disabled for almost as long. My doctor and attorneys have been telling me to seriously consider opening my own business and I believe that is the type of business I want to open. I have a great interest in firearms and I am also interested in providing arms to others, as well as other assorted products, at the best price possible(which seems to be a dying trend in some shops).

I have been looking over a lot of various websites on what is needed just to get started in such a venture, but I see a lot of conflicting information. Some sites are telling me I can start my business in my home, as long as I can prove to the ATF that I am seeking to run a "for-profit" business, and not that I am attempting to boost my own private collection with the ability to purchase firearms directly from manufacturers(though, we should be able to, but that is another argument for another place). I do want to run a "for-profit" business, I am just unsure of what I need to do.

Who here runs their own firearm dealing business and what pointers can to give to me? I have read that the profit margin can tend to be extremely narrow, if any, and I have read that, just from posted dealers experiences with the ATF, along with state and/or local governments, such a business venture can be rather difficult. I have also looked over sites(such as ffl123.com, and others) that seem to be more interested in getting me to purchase their "super secret", yet * allegedly* "super successful" tips on opening a firearm business, even in my own home, than giving me straightforward answers to some rather standard questions.

Is this a losing proposition, or should pursue opening my own business? :help:

Thank you. :righton:
 

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This may sound stupid but the first thing you have to do is get your FFL. Then you can order firearms straight from a manufacture at a discount...of course. Focus on "shipping" and "receiving" transferal fees for customers that find their own firearms on line that you are unable to purchase new. Shipping cost plus transfer fees can kill a deal fast!

I have no idea what to do but those are issues I have had in the past with "dealers".
 

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Working out of your home is only an option of you have a separate entrance and secure facilities and even then I doubt you would get it. You have to have the physical address and security set up BEFORE you will get an FFL. They don't issue you one and then you figure out how to make it work. I am the operations manager for a gun store with a range so if you need any advice just PM me and I can fill you in. BUT do NOT pay anyone a frigging dime for "secrets" or "insider information that can speed your FFL process". It is BS.
 

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This is something I have actually been wondering myself.

Mainly, the question of running a firearms business out of my home. I mean, with the internet what it is today, along with how things are going in the economy, I've long thought this would be a profitable venture to run as a second income. But, from everything I've read, unless you have a physical locale seperate or a secondary interest (i.e. gunsmithing, refinishing, etc.) it is impossible to obtain a 01 FFL.

Like the OP, if anyone has any info to share, i'm all ears.
 

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There's an old adage in the gun business.. The fastest way to being a millionaire is to with two million dollars.

In all seriousness, you need to look at your available capital and available credit. It's an expensive business with very thin margins.
 

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I worked in a gun store for a few years. It eventually closed, after I left. Not sure why. But one thing the owner told me was not to compete against the big box sporting goods stores. Let them sell the hunting rifles and hunting ammo. Focus on defensive handguns and combat-oriented long guns that "sporting goods" stores won't handle.

The thing that keeps a lot of people from succeeding in the gun business is the huge cost of an inventory. Yet if you don't have a good selection of guns in stock for people to view and handle, they'll take their business to a place that does. From what I see, a well-equipped gun store has about $100,000 worth of guns on display in the glass cases on on the walls behind the counter. That's not even counting all the other stuff like holsters, cleaning accessories, reloading equipment, etc.

I always wondered about the possibility of opening a small gun store that only carries the "hot deals" as those deals might be found through ads in The Shotgun News and Gun Trader. Big national and international dealers who sell military surplus guns by the case, ammo by the ton, and overstock / closeout models of sporting guns too.
The selection would be limited, but you'd know ahead of time what to expect, and you'd know it would be a great value.
 

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P.S. Incorporate. Create a business that will own and run the gun store. You become an employee of the business. It doesn't have to be an "inc" corporation. It could be an LLC or some other variation intended to give small business owners the tax benefits and limits on personal liability that a regular corporation has. You should see both an attorney and your tax advisor to talk about this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My plan is actually to open an LLC to open my business and obtain an FFL under. I am aware of needing to have a location and proper security in place prior to getting my FFL. I was just wondering if anyone has experience with obtaining an FFL to run his or her firearm business out of their home.

The plan would be to set up a website, and offer to visit customer, or set up a time for customers to meet with me at any location he or she wishes. Once I have been in business for a year or two, I would look at opening a separate location. I do not have the capital or credit to open a separate location and get enough inventory to be close to successful.

I certainly am not disillusioning myself into believing that I will become a millionaire working for myself. I just want to do something to get back to work and earn a living of my own.

Really, I believe that the ATF should have a license that anyone can apply for that would allow the license holder to order any number of firearms directly from the dealer for our personal collection and/or sell on a very small scale, without the need for a separate location.

I know that this might drive some firearm dealers out of business, but it seems that that is already happening.
 

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The ATF is concerned with security and organization. Access to someones home is usually fairly easy to any decent burglar. In addition you have an ENORMOUS amount of paperwork and procedural things. Understand that whatever class of FFL you get you have to keep records for 20 years FROM THE DATE OF CLOSURE ,not the date of sale. You also have to understand the multiple gun sales, lost/stolen/damaged gun forms. You need to understand shipping/receiving, logging, serialization location and numbering. How to run an ATF trace, how delay dating works and how to monitor/control inventory. Also an FFL allows them in ANY time they want and you CANNOT deny them access to your records or weapons. EVERY weapon in the "building" MUST be assumed as sale or it has to be tagged as such. (Which means every gun YOU own has to have a Not For Sale tag). Ther are a LOT of things to dealing with the ATF and it's intricacies. Doing it over the internet is about 3x harder and more record intensive.
 

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Sounds like running a gun business is a real pain in the butt.
 

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QUOTE:
"The plan would be to set up a website, and offer to visit customer,
or set up a time for customers to meet with me at any location he or she wishes."

MY COMMENT: This doesn't sound safe for you. Too easy to be targeted for robbery.
 

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EJR914 said:
Sounds like running a gun business is a real pain in the butt.
If you screw anything up it literally MIGHT be a pain in the rear when your cell mate at the federal pen thinks you are too cute to pass up. :lol:
 

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No where near an expert here but from what Ive seen from my father who has been doing this for years is that having a good used gun program to compliment your NEW gun sales is very profitable.

People get desperate and sell guns way below their value. As long as you have a good understanding of the inner working of various types of guns you can make a decent profit buying low and selling high. Something the big box stores usually never do.

I also think it is great to have someone on staff that truly understands ballistics and multiple weapons so they can talk with the best of the best when it comes to weapons, special loads, and proper gun care.

Good luck, like I said Im nowhere near an expert in this subject but I have seen what works well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
gunsmoker said:
QUOTE:
"The plan would be to set up a website, and offer to visit customer,
or set up a time for customers to meet with me at any location he or she wishes."

MY COMMENT: This doesn't sound safe for you. Too easy to be targeted for robbery.
The fact that I am crippled probably makes me a more easy target for people who would wish to rob me. I just have to prepare myself in the best way possible and deal with that issue, if it ever arises. That is also the reason that I would need to start off in my home.

My income is limited to just about zero(I am going through the painful process of getting on Social Security Disability/Income(SSD/SSI)), but I do have a few people who would be interested in investing in starting up my store. Also, there is the issue of being unable to get out of my home everyday, or even getting out of bed.

If I am successful, then my preference would be to open a separate location for my store. My plan is also to offset low sales with a computer and networking building and support business. Also, I would offer a used gun program(buying and selling), maintenance of firearms, and anything else I can think of. Of course, I am thinking way ahead of myself, but it is always good to have some sort of plan.

As far as the security issue goes, I already have a monitored alarm installed in my home. I would also plan to purchase a few gun safes(I know it is not required, but I will not be a supply point for burglars). I am sure there are other things that I need to consider and I will continue to do research.
 

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mathar1 said:
EJR914 said:
Sounds like running a gun business is a real pain in the butt.
If you screw anything up it literally MIGHT be a pain in the rear when your cell mate at the federal pen thinks you are too cute to pass up. :lol:
Would his name be Bubba?
 

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With fairly low capital I'd focus on finding a niche market, and becoming a specialist to start with. A specific line of accessories would be good. Something that you're very interested in. Like .22's? Concentrate on internet sales with limited walk-in. Ebay, gunbroker, etc. Spend time getting to know user forums, and become a regular on as many as possible.

Once you get a feel for running a business, add a line of firearms. Again, specialize, and focus on internet sales.

Once you get your inventory & experience built up, *then* think about starting a walk-in business.
 

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Amongst the other hoops they will make you jump through, I believe you will also need to get local zoning approval to run this type of business from your home, and be able to document that such zoning approval has been granted to the BATF.
 

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16-11-173.Legislative findings; preemption
of local regulation and lawsuits; exceptions.
.
(2) The General Assembly further declares
that the lawful design, marketing, manufacture,
and sale of firearms and ammunition to the
public is not unreasonably dangerous activity
and does not constitute a nuisance per se.
(b)(1) No county or municipal corporation, by
zoning or by ordinance, resolution, or other
enactment, shall regulate in any manner gun
shows; the possession, ownership, transport,
carrying, transfer, sale, purchase, licensing, or
registration of firearms or components of
firearms; firearms dealers; or dealers in firearms
components.
If I read this correctly (I've been checking into the requirements for gunsmithing) a gun dealer is to be treated just like any other business and if the county etc. allows a home based business they can't deny a firearms related business.

but :ianal:
 
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