What Could Disqualify You from Having an FFL?

What Could Disqualify You from Having an FFL?

In this month’s blog discussion, I will identify some of the reasons how you can be denied a Federal Firearms License (FFL). In a past blog, I discussed the application and approval process concerning how to get an FFL. In that blog, I stated that it is generally an easy process and approvals are usually granted quickly. There are, however, many reasons why you can be denied an FFL.

FFL Qualifications

Most of the questions on the FFL license application are similar to the 4473 ATF form you fill out when you want to buy a firearm. First, I will touch on the obvious disqualifiers.

  • You must be 21 or older to apply for an FFL.
  • You must be a citizen of the United States or a legal permanent resident. If you have renounced your citizenship to the United States, you will not be approved for an FFL.
  • You will be denied an FFL if you have been dishonorably discharged from the military.
  • If you are a user of illegal drugs you will not be approved. This can cause some confusion because in some state’s marijuana use is legal. The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law. This is also true even if it is prescribed for medical purposes.
  • Being convicted of a felony will most likely disqualify you from an FFL as well. The application for the FFL also asks if you have been under indictment or convicted in any court for any crime. I am not saying that every crime will be a disqualifier, and neither does the form say you will be disqualified. This is probably a gray area that you could possibly have a discussion with the ATF. Having a misdemeanor in any court for domestic violence will greatly hurt your chances of getting an FFL.  Are you a fugitive from justice? Have you ever been committed to a mental institution? If you answered yes to either of those questions, they will cause you to receive a denial letter from the ATF.

So, to briefly sum up what was mentioned above, if you cannot legally purchase a firearm, you most likely cannot get an FFL. The background investigation for an FFL is a more extensive process than buying a firearm. The ATF will dig a lot deeper to see what your record shows.

Full Disclosure

The next item is full disclosure. What I mean by full disclosure is that you must answer all of the information on the application truthfully and as accurately as possible. Telling the truth on the application is very important. If the ATF sees that you have tried to hide or fail to give true information, it will affect your application. Your past needs to be an open book for the ATF to read. This is also true if the ATF agent calls you during the approval process to get clarification on the answers that you provided on your application. Answer truthfully and as accurately as possible. Do not put false information on your application.

Location, Location, Location

Another item that could disqualify you is the location of your business. In my area, home based gun businesses are allowed in some counties and cities but not in others. Businesses close to schools may not be allowed. When I applied for my initial license, I was allowed to have my business at my home but could not have walk in customers. The county would not allow the extra foot traffic to come to my house since it was on a dead-end street. I had to meet my customers in another location. Contact your local building and zoning department to make sure you are allowed to have your business in the location you are requesting. If you are allowed to have your business at that location, make sure you have an email or written approval documentation. I submitted my approvals with my application.

One very important action needs to be completed as soon as you receive your FFL. You need to provide a copy of your FFL to your local police office. This is required by the ATF. You can simply drive to your local office and give it to the chief of police or local sheriff. The ATF will follow up with the local police to see if they have a copy of your FFL. Don’t make the mistake of not notifying local law enforcement.

On their website, the ATF has posted a list of items required to be approved. One of the items on that list is the Gun Control Act (GCA). The list states that you must not have willfully violated the gun control act of 1968. Due to the size of that document, I won’t go into the details. However, there are important  items that fall under that document.. These are called the Incorporated Acts of the GCA. There are many pages to each of these Acts. Regardless, if you think you don’t have anything that may disqualify you, you should read through the Acts.  If you find you have something that may disqualify you, research it. If you still have questions, ask your ATF agent.

In conclusion, the disqualifiers for an FFL are not hard to define. Common sense will tell you if you have broken laws or you are not a legal resident of the United States then you won’t be approved. However, there can be some grey areas that may need to be researched more deeply. Partner with your local ATF agent to ensure you have addressed all the issues.

Semper Fi!


Written by: David Johnson, Leatherneck Gunsmithing

What Could Disqualify You from Having an FFL?