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Hello, I am currently a student at The Modern Gun School since there isn't a physical school near me. I've been trying to find a job at a shop but it's turning out to be a lot harder than I anticipated since most shops are weary about my age, I'm only 19. I value hands on experience and I believe that the best way to get that is to work next to a professional and have them teach me along the way. With my school i have already done a few hands on projects such as stock refinishing and soldering. I've been around guns my whole life and cleaned more barrels than I've ever cleaned my room, I've mounted and bore sighted countless scopes and other optics, and have done many cosmetic upgrades to my own rifles.
Now to get to the point of this post.
Since trying to get a job at a shop is proving unsuccessful I've been thinking of starting my own little business. Im aware that I am not yet eligible for an FFL and that it will greatly restrict what I am able to do in the sense of a "business" since the ATF states when asked,

"Is a license needed to engage in the business of engraving, customizing, refinishing or repairing firearms?
Yes. A person conducting such activities as a business is considered to be a gunsmith within the definition of a dealer."

I just want to pick some brains here on this forum and get some advice on the direction I should go. Guns are my passion and it is and always will be a dream of mime to work with and around them.

Thank you all,
Jack Tutino
 

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Jack
Sorry to advise yes an FFL is required. With Repairs, Engraving, Finishing, or customizing a weapon for someone or a customer.

I have been in the industry for years and have an FFL today. So for example, if someone brings me a weapon to work on even with an FFL if he leaves the weapon with me for a repair or other work. I must record it and when he comes back to get it I must register it in a Fed Book and sign the weapon back out to him according to ATF guidelines. Also if I modify a weapon the ATF may take the position the business may be required to have a Manufacturers License. And that is a $2500 License.
Sorry for the bad news but would hate for you to get into a problem.
The penalties and fines are massive. To and including the possibility fo10 years in Federal Prison.
By the way, I do support your goals and your interest. When I was in High School I found a small little gun shop in town. Took a part time job after school and on Saturdays cleaning and lubricating the weapons there including when trade in came in I would clean and properly lubricate them thoroughly for resale. You might tell them you want to learn and would be glad to be the clean up guy!
A lot of them hate the job of cleaning and lubrication weapons and that job might be a way to get your foot in the door as I did me.
Later on the guy started teaching me about replacing parts and repairing guns. And over time I gained a lot of knowledge over the years.
Only a thought!
Today after the Army, Law Enforcement as Armorer and Trainer (Retired) and working later for a Nationally Owned Weapon Manufacturer as National Director of Sales and Training. Today, I own a LE and Govt. Armorer Training Company!
I tell you this not to boast, but to encourage you to set "Your Goals," not give up!
Be patient and go for it!;)

03
 

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If I were you, I'd start a Youtube channel. I'd offer to fix anyone's gun or knife or ax or leather or whatever, for free in exchange for documenting the process on your channel. Start with small stuff that does not require a FFL, such as steaming a dent out of a stock our re-bluing or parkerizing or ceracoating barrels, etc. Or taking the nicks out of a blade and putting a new edge on it. Or fixing axe handles. Assembling non-gun parts for people. Get a few small used free ovens, and start experimenting with baked on finishes on knives, ax heads, etc. Learn how to finish wood stocks, handles, etc. with stains and lacquers. Everything you do, you should video tape and post online. Make a goal of 1 video of ANYTHING per day. Fix anything for free. Sharpen knives and axes. It'll be a rough first year but you'll have 365 videos, 365 happy clients, and business will roll in...

Advertise locally on Craigslist and Facebook marketplace, for legit free fixing of stuff.

You get a "free" education, promote yourself, and build a happy client base of customers and a great YT and similar channels. This is how people build businesses...

Good luck youngster!
 

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One way I've heard on how to make a small lump of money from gun smithing is to start with a large lump.
 

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An FFL is not required to work on someone else's guns, as long as you are not doing it for profit or in the "regular course of business". In other words, you maintain your normal job and just do it on the side, not for profit.
Find rusty, broken guns and learn how they operate, repair them, then refinish them. The experience gained is worth more than most classes taught at trade schools.

Like others have said, you have the internet at your disposal, lots of videos and pictures to learn from.

IMO becoming a gunsmith full time would be a mistake, instead become a machinist and work on guns in your spare time.....doing it for a living will only ruin a good hobby
 
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