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July 11, 2017

ATF Q&A: Licensing


a.) I am an FFL in Washington State, where my business is incorporated. Business-owned firearms are for sale at our store and at private gun shows, where only members who have had an FBI check can privately trade. Must I conduct background checks to sell these firearms at the gun show? b.) At these gun shows may I also sell firearms from my private collection, which are not part of the business?

a.) Yes.  More importantly, in order for any FFL to sell firearms at a gun show, the gun show must meet the requirements of ATF regulations.  The legal definition of a gun show is, “… a function sponsored by any national, State, or local organization, devoted to the collection, competitive use, or other sporting use of firearms, or an organization or association that sponsors functions devoted to the collection, competitive use, or other sporting use of firearms in the community.”  The reference to a “private” gun show makes it very difficult to determine whether the event qualifies.  You should contact ATF directly to determine if these events qualify under the regulations.  If they do, and if they are in the same State where the corporation is licensed, Washington in this scenario, then you may conduct business as a corporation just as you do at the actual premises where the corporation is licensed.  You must keep all records and conduct all required background checks just as you do at the licensed premises.

b.) You may not mix your private collection of firearms with the firearms owned by the corporation unless you first, prior to the date of the gun show, transfer them to the corporation’s inventory and enter them into the A&D records of the corporation as an acquisition from you as an individual.  Once you do that, they may be sold exactly as those firearms that are owned by the corporation.

The procedures described above are the recommended procedures.  If you choose to sell them yourself as an unlicensed individual, then you must clearly segregate them from those offered for sale by the corporation.  It is recommended that they be on a completely different table clearly separate and distinct from those of the corporation.  If you make that choice, you as an unlicensed individual are not required to complete ATF Form 4473 or to conduct background checks unless the State of Washington requires background checks for private party transfers of firearms.  This is not a recommended activity, however, for anyone associated in any way with a licensed business.