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October 9, 2017

Common Sense Solutions for Improved FFL Security

By John Bocker, NSSF Security Consultant Team Member

Recently the NSSF Security Consultant Team reflected on the more than 90 security site assessments that have been completed over the last 18 months at NSSF Member locations. Together we discovered five smart security strategies FFLs across the country have been implementing to combat burglaries. You may benefit from these home-grown practices.

  1. Move your Safes

    With the continuing drama of YouTube and other media airing dramatic scenes of stolen vehicles being used to crash through storefronts, many FFLs have taken the initiative to move store stock and gun safes on display to create “safe walls” across the front areas of their stores where possible, primarily in front of windows that can be breached by a ramming vehicle.

  2. Park in Front of Ram Points 

    This seems too easy a solution to the ramming vehicle scenario, yet we see it seldom implemented. If you have a delivery vehicle of any kind, simply move it and park it in front of your store’s main doors or other vulnerable location susceptible to a smash-and-grab ramming situation. It may not look very desirable, but it will send the bad guys away in the middle of the night to find an easier victim down the road.

  3. May I See Your ID?

    In any given week, many strangers enter your store and ask to see a firearm — and occasionally something just doesn’t feel right. So why not ask for a photo ID and hold on to it until the firearm(s) is either purchased or returned safely to its showcase? As an FFL, you are responsible for controlling your inventory until a legal transfer is completed, so if you use this process to validate age to purchase a firearm and it provides some peace of mind and confidence during your sales process, you may consider this option. One FFL who had this practice firmly in place also added “No ID, No Gun” to his in-store signage.

  4. Forklifts and Safes Blocking Receiving Doors

    Similar to item No. 1, we now know several FFLs that have a standard practice of locating heavy gun safes to serve as an interior layer of protection immediately inside their receiving door areas — and they park the forklift there as well for added protection. This may not be an option for you, depending on where your firearms safes are stored and whether or not you have a forklift, but it sure sounds good to me!

  5. “Sorry, We Show One Gun at a Time”

    I was at a member location and overhead this best practice in real time. When I looked over at the handgun counter after overhearing the salesman announce this, it was evident that he was initiating control over a situation that could have gotten out of hand. I observed two male customers and a female who were doing their best to have the lone salesman show them multiple handguns. And what started out as a simple “I’d like to see that gun” quickly turned into three conspiring customers all asking rapid-fire questions of the lone seller while the store was very busy. He did a fine job of controlling the frenzy and maintaining control of his inventory. The three “patrons” soon exited without making a serious purchase.

NSSF’s Store Security Audit team is standing by to assist you with any physical or operational security issue you may have. For more information, visit the Retailers section of the site. NSSF also partners with a variety of security product vendors. Log in to the members-only side of to discover more. If you have a creative best security practice you’d like to share with the NSSF community, we’d like to hear about it. Email me at

You might also be interested in: Shore-up your Business with an End-of-Summer Security Assessment

About the Author

John Bocker is an NSSF Security Consultant Team Member and the Managing Director at JB Group, LLC, based in Denver, Colorado. JB Group is a business security and strategy consulting organization specializing in ATF FFL compliance and protecting FFL’s against unexpected losses resulting from burglary, robbery and internal control failures. Visit, call (720) 514-0609 or email for more information.

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