Are FFL's going the way of the dinosaurs?

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contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,433
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Reading hdonlybob's post about shipping a handgun revived a thought I've been mulling for a while.
We all preach "Use a local FFL" to ship a handgun.
We preach "Buy from a local FFL" to support them & keep them in business.

Yet,, I see fewer & fewer small shops or local FFL's being able to stay in business. We are seeing franchise gun shops, online dealers, & other types to where it's not as common to find a local FFL.
The industry, has a hard time supporting the small dealers, (and by small, according to them, any dealer who doesn't purchase $1,000,000 annually from a distributor.) Allocation by distributors to bigger customers, and deeper discounts to volume sellers,, make it harder for a small business to compete.
Then there is the government,, with the fees & regulations they require, just to have a FFL. Most dealers will tell you of how they had an audit by the ATF, and got dinged by minor paperwork mistakes. Remember when the government jacked up the dealer license fees, (under Bill Clinton,) and many small dealers gave up their license?

And lastly, there are the consumers. We, the People. We want to buy as cheaply as possible, and at the same time expect a small dealer to sell us stuff at the same price as a volume dealer. We order guns via website shops, and then complain about the transfer fees we get charged by the receiving FFL.

It's no wonder small, local FFL dealers get tired of trying to do business & make a living by being in the firearm business. Many factors are making them stop doing things like out of state transfers, or accepting incoming firearms for customers.

I'm afraid many small FFL's are going to become like dinosaurs,, and disappear. Then who will we get to handle our firearms?
At that point, the liberal government types will have won,,, by making many of us stop selling & swapping handguns because of the hassles & the fees.

So, what can we do?
PATRONIZE as many small local gun shops as you can. BUY stuff from them. Be a regular customer. Even if you pay a few dollars more,, you will be helping save a small business. But in the big picture of things,,, you will be winning a small fight, that when many small fights are won, the battle will be won.
I use 3 different small privately owned gunshops on a regular basis. I know I pay a dollar or two more for a pound of powder sometimes. Or when I buy a box of bullets I may pay a little more than if I went the internet route. And when I want a new firearm, I go to one of the 3, and order it, and I do pay a little more. But I know it's helping them sell more, and to the distributors the more they sell, the better the allocation.

But to me, the best part is knowing I'm doing my (small) part in supporting the firearm industry as a whole, from going the way of the dinosaurs.
 

jimbo1096

Hunter
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
2,039
Location
Alexandria, LA USA
Over the past 5 years I have lost two of my locals that I preferred to do business with. And one because of the BTAF continued paperwork hassle and the other because the owner was getting old and no one would buy his business to keep it going.
You are right on, ty. But I have only one local and I won't step over their threshold due to their sketchy business practies and the owner of the place. I's getting harder and harder to find a good LGS>
 

gunman42782

Hunter
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
3,076
Location
KY
Your preaching to the choir with me. I try to buy as much as possible from local dealers. But, I remember in the 70s and 80s everybody saying "buy American", and for the most part, back then, you could, even though it cost more. Because of the government and their "free" trade deals, there is very little left that is American to buy! One thing that really teed me off with a few local dealers is during Obama, and the Sandy Hook debacle, a lot of them tried to take advantage of the situation. I know for a fact (because I worked there) of one that raised the price of ARs $100 to $200 that night it happened. And we sold every one we had. Raised the price of magazines and ammo too. And he wasn't the only one, several in this area did. I guess that might be the "smart" thing to do, but that don't make it the "right" thing to do. All that being said, some of the dealers in this area have both a shop and internet sales. Buds and KY Gun company come to mind. I have bought stuff from KY Gun, as they are in the next town over from where I live.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2002
Messages
5,461
Location
Oregon City, Oregon
I would absolutely prefer to buy from a local FFL. I buy a lot of guns every year. Seldom however is anything I buy available in a local shop. Inventories are small in most shops, and even in the bigger shops, it is almost never that I would find a Ruger product, other than maybe a .22 pistol, a 10/22, and now, the Ruger American rifles. So...I do the shopping online. I send the payment to the seller, I pay the shipping even if it's included in the sales price, and then I pay my local dealer 30 bucks to receive my gun. Seems to me, the local FFL's have this all figured out and there's really no reason for them to stock any guns. They make a bigger cut with the transfer than they made per gun in many cases with in-stock items.
 

gunzo

Buckeye
Joined
Sep 8, 2010
Messages
1,603
Location
Kentucky
Thinking a lot of dealers are feeling the sting of reduced sales, but gauging their gross & net from 8 years of the past Presidential administration. That was a fluke. How did they make it before then?

Wondering if some are going away because they made so much money for eight years they are retiring.

A big gun shop, & internet gun sales business, maybe one of the biggest. The name is the same, but the guy with the name has retired & having a bang up time.

Part of his comments on retirement; If I would have known BHO was going to make me a millionaire, I might have voted for the SOB.
 

TRanger

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
799
Location
Florida
I feel fortunate to have three or four good local gun shops within convenient driving distance. Of the dozen or so firearms I’ve bought in the past year, all but one have been older, used guns. I get better guns for my money that way and the dealer makes more on most used guns. I can tell at least one of them is having a hard time of it, so I stop in at least once a week to see if he has anything interesting. If he does, I buy it if I can afford to. If not, I often make smaller purchases of primers, accessories, or what not. Hopefully this helps. A fair and honest local shop is a treasure and one I do not wish to pass from the scene. I’ve only made one “internet” gun purchase and that was from a seller on this forum.
 

pleadthe2nd

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 24, 2016
Messages
210
Location
midwest usa
Well , Illinois, I'm sorry I meant the state of Chicago, just made it even worse with state llicensing on top of the federal, with more fees and regulations, you know, so the bad guys can't get guns anymore . I'm moving as soon as possible.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
7,837
Location
Dallas, TX
One of my favorite local gun stores is a small shop but they also do a healthy internet business as well. Their shop is pretty neat, creaky wooden floors and a fairly nice selection.

I’ve bought my share of guns from them. My wife actually likes this store too. The athmosphere is inviting. Plus it’s very odd, it’s in the middle of this outdoor shopping mall with all these snobbish women shoppers.

Here’s a friendly plug, I am not affiliated with them whatsoever.
http://www.jacksonarmory.com/JA/
 

black1970

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
151
Location
West Tennessee
Here's a thought. I believe it will not be too long before all of the small gun shops that some of us practically grew up in are gone. Hate to say it but gun collecting and fun shooting are slowly going away(see the younger generation). Most kids now are growing up being told that guns are bad. Mama and Daddy don't want them to have firearms because that's what they heard growing up. I'm not talking about the Hood types but the garden variety kids if I may use the term. Gun trading and used gun buying will be driven underground and will take place at flea markets and "trade days". Don't ask me how I know.
 

jimd441

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
663
Location
NC
Thanks for this thread Ty and thanks for the great responses all. I too make it a point to support my local shops. In my little town a third one opened recently and I hope they all can stay in business. The point about the limited inventories in small shops is a good one as is the point about buying online and providing some support to the local ffl by the processing fees. Also, I support my local shops by buying accessories and cleaning supplies from them.

Jim
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
7,337
Location
missouri
Here's a short version of my FFL experience: I held my license for 28 years w/o incident and was coming up for renewal. A BATFE person showed up for an "site inspection" and told me outright that she would not recommend my renewal for the simple reason that there was no "police coverage" in my very rural location. I wasn't in a mood to put up with all the hassle and quit.
A young local couple operating from their home filled the empty space left when I went out of business . When it came time for their first renewal, the same ATF inspector "suggested" they needed to move the business to town where there was a cop shop. The couple did so and went broke trying to meet the extra cost of doing business as a store front operation.
Operating as a licensed dealer has become nearly unbearable which is just what BATFE desires. Although the licenses are issued, maintaining the license in the shifting sands of BATFE oversight may be impossible. Discouraging independent gun shops falls into a similar category with discouraging the legal ownership of NFA items.
 

Mus408

Hunter
Joined
Apr 30, 2011
Messages
2,273
Location
Va.
Without the local FFL handling the transfers the on-line gun business would close up.
The shop I use charges 42 bucks which is a little more than the other shops around me but I'm happy to pay it.
He is great to do business with and handles a good number of sales thru Bud's Guns and others.
His main business is his indoor shooting range.

What is very interesting is he drives 90 minutes to get to his shop from his home!
 

powder smoke

Hawkeye
Joined
Aug 16, 2005
Messages
6,777
Location
Milo Maine
The shop I use charges 42 bucks & lets not forget shipping! :shock:

Wow 42 bucks for doing hardly nothing, pretty steep imo.
I support mom and pop gun shops! Ordering from them will save
you the 42.00 dollar transfer fee, and shipping. How good does Bud's price look now?

Once these small Mom & Pop shops are gone I'm sure they will be missed! ps
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
7,337
Location
missouri
I basically quit buying online when the latest LGS closed shop. Both of the owners went to school with my kids so they were charging me the "insider" fee of $20 per 4473 regardless of one or four serial numbers on the form. I was spending enough there in transfer fees to pay at least a couple month's utilities for their business.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
8,989
Location
Greenville, SC: USA
I see the potential problem differently... while Obama was in office and it looked like Hilary was next, shops opened up all over the place in and around my town.... this has flooded the market and probably made it difficult for the long time smaller shops to stay in business....
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
9,395
Location
Woodbury, Tn
My local LGS charged $50 for running NICS on guns bought online. I ordered and bought from them my new RedHawk, lots of accessories(reloading supplies, slings, doe in heat, holsters etc). Alas, the owners son died-he was unable to sell it, so he liquidated, and retired. Now I pay top dollar at Outpost Armory 45 minutes away.
gramps
 

Mus408

Hunter
Joined
Apr 30, 2011
Messages
2,273
Location
Va.
powder smoke said:
The shop I use charges 42 bucks & lets not forget shipping! :shock:

Wow 42 bucks for doing hardly nothing, pretty steep imo.
I support mom and pop gun shops! Ordering from them will save
you the 42.00 dollar transfer fee, and shipping. How good does Bud's price look now?

Once these small Mom & Pop shops are gone I'm sure they will be missed! ps

Don't forget Bud's shipping is free...but of course it's figured into the price.
That shop doesn't deal much in new guns...mostly a small selection of used guns.
 

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