By December 20, 2011

Curio & Relic FFL Holder Change of Address Process Change?

One of the things I dislike about moving is all of the address changes. As a Curio & Relic firearm licensee, I have to notify the ATF and my chief local law enforcement officer (CLEO) before I change addresses. It took a significant amount of time last move, and I had to contact the ATF several times to get my collector’s license changed. I was not looking forward to doing this again.

In most ways, someone who holds a Curio & Relic license (FFL 03) is quite different from a retail gun seller, who has an FFL 01 license. For example, I can only receive certain firearms that have a historical significance or are “curiosities” as determined by the ATF. I can’t serve as a gun store — I can sell C&R firearms to other people, but in spirit it should be from collector to collector.

One of the similarities between an FFL 01 and an FFL 03 is that we both have to use the same change of address form: ATF Form 5300.38: Application for an Amended Federal Firearms License. The form has many fields that don’t apply to C&R holders, such as my “store hours,” which is nonsense since one of the tenets of a C&R license is that you don’t sell firearms for a living. There are also questions about zoning laws, which also don’t apply to a C&R licensee.

There are tales going around the Internet that a simple letter to the ATF and to the CLEO is all a C&R needs to do these days to change their address. “I’m moving from Address A to Address B on Date C, thank you.” Seems straightforward and easy. I would rather send a letter off than fill out the crazy form and wait forever.

I decided to write the ATF and see if sending a letter would suffice, or if I would have to submit form 5300.38 again. Their reply:

Good morning.

You are correct that you will need to complete and submit the ATF Form
5300.38 Application and an Amended Federal Firearms License. You may
use the following link to download the application.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact

Open and shut, right? Well, not yet.

First of all, the ATF is known for being inconsistent with their rulings. It is quite possible to be told one thing is legal by one agent and then told the same thing is illegal by another. It’s a byproduct of the absolutely batshit stupid gun laws in the United States, and it makes things harder for people who want to follow the rules.

Secondly, the agent who replied linked me to the wrong form. It doesn’t mean anything in particular for changing an FFL 03 address, but it does help support the opinion that ATF agents aren’t particularly knowledgeable.

I already sent in my 5300.38 — C&R holders are required to notify the ATF within a certain time period before moving — but I’m going to try to contact the ATF again. I’m curious if the answer will be the same.

Please email me at [email protected] if you are an FFL 03 licensee who successfully changed your address with just a letter.

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