ATF Licensing & Permits – FFL, FEL, FEP
We advise clients in obtaining licenses issued by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms & Explosive (“ATF”). ATF issues licenses for members of the firearms industry (“Federal Firearms License” or “FFL”) and explosives industry (“Federal Explosives License” or “FEL” and “Federal Explosives Permit” or “FEP”) industries.
Importantly, despite what you may read on the internet, there is no such thing as a simple license application. Even a simple operation with owners and responsible persons with pristine backgrounds can have an application denied if it is not correct. If ATF denies a license application – regardless of the reason – an applicant must disclose that denial on any subsequent applications and that can create problems. For that reason, it is essential to get the application correct the first time.
There is most definitely such thing as a complex license application and our FFL lawyers and ATF license lawyers have likely dealt with more complex FFL applications than any law firm in the country. Generally, a complex license application involves owners or responsible persons who have been affiliated with a previously revoked FFL, who are related by blood or marriage to a previously revoked licensee (or owner or responsible person), or who seek an FFL at a premises where an FFL has been revoked.
We have a process for assisting with license applications and license inspections that works. Our process involves careful planning, precision, and complete transparency. Assuming that a client is qualified and follows our careful advice – have a 100% success rate.
As munitions and firearms lawyers we advocate with ATF on behalf of our clients. ATF advocacy arises in two general situations. The first situation is where a client is proactively attempting to identify its compliance obligations. The second situation is where a client is subject to adverse ATF action.
In the proactive compliance context, we assist clients with request for ATF guidance and determinations (seeking a written opinion from ATF regarding the application of regulations), requests for variances, and licensing. Our ATF license lawyers and FFL lawyers are experts at obtaining FFLs where an applicant has to overcome a number of major hurdles. In fact, we have a 100% success rate.
In the adverse action context, we assist with compliance audits, warning conferences, and revocation proceedings. We also negotiate ATF Compliance Plans, settlement agreements (in lieu of revocation and other adverse action) and FFL Surrender Plans (the latter allowing a client to wind-up its gun business in an orderly fashion).
Our lawyers advise firearms manufacturers, distributors, and retailers on day-to-day ATF and other regulatory compliance matters. We advise our on issues related to firearms transaction records and acquisition and disposition records. We also advise our clients regarding their notice and reporting obligations, amendments to their FFL, FEL, or FEP, including changes of ownership and control, adding or removing responsible persons, and changing premises locations.
We regularly petition ATF for guidance and determinations regarding our clients’ compliance obligations. That process allows us to determine exactly what those compliance obligations are, avoiding confusion and unnecessary administrative burden and expense.