How to Get an FFL in Colorado in 5 Easy Steps

A stamp with an FFL License in Colorado.

All FFL dealers in Colorado need a Federal Firearms License, or FFL, to manufacture, import, and sell firearms. Getting an FFL can be a process, but it’s not as complicated as some may think. Though it’s a federal license, each state can (and often does) set its requirements in addition to the federal ones. Below, we will explain what an FFL is in detail and offer you step-by-step instructions on how to acquire one in Colorado.

Getting a Colorado FFL: An Introduction

A firearm shown with a Colorado FFL.

Getting an FFL is the first step to starting your firearms business in Colorado. So, what is an FFL

An FFL is a license issued by the federal government. Federal Firearms Licenses permit holders to import, manufacture, sell, and transfer firearms in their chosen business location. An FFL is required to sell firearms legally in the United States. There are multiple types of FFLs, each allowing the holder to engage in different business activities. To get an FFL in Colorado, you must submit a completed application through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). 

Next, we will examine how to get an FFL in Colorado, the FFL license cost in Colorado, and FFL dealers in Colorado.

Step 1: Meet All of the FFL Requirements

Getting an FFL in Colorado is similar to any other state. There are several levels of requirements, and your business location determines the ones that apply to you. In this section, we will look at Colorado FFL requirements at each federal, state, and local level so you have an idea of what to expect. 

Federal requirements

When getting an FFL for your business, there are federal requirements that every American firearms business must abide by. The requirements include things like the applicant must be over 21, have a clean background, and be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.

State requirements

Many states have strict regulations for businesses applying for an FFL. Luckily, Colorado has no additional licensing requirements (meaning you do not need a state-level gun dealer’s license). This helps FFL applicants like yourself save both time and money when applying for an FFL. However, there are additional requirements for the state of Colorado.

Each Federal Firearms Licensee in Colorado must do a full state-level background check for each prospective customer. You must submit it to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Instacheck unit.[1]CBI. “FFL Information“. Accessed March 27, 2024. To do this, you’ll have to pay additional fees, and a special account must be opened with CBI. You must keep this account current and in good standing to continue running background checks and selling weapons and ammunition.

Local and zoning requirements

It’s always important to check with local and zoning laws when starting any business, but it’s especially important for a firearms business. Not everyone likes to have new firearms businesses nearby, so some locales can be pretty strict. 

Having a home-based FFL can be an incredibly controversial topic – many local zoning laws make acquiring the proper permits and licensing difficult. So check with your local government to get your ducks in a row before starting the FFL application process if you plan to operate from home.

Denver firearm restrictions  

You should note that if you plan to start a firearms business in Denver, Colorado, there are extra restrictions you should know about.[2]US Law Shield. “Living in the Big City: The Unique Ways Gun Laws Are Applied In This Major Colorado City – U.S. LawShield”.Accessed March 27, 2024.   

  • It is illegal to possess “assault weapons.” Denver defines an “assault weapon” based on the ammunition capacity, i.e., rifles that can hold over 15 rounds of ammunition. This is, in effect, the same as Colorado (though the state calls it “large-capacity” magazines). 
  • Denver specifically also bans “semiautomatic shotguns with a folding stock or a magazine capacity of more than six rounds.” 
  • The possession of “bump stocks” is also illegal.
  • The Denver “unlawful storage of firearms” ordinance makes it illegal to store a firearm in such a way that “a minor is likely to gain possession of the firearm and if the minor does obtain possession of the firearm.”

If you plan to operate in the city of Denver (or any city, for that matter), it’s always a good idea to see what laws have been implemented in your area and ascertain how they may affect your business. 

Step 2: Select the Type of FFL you Need

Depending on the type of firearms business you want to start, you must choose the FFL type. There are nine types of FFLs, and the right choice for you will depend on which best suits your business. The options vary based on whether you’re importing, manufacturing, or dealing firearms. 

A document with a blue and orange cog wheel.

FFL license type

There are nine types of FFLs, and each suits a different need depending on your business model. See the link below to see all nine types of FFL licenses to help you choose which is best for your business: FFL License Types.

Step 3: Complete an Online FFL Course

To become an FFL dealer in Colorado, you must not complete an online FFL course. However, we always recommend doing your due diligence, especially regarding controversial and state-specific topics like firearms.

Step 4: Apply for Your Colorado FFL

Once you have met the Colorado FFL requirements at the federal and state levels and have a solid business model, it’s time to apply for your Colorado FFL. You’ll have to pay the application fee associated with your license by check, credit card, or money order.

Step 5: Have an Interview with a Representative from Your Regional ATF Office

Once all paperwork is complete and your background check has been confirmed, your local office in Colorado will set up an interview to discuss your application. An Industry Operations Investigator (IOT) will meet with you to ensure your business is up to speed and that you understand all Colorado requirements and licensing. After the visit, they will prepare a report and recommend whether or not your license should be approved.

FFL License Costs in Colorado 

The price of your FFL application in Colorado depends on the type of firearms business you are building.

Getting a Federal Firearms License in Colorado: Closing Thoughts

Starting a firearms business in Colorado is a dream you can quickly achieve by following the steps in this article. The state of Colorado is a great place to make your new business come to life. With careful planning, dedication, and a commitment to excellence, starting a firearms business in Colorado can be a lucrative path for your business. By following the steps outlined in this article and leveraging the unique opportunities the state offers, you can embark on a fulfilling entrepreneurial journey that combines your passion for firearms with the excitement of building a successful business.

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FFL Colorado FAQs

We hope you have everything you need to start your firearms business in Colorado by now. But let’s look at a few outstanding questions that may remain. 

Do I need an FFL in Colorado?

You will need an FFL to start a business selling, importing, or manufacturing firearms and/or ammunition.

Who can apply for an FFL in Colorado?

Anyone can apply for an FFL in Colorado. To ensure your application is approved in Colorado, you must be an American citizen or permanent resident, over 21, and have a clean background. 

Do I need to register as a business to get a Colorado FFL?

You will need to register your business in any state where you want to start a business in the firearms industry. If you register your business and then switch to a new state, you must re-register your business and apply in the new state. 

How can I find an FFL dealer in Colorado?

Not all gun dealers are FFLs, so it’s essential to do your research before making a purchase. The best place to start is the website of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.[3]ATF. “ATF”. Accessed March 27, 2024. You can search for licensed FFL dealers on their website. 

Once you’ve found a few potential dealers, call them and ask about their prices, policies, and processes. It’s also a good idea to ask for referrals from friends or family who have purchased guns in the past. With a little bit of effort, you should be able to find an FFL dealer who meets your needs and helps you complete your gun purchase in Colorado.

Can you have a home-based FFL in Colorado?

Yes, you can have a home-based FFL in Colorado. It is important to make sure your local area is zoned correctly and that you meet all local requirements.

Can I apply for an FFL with a Colorado gun trust?

You cannot apply for an FFL with a Colorado gun trust. A trust is not a person, so this type of application is not accepted.

Does the BATF&E have requirements for an FFL in Colorado?

Yes, the BATF&E, also known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, or ATF, is the federal company that sets the requirements for the entire nation. Everyone, including Colorado FFL applicants and holders, must follow the BATF&E requirements. 

Do I need to apply for a SOT for my Colorado FFL?

This will depend on the business you intend to start. You will need to apply for the SOT (Special Occupations Tax) if your business involves the following:

  • Silencers
  • Machine guns
  • Short-barreled rifles 
  • Short-barreled shotguns 
  • Destructive devices (explosives)

How long does it take to get your FFL in Colorado?

Once you have all the documentation and your application, you should receive your license within 60 days. However, if there are any problems with your application, it could take longer to process.

Once you have your FFL, you must renew it every three years. The renewal process is similar to the initial application, although generally much quicker. So, all in all, the entire process can take a few months from start to finish. 

How can I transfer an FFL in Colorado?

You cannot transfer an FFL. If you are a licensee and sell your business or decide to retire and someone new takes over, they will need their own federal firearms license. They will need to go through the process themselves. An FFL is a personal license for operating a firearms-based business that stays with the individual. It is not issued to the business. 

How much does an FFL transfer cost in Colorado?

Transferring a firearm through a licensed FFL dealer in Colorado can cost anywhere from $20 to $200. The FFL transfer price will vary depending on your chosen FFL dealer and the firearm you are transferring.

How hard is it to get an FFL in Colorado? 

Getting an FFL can be overwhelming. A lot of paperwork and planning will go into your new business. However, Colorado is an excellent place for FFL dealers, as there are no extra state licenses. If you pass the federal requirements in Colorado, you are good to go for opening your new firearms business. 

Article Sources

  1. CBI. “FFL Information“. Accessed March 27, 2024.
  2. US Law Shield. “Living in the Big City: The Unique Ways Gun Laws Are Applied In This Major Colorado City – U.S. LawShield”.Accessed March 27, 2024.
  3. ATF. “ATF”. Accessed March 27, 2024.

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