As part of our responsibility as marketplace operators, ATG North America maintains a process to collect Federal Firearms Licenses (FFL) from existing and new auctioneers who sell or plan to sell firearms on Proxibid. The below article reviews regulation requirements in order to sell firearms on Proxibid.
- ATG's FFL requirements statement
- Why do ATG have an FFL compliance process?
- What is an FFL?
- Why do auctioneers need an FFL to sell firearms on Proxibid?
- Applying for an FFL
- Required information for new clients - supplying a valid FFL
- Required information for existing clients - renewing a valid FFL
- Recommendations for supplying your FFL to Proxibid
ATG's FFL Requirement Statement
As of September 1st, 2022, auctioneers who intend to market and sell one or more modern, curio and relic firearms on Proxibid must hold a valid Federal Firearms License (FFL) or work with an entity holding and FFL. This policy is defined in the Proxibid Unified User Agreement under 4.9. Compliance with Laws Related to Sale of Certain Products.
Proxibid has established processes in place to obtain FFL details from auctioneers, maintain records to ensure their validity and remove any auctions or lots that do not comply with the UUA. Noncompliance is considered a breach of the UUA and will result in the auction house being unable to use Proxibid’s products and services.
If an auctioneer partners with an FFL entity, they must supply the entity’s name and FFL to Proxibid. If the entity changes or the auctioneer works with additional entities, it is their responsibility to inform Proxibid.
Antique firearms (dated pre 1898) as defined by 18 U.S. Code § 921 (16) are exempt from the FFL requirement. However, auctioneers who intend to market and sell antique firearms on Proxibid, must explicitly describe the items as ‘antique’ in the lot description, ideally by attributing a date or date range, as well as ensuring the lot is listed in the ‘antique pistols’ category. If the listings do not contain these attributes, these lots are at risk of being removed from Proxibid.com, without notice.
More information surrounding Antique firearms can be found in our Antique, Curio or Relics Firearm Sales article.
The FFL requirements are applicable to all clients - both those who auction firearms as their core business, and those who auction them occasionally e.g. as a result of a household consignment.
Why do ATG have an FFL compliance process?
Proxibid are aligned with the mission of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives to safeguard the public we serve through information sharing, training, research, and the use of technology.
In partnering with Proxibid, auctioneers agree to the Proxibid Unified User Agreement which prescribes; All listings and sales must comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. This process is an additional compliance measure and safeguard that Proxibid takes to ensure auctioneers are operating lawfully.
Each year Proxibid’s Customer Experience team receives a number of inquiries from potential bidders concerning the sale of firearms. Having a compliance procedure in place which provides a mechanism for Auctioneers to share their FFL with Proxibid, demonstrates and reassures our bidder network and the wider community that Proxibid engages with responsible auctioneer partners.
Please note that FFL certificates are never shared. If Proxibid receives a specific inquiry about an auctioneer, our response would only be to confirm that they are operating lawfully and whether they are a licensed dealer. This is one of the many ways our shared success model can build trust through transparency to users.
In addition to the compliance and user engagement reasons, this is also an important step in preparing for the rollout of atgPay, Proxibid’s integrated payments solution. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance with processing partners requires us to monitor and track, primarily in the firearms category. Auctioneers that intend to sell firearms will be required to supply their FFL details to a) onboard as a merchant and b) enable buyer payment transactions for invoices containing firearms.
What is an FFL?
A Federal Firearms License (FFL) is a document issued by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), that enables an individual or a company to engage in a business pertaining to the manufacture or importation of firearms and ammunition, or the interstate and intrastate sale of firearms.
- FFLs have been required since the enactment of the Gun Control Act in 1968.
- A valid FFL means the expiration date that is not in the past.
Why do auctioneers need an FFL to sell firearms on Proxibid?
In June 2022 Congress passed new legislation, the ‘Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’, which means that any business selling just one firearm for profit needs to so under the auspices of an FFL regulated entity.
Among various changes to the existing law—ranging from background check procedures for sales to people under 21, and additions to categories of persons prohibited from possessing firearms – the Act changed the definition of who constitutes a ‘dealer in firearms’: the test is no longer whether a person is selling ‘with the principal objective of livelihood and profit’ but whether they are dealing in firearms ‘to predominantly earn a profit’.
While the ATF has not yet issued a revised version of Ruling 96-2, the definition change makes clear that an FFL is required where the predominant motive for selling firearms is to make money from the sales. The quantity of firearms sold and size of the profit a seller intends to achieve or actually realizes, are not controlling factors. Other factors could lead to a determination that someone is ‘in the business’ even when they sell low volumes or do not realize high profits.
Proxibid has taken the decision to err on the side of caution in the interest of all stakeholders: the seller, the buyer who will be subject to background checks before being legally allowed to own the firearm, and the general public.
Furthermore, it’s in the sellers’ best interest to ensure the sale of the firearm is supervised by an entity with an FFL to ensure the seller is indemnified against any legal action resulting from the sale of the firearm.
Applying for an FFL
Auctioneers should review the guidance and apply for an FFL through the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF):
Proxibid understands that the process for obtaining an FFL can take up to 60 days. You can check the ATF website for Current Processing Times. If you are in the process of obtaining an FFL and have modern, curio or relic firearms to sell, we recommend waiting for the FFL to be granted. If the consignor requires urgency, you must partner with a licensed third-party entity until such time your FFL is granted.
Required information for new clients - supplying a valid FFL
If you are a new client to ATG who may sell firearms you will need to let us know at the time of applying to Proxibid or LiveAuctioneers, by completing the FFL supply form during your onboarding process.
Here is what you will need to complete on the supply form:
- Auction House name
- Auction House ID
For your business or the FFL entity you partner with:
- Federal Firearms License Number
- Federal Firearms License Expiration Date
- A copy of you FFL license ready to upload to our form
Required information for existing clients - renewing a valid FFL
If you are an existing client who has previously supplied an FFL to ATG, we will send you an email reminder when the FFL stored on file is approaching expiration. You will be able to supply the updated FFL with a valid expiration date.
If you are an existing client who partners with an FFL entity, we will send you regular email reminders to ensure you’re still working with that entity, or to supply details of any new or additional entities you are partnering with.
Having a valid and current FFL on file with ATG will ensure there are no delays to publishing auction events you have scheduled in the future.
Here is what you will need to complete the renewal form (for your business or the FFL entity(ies) you partner with):
- Federal Firearms License Number
- New Federal Firearms License Expiration Date
- A copy of the FFL certificate, or the first 3 and last 5 digits of the FFL number
Recommendations for supplying your FFL to Proxibid
Proxibid understands that the ATF recommends FFL holders not to share their license with anyone other than a dealer is to prevent illegal transactions from license copies shared incorrectly.
Please note that Federal Firearms Licences you provide to Proxibid are stored securely and will never be shared with a bidder or buyer.
We also recommend that license holders watermark the copy they provide to Proxibid with some text such as “For Record Purposes Only”.
Proxibid's aim to validate that the FFL is current. You can also opt to share the first 3 and last 5 digits of the FFL and we will use the ATF's Online FFL eZCheck service to confirm it's valid.
Should you have any questions regarding FFL Requirements and your Proxibid account please contact us: