............Ready for a FREE Consultation? Everyones' First Call is FREE...........
Home Our Team How We Help FFLs Articles NEED SUPPORT NOW? Login

Gunsmithing or Manufacturing - When the lines are blurred...

Uncategorized Feb 26, 2019

Their can be a very blurred line when it comes to the differences between gunsmithing and manufacturing, gunsmithing tasks can very easily become manufacturing activities. Gunsmiths and/or Licensees need to be mindful that the more a firearm is altered and modified for the purpose of offering it for sale to the public, the stronger possibility that they are manufacturing.

The ATF has provided some guidance bringing clarity in identifying as to when a manufacturing license is required. A person engaged in true Gunsmithing only requires a Dealer’s (Type 01) License. There are, however, circumstances in which a Gunsmith may be required to have a manufacturing license. Those situations where a person should obtain a Manufacturer's (Type 07) License are generally as follows;

To clarify, per federal law, a Manufacturing Licenses is required if the person is performing the operations as a regular course of business or trade, and is performing the operations for the purpose of sale or distribution of the firearms.

Where Gunsmithing may be considered Manufacturing is when performing operations which create firearms or alter firearms and in the case of alterations, the work is not being performed at the request of customers, rather the person who is altering the firearms is purchasing them, making the changes, and/or offering them for resale.

A few very good examples to consider;

  1. A Gunsmith purchases surplus firearms, cleans the firearms, then offers them for sale to the public. In this case, the processes described, the Gunsmith or Licensee would not need to be licensed as a manufacturer.

  2. A Gunsmith purchases surplus military rifles or pistols and removes the stocks, adds new stocks or pistol grips, cleans the firearms, then sends the firearms to a separate contractor for bluing. These firearms are then sold to the public. In this case, the processes described would be considered manufacturing of firearms and the Gunsmith or Licensee would need to be licensed as a manufacturer.

  3. A Gunsmith purchases surplus military rifles and sporterizes the rifles, making modifications such as bending the bolts to accept a scope, drilling the receiver for a scope base, then offers the them for sale to the public. In this case the processes described would be considered the manufacturing of firearms and the Gunsmith or Licensee would need to be licensed as a manufacturer.

  4. A Gunsmith or Licensee receives a firearm frames from individual customers, attaches stocks and barrels, and returns the firearms to the customers for the customers’ personal use. In this case the processes described would not be considered the manufacturing of firearms and the Gunsmith or Licensee would not need to be licensed as a manufacturer.

 Generally, a good rule of thumb to follow is if the operations performed on the firearms were not for the purpose of sale or distribution then the Gunsmith or Licensee would only need to be licensed as a Dealer or Gunsmith, not as a Manufacturer of firearms. A different way to look at it; Who owns the firearm at the time of the Gunsmithing, the Licensee or the Customer? Is the Gunsmithing being performed for resale purposes or at a Customers request after the transfer?

Close