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Policies & Procedures Overview
The following policies and procedures are required to initiate the importation of firearms, ammunition and implements of war:
In order to engage in the business of importing firearms or ammunition for resale, you must obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL) as an importer. You may apply for a license by executing the ATF F 5310.12 (Form 7), Application for License, and forwarding it, with fingerprints, photographs and fee attached, to the address indicated on the form. You are also encouraged to check with State and local authorities to ensure you will be complying with their requirements for conducting a firearms or ammunition business within their jurisdiction.
In order to engage in the business of importing articles on the USMIL, including firearms, firearm parts or ammunition (other than sporting shotguns, shotgun parts, or shotgun shells) for resale, you must also be registered with ATF as an importer of USMIL articles. You may apply for registration by executing ATF F 5330.4 (4587), Application to Register as an Importer of U.S. Munitions Import List Articles, in duplicate, with an original signature on both copies, and enclosing your a check made payable to: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in the amount of $250 for 1 year; $500 for 2 years; $700 for 3 years; $850 for 4 years; or $1,000 for 5 years. The Form 4587 and check should be forwarded to the address indicated on the form.
In order to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms coming within the purview of the NFA, you must register and pay a special (occupational) tax (SOT). NFA firearms include machineguns, destructive devices, short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles, etc. You may register as an NFA SOT taxpayer by executing ATF Form 5630.7 and forwarding it with the fee attached to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, P.O. Box 371962M, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7962. As an SOT, you are required to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You may apply for your EIN by executing IRS Form SS-4 (instruction sheet attached). You are also encouraged to check with State and local authorities to ensure you will be complying with their requirements regarding NFA weapons.
An approved import permit on ATF F 5330.3A (Form 6), Application and Permit for Importation of Firearms, Ammunition and Implements of War, is required to import these articles into the United States and allows the importation of the articles listed on the form. A permit is valid for one year from its approved date.
A Federally licensed firearms dealer, pawnbroker or manufacturer, other than a manufacturer of ammunition only (Type 06 FFL) may obtain a permit to occasionally import a firearm for the FFL’s personal use, or for the personal use of a customer (the customer’s name, address and purpose of importation should be shown in the item entitled ‘Specific Purpose of Importation’ on the Form 6 Part I), without becoming licensed and registered as an importer.
A Federally licensed firearms collector may obtain a permit to occasionally import curio or relic firearms for the purpose of enhancing the collector’s personal firearms collection, without becoming licensed and registered as an importer. However, a licensed collector may not import surplus military curio or relic firearms or nonsporting handguns.
An unlicensed person may obtain a permit to import sporting ammunition (excluding armor-piercing, tracer, or incendiary ammunition) and firearm parts (other than frames, receivers, firearm barrels, or barreled actions) without engaging the services of an FFL, provided the items are for personal use and not for resale. Generally, ATF cannot issue a permit authorizing the importation of firearms barrels for nonsporting or surplus military firearms.
In order to engage in the business of exporting, manufacturing, or brokering items on the USMIL you must be registered with the Department of State which administers the export and manufacturing provisions of the AECA. Generally, persons holding a manufacturer’s FFL (Types 06, 07, and 10) must register as a manufacturer with the Department of State unless specifically exempted by an International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR). For further information, you should contact:
Department of State
Office of Defense Trade Controls PM/DDTC
2401 E Street, NW, Suite 1200 SA-I
Washington, DC 20522-0112 USA
Voice: (202) 663-2980
The Department of Commerce regulates the exportation of sporting shotguns, shotgun parts, sporting shotgun ammunition, firearm-type accessories and certain parts (e.g. sights, scopes, and mounts). For further information you should contact:
Department of Commerce
Bureau of Industry and Security Export Counseling Division
19th Street & Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Voice: (202) 482-4811
Laws & Regulations (In Brief)
- The importation of firearms, firearm frames and receivers, firearm barrels, and ammunition is subject to the provisions of 18 U.S.C., Chapter 44, the GCA and the implementing regulations in 27 CFR, Part 478.
- The importation of certain firearms, including but not limited to, machineguns, silencers, certain large caliber weapons, other concealable weapons and explosive or incendiary weapons is also subject to the provisions of 26 U.S.C., Chapter 53, the NFA and the implementing regulations in 27 CFR, Part 479.
- The importation defense articles to include certain firearms, firearm parts, ammunition and other defense articles on the U.S. Munitions Import List (USMIL) is also subject to the provisions of the 22 U.S.C. § 2778, the AECA and the implementing regulations in 27 CFR, Part 447. (see 27 CFR § 447.21 for list of articles on the USMIL.