How to Start an Online Gun Store

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The Internet and online gun auctions have greatly expanded the firearms marketplace. Now buyers can search the Internet for specific models of rifles, shotguns or pistols outside of their local area. The accessibility of the Internet is a great opportunity for you to sell guns across the country. An online gun store can be set up to supplement your existing gun store, or as a way for a gun broker (a FFL holder without a physical storefront) to conduct business. Online gun stores can either be set up as individual websites or as a business presence on online auction sites. You must be a federally licensed firearms dealer (or have access to one) to operate an online gun store.

Things You'll Need

  • Inventory of guns
  • Federal license to sell firearms

Establish yourself as a business by registering a “Doing Business As” form (DBA) with your local county. With a DBA you can do business under an assumed business name. It is recommended that you check the availability of both your desired business name and a comparable Internet address, before registering.

Apply for a State Sales Certificate from your state’s Department of Taxation and Finance. A sales certificate grants you the authority to collect sales tax on goods and services (which is then forwarded to the state). However, state sales tax does not apply if your customer is in another state.

Apply for a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (AFT). The AFT will send you an application upon request from their Form Distribution Center at (301) 583-4696. Applications are generally processed within 60 days. All interstate firearms transfers are done between FFL holders. You cannot start conducting business until you have your FFL.

Register an Internet address with Internet service provider. Many service providers can also assist you in website creation and the establishment of merchant accounts (so that you may process credit cards). If you would rather not set up a website but still have an online gun shop, you can establish a presence as a seller on an online gun auction site.

Set up an account with a gun wholesaler. Wholesale companies require a copy of your FFL and sales certificate before allowing you to become a vendor. Once established with a gun wholesaler you can purchase guns at wholesale cost for resale on the Internet.

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