Owning a gun shop can be an extremely rewarding venture, provided you can make it through all the challenges of obtaining an FFL and running a business like no other. Sites like entrepreneur.com estimate the costs of starting up a gun shop to be between 10,000$ and 50,000$. Your first step would be to find a place where you want your gun store to be. Bear in mind laws differ from state to state on where you can build your store, what you can sell, who you can sell to, etc. Some state laws are so restrictive that many dealers won’t do business with other dealers from said state. Online firearm selling websites, like Gunbroker.com, have many sellers who tell you up front that they will not sell to those who live in Illinois or California.
Your next step will be to get an FFL, or Federal Firearms License. A quick rundown of the FFL and how to get one can be found here: https://www.findarms.com/blog/obtaining-a-federal-firearms-license-ffl-faq-s
Once you have found your location to set up shop and achieved your status as an FFL dealer, then you’re free to start selling guns. That’s where the challenges of running a gun store pop up. The negatives of running a gun shop include, but are not limited to:
Keeping all records of firearm sales, including the firearm sold and the information given to you by the buyer.
If a weapon you sold to someone is used in a high-profile, newsworthy event, the spotlight may be shined on you in a very negative fashion. It is not uncommon for news reporters to try to guilt or shift the blame unto the gun dealer.
You may have to deal with customers who become belligerent after being denied a firearm, whether due to your own judgment or failure of the background check.
Speaking of your judgment, you must carefully analyze a customer’s behavior to determine whether they are emotionally capable of owning a firearm. Remember, it is your right as an FFL dealer to deny the sale of any firearm to anybody, for any reason.
You must be on alert for potential thieves. While it is rarer for a gun shop to be robbed by gun toting thugs than your average gas station, it is still your responsibility to make sure your firearms end up in the right hands. A common method thieves use is to ask for a weapon to look at up close. Of course, once you hand over the firearm it will have escaped through the door.
Despite the cons, there are many benefits to being a business-owning FFL dealer. A few of these include having the chance to make excellent business partners and friends in the firearms industry. Having an FFL also grants you the option to get NFA items, such as fully-automatic machine guns and sawed-off shotguns, provided you pay an SOT tax. You will also be able to grow your business online, using sites like Findarms.com and Gunbroker.com. Upon obtaining an FFL, you are able to have firearms shipped directly to you, whether to sell at your store or to keep for yourself.
Most importantly, you will be among the few who have been allowed to take on the responsibility of supplying arms to the American people, which should not be a commitment taken lightly.