Firearms

How to Get an FFL in New York in 5 Easy Steps

FFL in New York application with a pen

If you’re planning on getting into the firearms industry in New York, you will have your work cut out for you. New York has implemented strict licensing laws at both the state and local levels. That said, by no means is it impossible to get your FFL in New York. We have broken down the steps and licensing requirements so you can learn how to get an FFL in New York. 

Getting a New York FFL: An Introduction

A Federal Firearm License, or FFL, is an important document you need to open a gun business in New York (or any state, for that matter). An FFL allows you to act as a firearms dealer, importer, manufacturer, or collector.

Let’s dive into how to get your FFL in New York so you can start your new business in the firearms industry. 

Step 1: Meet All of the FFL Requirements

Shotgun and New York FFL in white outline

You must meet all the personal and business requirements to get your FFL license in New York. This can be trickier in the state of New York than in some other states because there are three layers of requirements. The first layer is the federal requirements (the same across all 50 states). Next, you must check with state requirements unique to New York. Finally, you must check with local regulations/zoning rules and/or buildings within New York where you wish to start your business. 

Although this may seem daunting, with a little research, you should be able to navigate this step of the process easily. Below, we will break down all three layers of requirements to make it easier for you. 

blue gavel

Federal requirements 

The first layer of requirements comes at the federal level. You must meet these standard requirements regardless of where you live and/or operate your business. When reviewing the federal requirements, you’ll notice they primarily deal with your personal qualifications—things like age, citizenship, and criminal history. For example, to apply for an FFL, you must be at least 21 years old and legally allowed to own your own firearm. 

field with blue outline and orange flag in middle

State requirements

The second layer of requirements comes at the state level. These are where they get more in-depth and unique depending, at times, on the political views and norms of the state. These state-level requirements are broken down into two categories:

State Licensing Requirements for New York

New York has implemented a rule that anyone wishing to enter the firearms business must register for a state firearm license. To do this, you must complete a ​​​​State of New York Pistol/Revolver License Application. View the application here: Pistol/Revolver License Application.

You complete the application process with your local authorities, so you should check with them if you have any questions about the application process in your local area. 

One notable exception to this rule is if you’re an FFL dealer in New York who will only sell rifles and long-barrel guns. If this is your business model, you will not need to apply for the New York Firearms License.[1]Rocket FFL. GUIDE: How to Get Your FFL in New York (Including NYC)”. Accessed Date It’ll Be Published.  

State Registration Requirements for New York

As is true in all states, you must register your business with the government. So before submitting your New York FFL application, you must show you have registered your business with the state. 

magnifying glass, orange box with x, green box with a checkmark

Local and zoning requirements

In New York, it is very important to check local and zoning requirements, as different cities have different rules and regulations. This can be one of the biggest hurdles in any state, and New York is no exception. They have implemented strict gun laws all over the state, so make sure you check with your local government to make sure you comply with all rules and regulations. 

New York City’s requirements are especially rigorous. The NYPD has posted some of these conditions here: New Application Instructions.

Step 2: Select the Type of FFL You Need

When it comes to deciding which FFL to choose for your business, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider the types of firearms you are dealing with. Certain FFLs are only good for specific types of firearms, so it’s important to understand the distinctions/limitations of your license choice. Another consideration is the location and operations of the store or business where you’ll run operations. For example, will it be in person or online? Manufacturing or dealing? Accessories only?

An FFL license

FFL license types 

Once you’ve decided on the details of your business model, it’s time to choose your FFL. There are nine different FFL types to choose from. The nine FFLs are broken into three major categories: manufacturing, selling, and importing. So, when deciding which FFL you need, this is the first question you should ask yourself. 

Step 3: Complete an Online FFL Course

Taking an online FFL course before starting a business provides great growth opportunities. Not only do you get a comprehensive system to learn and understand the Federal Firearms License (FFL) regulations, but some also offer great access to experienced experts in the field who can provide guidance and advice. 

Some of these courses also offer connections with fellow entrepreneurs trying to open their own businesses. Participating could spark creative ideas to help you build your business from the ground up. A course is not required in New York, but taking one could give you an edge over those who don’t.

Step 4: Apply for Your New York FFL

The fourth step in getting an FFL in New York is actually applying. You must complete the FFL application and submit it to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

How to Get a FFL in New York: AFT Requirements

  • 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 that you can view here: Application for Federal Firearms License
  • Proof of business registration
  • An approved business address

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

Once you have submitted your application, your local ATF office will set you up for an interview with a local representative. An IOI or Industry Operations Investigator will conduct this interview. The point of this interview is to ensure you have a good grasp of federal laws/regulations and state regulations. They will also review your business model and make sure you are trying to run a legitimate business. 

FFL License Costs in New York

The ATF sets the price for each FFL license, so the costs are regulated at the federal level. In other words, the federal firearms license costs the same in every state. All FFLs are good for three years before they need to be renewed. 

Getting a Federal Firearms License in New York: Closing Thoughts

New York ffl license with a gun and lines of text

As we have discussed, New York has implemented its own firearm regulations at almost every level. This can make getting your FFL a little more difficult. The next most challenging issue will be opening a firearm merchant account. The firearms industry is highly regulated, so you’ll want to work with a service provider specializing in high-risk businesses.

If you want to enter the firearms industry, these challenges should not stand in your way. Paying close attention to the additional licensing requirements makes getting an FFL very achievable – even in New York. At PaymentCloud, we want to help your business succeed no matter where you are. Reach out to us today to see what we can do for you.

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FFL New York FAQs

Do I need an FFL in New York?

Yes, if you wish to start a business in the firearms industry, you will need an FFL in New York. However, it is not a requirement for personal gun ownership.

Who can apply for an FFL in New York?

In New York, any individual can apply for an FFL if they meet the federal requirements and obtain the additional licensing required by the state. New York requires each applicant (with limited exceptions) to also fill out a State of New York Pistol/Revolver License Application (PPB3).

Do I need to register as a business to get a New York FFL?

Yes, you will need to register your business in New York. So, if you’re a new business, opening a new location in New York, or transferring your business from another state, registering that business with the state is one step in the FFL process. 

How can I find an FFL dealer in New York?

Here are some options to find an FFL dealer in New York:

  • Search the ATF directory: Several websites have and maintain lists of FFL dealers, but the ATF website is the most reliable and up-to-date source.
  • Ask friends or family members if they know of or have used any reputable registered FFL New York dealers.

Can you have a home-based FFL in New York?

Yes, home-based FFLs are allowed in New York. However, getting properly zoned for one may be challenging as New York has very strict gun rules. 

Can I apply for an FFL with a New York gun trust?

A New York gun trust does not allow you to apply for an FFL. However, it may allow you to apply for an FFL transfer. In other words, a gun trust can purchase but cannot have a business selling weapons.

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

Yes. The BATF&E is an acronym for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). This is the federal organization that sets the federal FFL regulations, costs, and types of FFL you need based on the business model. 

Do I need to apply for an SOT for my New York FFL?

Applying to become a SOT (special occupational taxpayer) is only required if you plan to do business with NFA-listed firearms. NFA firearms typically are things like machine guns, explosives, and short-barreled shotguns. However, if you think you need to become a SOT, you can check the full list of NFA firearms here: NFA firearms.

How long does it take to get your FFL in New York?

Getting your FFL in New York can depend on how fast you put your business plan together and apply for the New York state licensing. By this, we mean typically, the most time-consuming part of getting your FFL is the paperwork and business model. 

Once that has been put together, the approval process will happen within 60 days. 

How can I transfer an FFL in New York?

You cannot transfer an FFL in New York. After completing the application process, the FFL is granted to one individual and stays with them. Even if a business is sold or someone retires, whoever takes on the existing business must apply for an FFL. 

How much does an FFL transfer cost in New York?

The cost varies depending on the retailer and gun type but typically ranges from $30 to $100. 

How hard is it to get an FFL in New York?

It’s hard to get an FFL in New York because of the strict regulations and licensing processes required by the state. Specifically, the gun control laws in New York are notoriously restrictive, with only a few classes of firearms legal to sell and possess.

Article Sources

  1. Rocket FFL. GUIDE: How to Get Your FFL in New York (Including NYC)”. Accessed Date It’ll Be Published.


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