C&R License (03 FFL)

A few facts answered:
What is a C&R firearm? and what is a a C&R  License?
How to get a C&R License?
Bound book and how do you use it
Buying C&R firearms
Selling C&R Firearms

BATF Inspections?

Everything you want to know about C&R is here (just about) on the BATF’s website
Some of it is hard to understand and some is straight forward. So we will quote the BATF where possible and elaborate after.


What is a C&R firearm? and what is a a C&R  License?
“Firearm curios or relics include firearms which have special value to collectors because they possess some qualities not ordinarily associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons. To be recognized as curios or relics, firearms must fall within one of the following categories:
1.   Have been manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof; or
2.   Be certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; or
3.  Derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or from the fact of their association with some
     historical figure, period, or event.”

C&R firearm for the most part are 50 years or older firearms and firearms that are deemed "of interest" to museums. Firearms that were made in 1898 or before are know ans "antiques" and have a different set of rules. So C&R really deals in that area between antiques and more modern firearms. Mostly, C&R are ex military firearms known as Mil surplus, but they also include any fire arms that was for civilian use of the same age group. This license if for the collector, not for the sale of firearms. You may sell (periodically) firearms to make room for other firearms in your collections, but you may not under any circumstances use it to buy firearms for others. That requires a 01FFL license.

Advantages of having a C&R,
1)  You don't have to go through a 01FFL and pay their costs nor endure the waiting periods

2)  You buy direct from the seller

3)  The firearm is sent directly to your house (no middle man)

4)  Some dealers (mostly online) give discounts to a FFL holder on their other products

Disadvantages of having a C&R,
1)  You have to log in any C&R purchase in to a  "bound  book"  even if you don't use the  C&R license  to buy the firearm (more later)

2)   If you sell a C&R while  holding  a  C&R license, you must log it out of your bound book, even if it was bought before you got a license. (more later)

3)   You must endure (and this is the big one) and inspection of  your  C&R firearms collection  and bound book if the BATF decides to do this.(more later)

Those are the main reasons, but many others can be found.

 How to get a C&R License?
"Submit ATF F 5310.16 (Form 7CR), Application for License (Collector of Curios or Relics), with the appropriate fee in accordance with the instructions on the form. These forms may be obtained from the Firearms and Explosives Licensing Center in Atlanta, Georgia, your local ATF office, or downloaded from ATF’s Internet site (
[27 CFR 478.41(c)]"

It's easy really, but there are a few requirements you must meet first

1)   You have to be at least 21 years old

2)   You are not prohibited from owning firearms or ammunition by any State or Federal laws

3)   Not in violation of the Gun Control Act and provide true and accurate information on the application.

4)   You must also disclose the location of the premises where you will store your collection.

5)   You must agree to follow all Federal, State and Local Laws. A C&R FFL does not allow you to disregard State or Local laws.

Things to do to get the license.
1)  Fill out the BATF form ATF F 5310.16 (Form 7CR) and you can download it here

2)  Send in the form to BATF (with the $30 fee) and a copy to your CLEO (Chief Law Enforcement Officer). In a city that would be a Chief of police and in the rural areas it would be your Sheriff. They do not need to do anything and they do not approve or deny you a license, that is the job of the BATF. Their forums is just a requirement of the BATF to let them know it is being applied for. Most CLEO's will not even know what to do with it  or you will hear nothing from them. I have heard of them calling the applicant and asking what they are supposed to do with it. Politely tell them it is just informational and they don't need to anything,  and they can do what they will with it (including file it, or toss it).
Now you wait!  (don't ask how long because one person will get it back in 3 weeks and another 3 months)

When it comes this is very important!  Do not sign it!

The original should remain unsigned. You should make copies of it and those can be signed when they are needed. Sometime people or companies require a "signed copy", and sometime they require it in blue ink so the rest is in black. Sometime they will except a fax copy of it signed, sometime an attachment to an email is OK. All of these forms are OK to the BATF. But never sign the original and use it, or your without a license and a way of making copies.

Now you are ready to make a C&R purchase. Many dealers love for you to send them a signed copy of your license. If you are going to make a lot of purchases, I guess that might be a good deal. Me, I just send them to who I'm dealing with.

Within a few days after receiving your license, You will also receive a packet of papers that are all the rules that come with having a C&R license. You should read it, but it is pretty straight forward.

Bound book and how do you use it
The paperwork that you are required to keep is minimal. A "bound book" is required. So, what is "bound". It used to be a book where the pages are bound into a book format, but now the BATF has loosened that to include a "binder" type book. This book is almost as important to you as it is to the BATF, and the format is not written in stone, but there are a few things that should be in it.

1)  Manufacturer/importer

2)  Model

3)  Year of the Receiver

4)  Action type

5)  Caliber

6)  Date received

7)   Name and address and/or FFL number of the person or company that you purchased the gun from

They are available on the internet and doing a search for C&R Bound Book will bring up a lot of information and sellers.

Here are a few:  $7.50  Hard bound $30 This is what I started with, but expensive these days

Make your own!
Print out these pages, and put them in a 3 ring binder.
Bound_Book_1   (PDF Format)
Bound_Book_2   (xls (word document)
Bound_Book 3    (PDF Format)
Bound_Book_4    (PDF Format)

Buying C&R firearms
You only need to enter C&R purchases made after you receive your license, nothing from before.

When you receive a firearm into your collection you must log it into your book within three days.

If you sell a firearm you have to fill out similar information about the person who is receiving the firearm, no background checks and no Form 4473 is required. You should obtain a photocopy of their Drivers License or FFL.

When and if you decide to quit collecting firearms and decide not to renew your 03 FFL you are NOT required to turn in any of your documentation to the BATF. It may be discarded, but I'd keep it for you own sake for later.

Selling C&R Firearms
This type of FFL license is for collecting firearms, not for "dealing" in firearms. You can occasional sell firearm to make room and funds for other firearms into your collection, but it does not allow you to make a business out of it.

"A collector’s license only enables the collector to transport, ship, receive, and acquire curios and relics in interstate or foreign commerce, and to make disposition of curios and relics in interstate or foreign commerce, to any other licensee, for the period stated on the license. A collector’s license does not authorize the collector to engage in a business required to be licensed under the Act. Therefore, if the acquisitions and dispositions of curios and relics by a collector brings the collector within the definition of a manufacturer, importer, or dealer, he shall qualify as such. A dealer’s license must be obtained to engage in the business of dealing in any firearms, including curios or relics."[
18 U.S.C. 922(a) and 923(a)(1), 27 CFR 478.41(c)(d)]

The term “engaged in the business,” as applicable to a firearms dealer, is defined as a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms. [27 CFR 478.11]

In short, you are not licensed to buy and sell firearms as a business on a regular basis. You are allowed to buy and sell firearms to improve your collections. The selling part is where the BATF get a little concerned. But as long as you are not doing it on a regular basis, you should be OK.

OK, you want examples that maybe look bad to the BATF......

1)  You buy a Mosin rifle and turn around the next day and sell it to your neighbor or a friend or a relative.
      Maybe not illegal, but that will raise their eyebrows. Buying and selling a gun fast like that is suspicious.
      You may be called to provide an explanation if you are ever audited later. This is called a "Strawman" purchase.

2)  You buy a "crate of Mosins" and sell all of them off except one or two. That will raise their eyebrows. (Again, not necessarily illegal)

3)  Buying and selling the same rifles on a regular basis will defiantly get their attention.

It's a collectors license, If you want to deal in firearms, get a 01FFL license.

BATF Inspections?
If you didn't know about this part, I'll bet it got your attention...right?

Yes, if you hold this license, the BATF has the right to inspect your firearms (C&R one's purchased under the current license only) and your bound book once a year. This inspection may take place in your home or in their office. This is not a common thing and is fairly rare, but it does happen from time to time. You can play hard nose with them if you like and refuse entry into your home, but they can require you to bring every C&R under your license and the book into their office, and you must comply. If you do not, well, I've never been that stupid to go there.

Most inspections go very easy and without any problems at all. The one's where they have came into the home, the people restrict the access to the C&R rifle area and it is done in quick order. I have only seen one issue and all that was asked of the person was to correct the issue in his book. For the most part, the agents are used to inspecting 01FFL's and sometimes get confused with the rules and what are required of a 03FFL and a 01FFL. Things like, they didn't have their license posted on the wall or of that nature. That is not required of a 03FFL, but is of a 01FFL.

For the most part, it's easy, IF it ever happens. But it is something to consider and understand.

So is it worth it? Yes if you are going to buy more than a "few" C&R firearms. In the end, If you decide you are done with the license, you can send it back to the BATF and do what you will with your bound book and you are free of the BATF.

Follow the rules, and you will have no troubles.