*Curio and Relic FFL*
By: WB
20 January 2010

I have a Curio and Relic FFL, the '03' license for collectors. It allows me to purchase many older firearms from wholesalers and importers as well as a few other possibly overlooked advantages, but it is not without disadvantages as well.

As I mentioned, I can purchase many older firearms without having to go through a dealer, and have them shipped directly to my door. There are many different arms available to a C&R holder including the SKS, some Garands, '03 Springfields, CZ-52's, CZ-82's, and the list goes on. The BATFE publishes a list of approved firearms, but one of the basic requirements is that most of the firearms have to be of a certain age, over 50 years old, or of a military significance. I have an interest in collecting older military firearms which was my initial purpose in obtaining my C&R license, although I have ended up not purchasing any of the arms I was initially looking at for one reason or another, mostly availability and costs. Many great firearms can be purchased very inexpensively through many outlets. Probably the current most popular on this list would be the Mosin Nagant 91/30. This is a battle tested, very reliable rifle, and current C&R pricing on them runs in the $55 - $80 range depending upon condition. The last gun show I went to, they were being sold from $100-$120, so there are cash saving to be had. Possibly the biggest advantage of having a C&R license, and one that is possibly overlooked, are the discounts I get at many online retailers. Brownells and MidwayUSA both give dealer discounts to C&R holders, and the savings in many cases are substantial. I have purchased some parts for AR-15's and others at as much as 40-45% discounts. Some items aren't discounted as much, but you get a dealer login to the site that posts your price on items, so you know ahead of time what you are getting into. A lot of the places that give a discount to C&R holders aren't even in the collectable firearm business. For instance, Del-Ton, I know they do not have a great reputation on this board, but they do give a dealer discount, and one of the qualifying items to get the dealer discount is having a C&R license. Even if you do not want to use any of their parts, they do sell many other brands, including DPMS, and you still get a discount on them. I have saved FAR more money in discounts than I spent getting my license.

Having a license is not without its negatives however. Any firearm you purchase using your license has to be kept in a log book. If you sell it, you have to keep logs of who you sell it to as well. The license is not a license to deal in firearms, so you have to be mindful of that. The BATFE can also request to see your books and the firearms. They can't just show up like they do for a regular 01 dealer's license, but you do have to give them access to your records and weapons if they request it. I know people who have had their license for many years and never had a request from the BATFE, that doesn't mean it won't happen so you need to keep the records up to date. Another negative is that it does place you in the sites of the BATFE. You have to get approvals signed off by your local law enforcement representative, and then send in your packet to the BATFE. They will do a background check on you and you are in their database. I know this is a detractor for many people; it took me a while to decide to go ahead and take the leap myself. I, like most of you, like keeping a low profile, so this is something you will have to come to terms with.

The cost of obtaining your license is negligible. It costs $30 for a three years license. As I said before, I have received many times over that in discounts.

All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright 1996 - 2010 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.