With all of the due diligence on zoning and local regulations now addressed, I was finally able to turn my attention to completing the actual FFL application. To be open, my application was sent in about two weeks ago, but I have now only had enough time to get this all on written up.
Before I get started on the application, I would like to start on something that I believe you should not do.
LegalZoom Registered Agent Service
LegalZoom was an excellent and easy resource to create my LLC but they did have one big “gotcha” that I would hazard to label malicious. Buried in their LLC creating process is the Registered Agent Service. (See Wikipedia for a definition and role of a Registered Agent). Their service is $159/year, which is high compared to like services. LegalZoom’s service is automatically billed yearly, upfront.
My suggestion would be to use another service or be your own. It may mean a bit more junk mail, but for $160/year, its worth it. In Indiana, I can fax in a Registered Agent change for no charge and am working on a refund from LegalZoom.
ATF Form 7 Application
To apply for an FFL, an applicant must complete ATF Form 5310.12 (Form 7) “Application for Federal Firearms License.” Deceivingly short (only 4 pages), the Form 7 covers a significant amount of information. It requires general applicant information (name, name of business, etc.) but goes into detail on items such as operating hours (note* the only times the ATF can stop by without an appointment for an inspection), military service number (if you served), citizenship, landlord contact information, etc. It can be a daunting form if you do not know how to fill it out.
There are a few questions that have potentially vague responses. I found the FFL123.com guides valuable. Brandon does an excellent job breaking down the appropriate responses, formatting, etc. Without it, I would have likely formatted a few items wrong triggering a rejection and require re-submission of the application to the ATF.
Recently, the ATF has uploaded a fully editable PDF copy of the Form 7. Using Adobe or Fox-IT PDF readers, you will only have to fill out Copy 1 and all entered information is automatically transferred to Copies 2-4. Everything worked perfectly, except for the “Sex” column for responsible persons, which did not have room for “N/A”.
The ATF requires at least one complete, no smudged, copy of FBI FD-258 fingerprints cards, properly formatted included with the Form 7. The ATF will accept electronically printed cards for jurisdictions that have electronic scanners. Annoyingly, Fort Wayne and Allen County do not have electronic fingerprint machines online yet (but they have ordered it). So, we did it the old-fashioned way with pungent black ink and a (very pretty) young lady man-handling my fingers.
Since the ATF has been known to reject submissions with blurry or smudged cards, I had four sets created and submitted all of them with my application. I know it may be overkill, but for only $5 a card it was worth the money for piece-of-mind. Total cost: $20
Declaration of Citizenship
As a final formality, the ATF requires a testament of citizenship. For native-born US Citizens, this is relatively easy. For naturalized citizens, there are a few other sign-offs required.
To see the current form, click here.
The FFL application requires at least a single 2″ x 2″ passport-style photograph of all the “responsible persons” that are included on the Form 7 application. Brandon from FFL123.com indicates that this can be taken on a personal camera and printed, but I chose to have the pictures take at my local drug store. Since I had two CLEOs in my jurisdiction (City Chief & Sheriff), I needed 3 photos. I opted to have four taken just to include an extra with the ATF copy. Total cost: $35.00
As part of the application, the ATF requires that a copy (with pictures, but no fingerprints) is required to be sent as a “FYI” only. Local CLEOs may not deny the application but they can contact the ATF to provide feedback (arrest records, etc.) on the applicant that may be used to deny the application.
The county Sheriff was a pleasure to work with but my city Chief’s office was a different story. I received a call from a confused and audibly pissed secretary asking why I submitted the application to the Chief. I was between meetings and attempted to explain, but received a huff and puff, and a hung-up phone. I called back later that day and left a message. It has not been returned.
Type 01 (Dealers) FFLs are a $200 fee for their application, but interestingly, FFL 07 (Manufacturers) are only charged $150. With the change in local zoning laws, I was eligible for an FFL 07.
While the ATF has not modernized with electronic fingerprint submission, applicants can pay for their FFL with a credit card. I opted for this route since I did not want to have to deal with cancelling a Money Order.
Note, the ATF will only charge you the application fee if your application is approved. Denied applications will have the payment method returned, or in the case of credit cards, will not charge the card. Total application fees: $150
Expected Turn Around
Law requires the ATF to render a decision within 60 days of submission of a correctly completed application. USPS tracking indicated that the application arrived on 3/4, so I should have a decision by 5/4. If all goes smoothly, this will be just in time to submit the application and fees for a SOT stamp for the new period starting July 1st.
Next in the Series
Until my interview, we will have some down-time until the next installment. I will post up some Q&A from the comments and questions e-mailed to me. A few were excellent that I am sure will have value for anyone looking to apply.
Current Running Total for FFL & SOT ($860.53):
- $54.99- FFL123.com Guides
- $381.67 – Creation of my LLC via LegalZoom. Includes state filing fees.
- $26.12 – Indiana sales tax registration
- $20.00 – Fingerprinting through local Sheriff
- $35.00 – 2″ x 2″ Photographs at Local Drug Store
- $33.75 – Postage for FFL Applications (ATF, City CLEO, & County CLEO)
- $159.00 – LegalZoom Registered Agent Service (Currently being Cancelled)
- $150.00 – FFL Type 07 Application Fee