Firearms

How to Get an FFL in Minnesota in 5 Easy Steps

If you live in Minnesota and are interested in getting into the firearms industry, applying for a Minnesota FFL is the first step in your journey. An FFL, better known as a Federal Firearms License, is the main license you will need to sell, manufacture, or import firearms. If you’re wondering, “How do I get an FFL in Minnesota?” don’t worry. This process may seem daunting, but in this article, we explain how to become an FFL dealer in Minnesota in just 5 easy steps.

Getting a Minnesota FFL: An Introduction

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, or the ATF, has set federal guidelines for the firearms industry. These guidelines are the base-level requirements for all 50 states. To help you through them, let’s go over how to get your FFL in Minnesota, step by step.

Step 1: Meet All of the FFL Requirements

A black Minnesota FFL with a white outline of a gun and four lines next to it.

The first step in getting an FFL in Minnesota is to pass all federal requirements. The ATF has set a list of standards that each individual (no matter what state you live in) must meet to be eligible to apply for an FFL. As we discussed, each state and local government can add to the federal minimum. So, the first step in your application process is making sure you can meet federal, local, and Minnesota FFL requirements. Let’s break down each layer of the requirements together. 

Blue gavel hitting desk.

Federal requirements 

As we mentioned, the federal requirements are the same across the country. These are the basic requirements: age (you must be older than 21 for an FFL), holding United States citizenship or permanent residency, criminal history, and eligibility to own a firearm. Once you have ensured you’re eligible, the next layer of regulations falls at the state level.

Square course with blue outline, white center, and an orange flag in the center.

State requirements

Unlike the federal requirements, state requirements can vary dramatically depending on where you want to start your business. For FFL requirements in Minnesota, you need state licensing and a state business registration. 

Minnesota Uniform Firearm Application/Receipt Permit To Purchase/Transfer

As a business owner, once you have an FFL, you must apply for this Minnesota Permit to Purchase/Transfer a Handgun. This application is to be filled out in its entirety and brought to your local law enforcement agency. From there, the agency will perform several background checks and should get back to you within a week. Once you clear the background screening, the permit will last one year. As a Minnesota business owner, you must reapply for this annually.[1]Department of Public Safety. “Minnesota Uniform Firearm Application/Receipt Permit to Purchase/Transfer”.Accessed on May 28, 2024.  

Business Registration Requirement

Like all businesses, Minnesota requires you to register your FFL business with the state. This also applies if you transfer your business to Minnesota from another state or open a new location within state lines. You can learn more about how to register your business with the state of Minnesota here.

Magnifying glass in center, with green box with checkmark in top righthand corner and orange box with an X in bottom lefthand corner.

Local and zoning requirements

One of the trickiest parts of the FFL process can be complying with local and zoning requirements. This is why ensuring you can open a firearms business in your desired location before you get too far into the process is important.

This can cause hiccups because many areas do not want a firearms business in high-traffic or residential areas. So, when choosing a location for your firearms business, you will need to work with zoning and may even need to describe/answer questions about what type of business you are starting. Often, the issue is that zoning boards do not understand what a firearms business operation looks like (especially for home-based FFLs), so a little communication can go a long way in getting your location approved. 

Step 2: Select the Type of FFL You Need

The second step in the process of obtaining an FFL in Minnesota will be choosing what type of FFL meets your business needs. During this stage, you will need to have decided on your business model so you know how to consider the following:

  • Type of Firearm: you must decide on your product line. Will you deal with firearms, ammunition, explosives, etc.?
  • Business Practices: The FFL types are further divided into three categories. You can manufacture, sell, import, or engage in a combination of these activities. 
  • Location: You must also consider where to conduct your business’s sales. Will you run an e-commerce store, be a home-based FFL dealer, or have a brick-and-mortar location?

Stack of papers, front paper has horizontal lines across it and a blue rectangle in the bottom lefthand corner.

FFL license types

When figuring out how to get your FFL license in Minnesota, remember there are nine FFLs in total. These nine have been broken down into three categories: manufacturing, dealing, and importing. You can find the entire list of FFLs and their descriptions here

Step 3: Complete an Online FFL Course

An online FFL course is not mandatory to get your FFL in Minnesota. However, it is recommended for everyone entering the firearms industry. An online FFL course will teach you all the ins and outs of firearm legislation, including the Gun Control Act, National Firearms Act, and more.[2]ATF. “Gun Control Act | Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives” Accessed on May 28, 2024. You’ll also learn how to fill out paperwork properly, stay compliant with regulations, and handle firearms safely. The course will also help you learn how to keep inventory and teach you other general business skills. 

Becoming an FFL dealer in Minnesota is a big step. An online FFL course will help you get started quickly and legally.

Step 4: Apply for Your Minnesota FFL

Once you have ensured you meet the eligibility and business criteria, it’s time to submit your Federal Firearms License application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The application includes:

  • Fingerprints: Your fingerprints are used to conduct a criminal background check.
  • Photographs: Your photograph is used to create your FFL license.
  • A completed application for a Federal Firearms License.
  • Proof of business registration: This includes a local license confirming business zoning compliance in Minnesota, and any other certificates (like registration for sales tax, EIN, etc.).

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

The fifth and final step to getting an FFL in Minnesota is having an interview with a representative from your local ATF office. An Industry Operations Investigator (IOI) will conduct the interview to review if you understand federal and state laws regarding firearms, have a clear business plan, and have secured a suitable business location. The IOI will also put together a report either in support or denial of the ATF issuing your FFL. 

FFL License Costs in Minnesota 

Just like the ATF sets the federal requirements for each FFL application, they also set the prices. As such, the cost of your federal firearms license is not up to, or unique to, Minnesota. The price can range from $30 to $3,000, depending on the type of FFL you get.

Getting a Federal Firearms License in Minnesota: Closing Thoughts

Gun on calendar with a Minnesota FFL.

After you’ve learned how to get an FFL license in Minnesota, you’ll want to open a merchant account to process payments. Minnesota is a good place to start your firearms business since it doesn’t have stringent state licensing or zoning requirements. However, the firearms industry is highly regulated and considered high-risk by many payment processors.

This might make finding a payment solution for your FFL business difficult. But don’t worry, at PaymentCloud, we specialize in handling high-risk merchants, so we can guide you through the process to help your business thrive!

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FFL Minnesota FAQs

Do I need an FFL in Minnesota?

Yes, you need a federal firearms license in Minnesota if you want to sell, manufacture, or import firearms. You only need to worry about how to get an FFL license in Minnesota when engaging in the firearms business. You don’t need to worry about getting an FFL in Minnesota to purchase a firearm.  

Who can apply for an FFL in Minnesota?

Any individual who can pass the federal requirements can apply for an FFL in Minnesota. Generally, this means you must have a clean background, be a United States Citizen or Permanent Resident, and be at least 21 years old. 

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

Yes, you must register your business with the state to start a business and obtain an FFL in Minnesota. 

How can I find an FFL dealer in Minnesota?

You can look in many places if you’re looking for an FFL dealer in Minnesota. We recommend starting with the following: 

  • ATF Directory: Enter your zip code or city, select “Minnesota” as the state, and hit search. If you’re interested in a particular type of firearm, you can also narrow down your options by selecting specific FFL types.
  • Word of Mouth: Asking friends, family, or other gun enthusiasts if they know of any reputable FFL Minnesota dealers in your area is always a good place to start. 
  • Internet Search: The Internet is always a good place to find anything you want. You must do your due diligence to ensure your chosen company is registered as an FFL, but it is a good place to start.

Can you have a home-based FFL in Minnesota?

Yes, you can have a home-based FFL in Minnesota. However, home-based FFLs are typically hard to get zoning approval for. So, before applying for an FFL, you should work with your local government to ensure your neighborhood or area is zoned properly for a firearms business. 

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

You may be able to execute an FFL weapon transfer with a Minnesota gun trust. However, you cannot apply for a federal firearms license with a gun trust. 

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

The federal requirements to get an FFL in all 50 states are regulated by the BATF&E, also known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (or ATF). This entity will issue your FFL once you have fully submitted your application.

Do I need to apply for an SOT for my Minnesota FFL?

A SOT or Special Occupancy Tax is a license that allows Minnesota FFL dealers to sell, manufacture, or import certain types of firearms. You will only need to apply to become a special occupancy taxpayer if you are dealing with the following: 

  • Silencer
  • Machine guns
  • Explosives
  • Short-barreled rifles
  • Short-barreled shotguns

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

Overall, the time it takes to get an FFL will vary for everyone. This is because the part of the process that usually is most time-consuming is putting together your business model, working out your zoning, etc. 

But once you have all your ducks in a row and formally submit your application, you should have your answer from the ATF in roughly sixty days. 

How can I transfer an FFL in Minnesota?

You cannot transfer an FFL. If you are purchasing a gun store or are trying to sell your existing business, the new owner will need to go through the same application process you did. 

How much does an FFL transfer cost in Minnesota?

The cost of FFL transfers in Minnesota will depend on several factors, mainly the price of the firearm and the company you are transferring with. However, depending on your situation, you can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $200. 

How hard is it to get an FFL in Minnesota?

Obtaining an FFL license in Minnesota is very achievable. If you meet the federal requirements and have a solid business model, you should have no problem getting one. 

Article Sources

  1. Department of Public Safety. “Minnesota Uniform Firearm Application/Receipt Permit to Purchase/Transfer”.Accessed on May 28, 2024.
  2. ATF. “Gun Control Act | Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives” Accessed on May 28, 2024.


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