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What is required to get an FFL in the State of Connecticut?

dcmdon

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
469
Location
Old Saybrook, CT
I just did it.

Hi all. There is a lot of misinformation on this topic. So hopefully I can give a comprehensive answer, since I just got a home based FFL in CT.

First, let me say one thing. And I will keep hammering it again, and again, and again.
Getting zoning approval is the ONLY think standing between you and a home based FFL. Zoning, Zoning, Zoning.

The ATF is more than happy to give you an FFL for a home based business, provided you have zoning approval from your town.
How strict is the ATF about this? So strict that despite the fact that I included my zoning permit in with my FFL application packet, they STILL went to my Town Hall and pulled an original of the permit for their records.

So . . how does one go about getting zoning approval? Well, just like its best to know the law prior to applying for a pistol permit, its best to know your town's zoning regs prior to applying for a zoning permit.

If your town's zoning regs have language that allows a "Customary Home Occupation", then you are home free.
A customary home occupation, as defined in the regs, could be anything. Provided that it has minimal impact on your neighborhood. The regs typically limit:
1) signage
2) the use of hazardous materials
3) the creation of dust, noise, or anything else that may adversely affect the residential nature of your neighborhood.
4) foot and car traffic
5) customer and employee parking
6) the parking of equipment outside

In my case I referenced the reg allowing a Customary Home Occupation in my zoning permit application, and showed how in every way, my business would fit in with both the spirit and the letter of the law. Simple.
My Zoning Enforcement officer (ZEO) didn't like it, but there was nothing she could do. I was 100% compliant.

If your town's zoning regs don't allow Customary Home Occupations, then you will have to do more homework. But most towns do have this language.

If my ZEO had refused to issue, I could have gone to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). This would have added time. These boards tend to side with the homeowner, so you will most likely prevail if you are within the spirit and letter of the Customary Home Occupation language.

In my case, my ZEO wrote me a permit that had a restriction that limited me to 2 customer visits to my home per month. I'm fine with that.

Once you have a zoning permit, you are off to the races with the ATF.

At that point you should DEFINITELY invest in a 90 day subscription to the FFL123.com site. He will walk you through all the paperwork and provide materials to prepare for the ATF's visit.

Contrary to popular thought, the ATF ****WILL**** issue you a FFL if you don't have a storefront and do not have extensive business hours. In my case, my business hours run for 2 hours, one evening a week. This is not a formality. The business hours are when the ATF can come do a compliance review. The ATF understands that you may have no interest in actually running a store, with business hours out of your home. But they need a period when they can be assured that you will be available to do a compliance review.

They fully understand that with sites like Gunbroker.com, you can have a legitimate, thriving firearms business and never keep normal "retail" hours. So again, the hours are just for their use.

In all, the ATF was the easiest branch of government to deal with.

So now you've got your FFL. Are you done?

No.

You now need to engage the CT DPS. There you will need to sign up to get your access code to the NICS check system. You'll also need to get a "permit so sell pistols and revolvers at retail" signed by your Mayor or First selectman, and submit that to them.
This requirement blindsided me.
If you can't get this signed, you are not dead in the water. You can still sell pistols and revolvers via gunbroker. You can still sell long guns at retail. But you can't sell handguns out of your home.

The next couple of sentences are speculative, because I didn't run into it: I believe the permit to sell pistols and revolvers grows out of the residential aspect of my FFL. i.e. if I had a store in a commercially zoned area, I wouldn't need this signed. I'm not sure about this. Either way. Its my opinion that you are better off bringing this to the Mayor/first selectman's attention AFTER you have your FFL. Then you can present it to him as a done deal. "Our zoning enforcement officer and the ATF have already signed off on this, this is just a technicality". YMMV

Once you have the state stuff. You are good to go. I'm sure this raises as many questions as it answers, so fire away.

Don
 
Last edited:

LQM

Regular Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
101
Location
Branford, Connecticut, USA
Any luck with this in Branford, anyone?

I had an FFL a number of years ago, pre-Brady. As a result of Brady, and my own ignorance, I let it lapse. I was looking at the towns' regulations and see similar wording along the lines of dcmdon's situation. Branford, if I have this right, defines Home Based Business as :


3.10 HOME BASED BUSINESSES.
3.10.A Home Office / Studio.
The use of a residence for occasional business use (as part of employment typically occurring elsewhere) or a home-based business involving no non-residents employees and no regular visitors to the business. Nothing in these Regulations shall restrict the use of a residence by the occupant for business purposes where:
1. No business is conducted on the premises except by computer, mail, telephone or future communication technology.
2. No persons other than members of the family are employed.
3. No external evidence of the business is visible.
4. No business signs are erected.
5. No pedestrian or automobile traffic other than that which is normally generated by
a residence.
3.10.B Minor Home Occupation.
1. A “Minor Home Occupation” is a home-based business where such business is located on the same lot used by such person as his or her primary residence provided that:
(1) The area devoted to such accessory use (including storage of any supplies or
materials) shall not exceed 25 percent of the total square footage of the
dwelling (exclusive of garage, attic and basement);
(2) Not more than one (1) nonresident person shall be employed on the
premises;
2. A “Minor Home Occupation” shall:
(1) Be conducted entirely within the principal dwelling by the resident occupant,
(2) Clearly be incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling for living purposes,
(3) Not change the exterior residential appearance or character of the building or be noticeable from the exterior of the building,
(4) Not materially change the traffic characteristics of the neighborhood,
(5) Not have any outside storage or display of merchandise, equipment, or
machinery relative to the use,
(6) Not include the keeping of stock in trade nor the sale or rental of any goods
not produced within the premises,
(7) Not involve the display of signs or products in, on, or about the premises
except for a sign as permitted by these Regulations,
(8) Not involve retail sales at the premises, and
3.10.C Major Home Occupation.
A “Major Home Occupation” is any home-based business that cannot or does not comply with the requirements of Subsection 3.10.B.

The only thing I can see here that may foil me is Sect. 3.10.B.2.6: A 'minor home occupation shall not include the keeping of stock in trade nor the sale or rental of any goods not produced within the premises.

I'm only just starting to read this so I'll find out more as I become more familiar with it.
 
Last edited:

dcmdon

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
469
Location
Old Saybrook, CT
Since this thread has been re-bumped I will add this:
http://www.ffl123.com/ffl-faq.html

Great FAQs here for anyone interested in a FFL.

I used a paid subscription to ffl123.com. It was money WELL spent. Well worth the $39 he gets for a subscription.
The site actually consists of a bunch of instructions on downloadable pdfs so you can print them out if you want.

Don
 

dcmdon

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
469
Location
Old Saybrook, CT
Based on Sect. 3.10.B.2.6: A 'minor home occupation shall not include the keeping of stock in trade nor the sale or rental of any goods not produced within the premises.

I seemed to remember that you were more interested in doing gunsmithing, right?? ; -)
 

davidmcbeth

Banned
Joined
Jan 14, 2012
Messages
16,169
Location
earth's crust
What is required to get an FFL in the State of Connecticut?

Is it possible to be an FFL and work out of your home?

Yes it is because I did it ! pm me with email address or phone # and I'll tell you how it get this done ...

Zoning issues? Yes there are some but I got mine w/o being zoned for a business.

The last thing you want to do is start yapping with DPS ...
 

LQM

Regular Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
101
Location
Branford, Connecticut, USA
Gun smithing??

Based on Sect. 3.10.B.2.6: A 'minor home occupation shall not include the keeping of stock in trade nor the sale or rental of any goods not produced within the premises.

I seemed to remember that you were more interested in doing gunsmithing, right?? ; -)

Hmmmmm.... interesting.
 

davidmcbeth

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Jan 14, 2012
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I used a paid subscription to ffl123.com. It was money WELL spent. Well worth the $39 he gets for a subscription.
The site actually consists of a bunch of instructions on downloadable pdfs so you can print them out if you want.

Don

Anyone paying $$ to a website to get pdf forms that are free should not be running any type of business.
 

KIX

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Jun 4, 2010
Messages
960
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, ,
Indeed, thanx for the info!

I'm looking to go that route, but not because I plan on selling guns per se. I've been doing a lot of good custom work and getting more gunsmithing training and it would be able to expand outside of just friends.

I was also looking at ffl123.com for info as well.

Next stop.... Zoning board for me!

Jonathan
 

dcmdon

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
469
Location
Old Saybrook, CT
Indeed, thanx for the info!

I'm looking to go that route, but not because I plan on selling guns per se. I've been doing a lot of good custom work and getting more gunsmithing training and it would be able to expand outside of just friends.

I was also looking at ffl123.com for info as well.

Next stop.... Zoning board for me!

Jonathan

You shouldn't have to go to the board.

A typical CT town has 3 zoning entities:

1) Zoning enforcement officer or zoning official - they issue zoning permits and enforce laws
2) Zoning commission - they create zoning laws
3) Zoning board of appeals(ZBA) - they hear appeals from applicants who wish to build or use property in a way that is NOT in compliance with zoning regs. They issue VARIANCES to people so that they can legally violate zoning law.

You are not going against any zoning regs. So the only person you need to engage is the zoning official. If they refuse to issue a zoning permit for your CUSTOMARY HOME OCCUPATION, then you would go to the ZBA.

Don
 

KIX

Regular Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
Messages
960
Location
, ,
You shouldn't have to go to the board.

You are not going against any zoning regs. So the only person you need to engage is the zoning official. If they refuse to issue a zoning permit for your CUSTOMARY HOME OCCUPATION, then you would go to the ZBA.

Don

I agree and understand fully.

But... Don..... this is the town where concealed carry is against town ordinances and our new mayors wife got busted at Occupy Wall Street in Hartford......... just to give you an idea of the mindset here....

Jonathan
 

dcmdon

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
469
Location
Old Saybrook, CT
Is this the same as having a C&R license? I wanted to purchase some vintage firearms.
Thanks

Uh. . .no. I'm a federally licensed firearms manufacturer. The same as Colt or Sturm Ruger. I can legally literally make guns. All for $50/yr.

A C&R you simply send in the form and notify your CLEO. No approvals. No licenses.

A FFL involves the following outline:

1) get zoning permit
2) mail in FFL app
3) meet with AtF in the place where you will be doing business
4) once you get your FFL, you need to get a license from the state of CT
5) get a State of CT sales tac certificate
6) The ATF can do one compliance check per 12 month period, with no warning.
7) you must do a 4473 for every retail sale
8) You must maintain a log book of every gun that passes through your hands.

Don
 

IH8SPM

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Joined
Mar 6, 2012
Messages
87
Location
West Haven
Thanks for clearing that up. I only want the C&R and its good to know it not a involved or delayed as a CCP.
 
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