Part of being a prepared survivalist is having all of the right tools. Even just doing a little bit of research into those tools will lead to the result that the best of the best is not cheap. The idea of outfitting your bug out bag is not to go broke, so it’s advantageous to discover a way to get what you need for less money.
One such way to get your gear for less is by going through a wholesaler versus a retailer. Obviously you can’t just call up a wholesaler and place an order, that’d defeat the purpose of having retail stores. One way to do this is by getting your federal firearms license (FFL). The FFL License leads to access to wholesale pricing, thus as a major perk.
Advantages of a FFL
As I stated above, the greatest advantage to having a FFL is access to purchasing from wholesalers directly. Products are marked up roughly 30% from wholesaler to retailer, so that a 30% savings you’ll be pocketing. Just for a frame of reference, if you want a Ruger 10/22 takedown to pack into your bug out bag, you could expect to pay about $420. At a wholesale price, it would cost about $295, for a savings of $125. And that’s just for one of your items!
Wholesalers for the firearms industry, who would serve FFL license holders, don’t just carry firearms. Many of them carry supplies for a wide variety of hunting, tactical and outdoors activities. This means access to supplies such as bags, knives, reloading equipment, archery supplies and more. There are thousands of wholesalers in operation, so between them, you’re about guaranteed to find the make and model of whatever product you happen to be looking for.
Another advantage is going to be your ability to purchase or transfer firearms for family and friends. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) who issues the licenses won’t issue them for 100% personal use only, so purchasing and transferring firearms to friends and family will help satisfy the feds. FFL will open wholesale access, help friends and family in the process and maybe make a little cash on the side as well. Speaking of requirements, this would probably be a good time to mention them. In a nutshell, you need to be 21 years of age or older and legally able to ship, receive, and transport firearms in the United States (i.e., your gun rights were not revoked due to a felony or other serious charge/conviction). You also cannot have willfully violated any part of the Gun Control Act (GCA). If you fit into those requirements, you’re pretty well good to go. We find if you can buy a handgun, you are eligible to obtain an FFL.
The Fine Points of the FFL
To actually get the FFL, you’ll need to go through an application process. All of the forms that you need to fill out can be retrieved from the ATF’s website. A few words of caution when it comes to the application process. You can definitely print the forms out and fill them in yourself to send off to the ATF, but if you haven’t dotted all of your i’s and crossed your t’s (I’m speaking more figuratively than literally here) it could lead to your application being denied. Once your application has been denied, it can be nearly impossible to reapply and successfully get your license. However, there is help out there in the form of a company called FFL123. The company created guides to help people obtain their FFL and/or Class 3 license. The owner, created the guide and answers all of the e-mail inquiries, has applied for and received eight different FFL licenses.
Another point to make is that there is an application fee. The cost is $150 which will cover you for three years. In that time, you’ll need to renew your license again, if you choose to do so. The renewal fee is $90 to $150, based on type of FFL you obtain, and covers you for another three years. If you break the cost down, it is only $30 to $50 per year which you can definitely make up in savings by purchasing through wholesalers and helping others. You can also sell a few guns as you’re entirely legally able to. Setting up a table at a gun show is a great way to do that.
Finally, I’ll quickly debunk a few concerns you may have about getting a FFL. The first is that the government can come into your home at any time and search your entire house after you’ve obtained a FFL. This is absolutely untrue. The ATF is allowed to do an inspection only once a year and even then it must be during the hours you’ve designated on your FFL application. Typically the inspections don’t happen even close to that often. The second is that you’ll end up on some government watch list. This is also untrue. Sure, you’re listed as holding a FFL, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have any more scrutiny on your everyday movements than any other average person. As long as you follow firearms laws, you won’t have any cause for worry.
The true survivalist will be prepared to “bug out” in a moment’s notice. To get yourself prepared in a more financially feasible way, you should definitely consider the possibility of a federal firearms license.