Okay.... here goes..... my .02
I applied for my FFL the day I turned 21 and I am 46 now. I just called it quits in December and turned in my records. Like most others have already said, it use to be a bit more 'lax' you could say.
Here is what I "learned" from the agent in December. Keep in mind that his answers are the "official ATF" answers that they are told to give I am sure, and possibly not quite truthful in real life. (Just my opinion)
And let me preface by saying this agent (name withheld on purpose) was extremely nice and courteous. I truly enjoyed visiting him and he was very helpful.
The ATF isn't cracking down anymore on residence based versus storefront, although there are a few more 'requirements' than use to be.... for everyone. Locks on EVERYthing you ship, Specified hours, Storage, Show intent to make a profit ( a real business instead of "I just wanna get guns cheap for me and my buds" ) are just a few.
I don't know that the actual ATF checks your zoning, but many years back in Jackson there was a collaboration between Jackson and the ATF. They contacted FFL holders that were in residential zones and told them they had to relinquish records and cease doing business. My brother lost his FFL at that time. You would be shocked to learn of who initiated that, although I won't say because I have no proof. Walter Birdsong told me and I have never known him to have been wrong about something he did speak of, or lie. I sure do miss the visits and talks when I'd go there.... ok, back on track here....
* You must have business hours on your application and you had better be adhering to them. You can no longer put "by appointment only" on the application.
* You have just opened up your home to the ATF, a visit at any point in time basically, although your normal business hours are what they adhere to 99.9% I believe. I don't see them bustin' in at 0100 to check your records unless you have given them cause. But you better be there on those hours listed on your application.
* You are not going to make a lot of money on guns. With online places like Bud's and sales from Gunbroker, Gunsamerica and sometimes even from a FORUM.... I ended up handling more transfers than anything.
* You will accumulate more new 'friends' than you realize, many expecting something for nothing. LMAO But you DO actually meet a lot of cool people too and make new friendships.
* You will be surprised at how much time it will take out of your life over the years. Looking up prices, researching something for a customer, on the phone with people constantly...etc etc (Maybe not everyone but it did me)
* You had also better make sure you DO check your zones and such things in your location. Get your Tax ID's (which I believe now costs you 500.00 for a bond if you conduct business out of your residence in MS) and anything else required to do business from your location. A good friend of mine opened up a shop some time ago, and if I remember correctly they had to get their tax id's etc before getting their FFL. I can't be sure but I believe that is what he told me during all of that. Again, not positive on that one.
* If you choose NOT to get a tax ID and take that chance, a lot of wholesale places will not do business with you anymore. Thus limiting your resources. And if they (MS) catch you... you will probably pay taxes on everything you have moved at full pop retail value (since you can't prove otherwise unless you have records, which I doubt if you didn't get an ID anyway) and fines to boot.
* Now you get to file taxes and fool with all that every year for your new business.
Wow... I just read all of that again and it sounds depressing. Didn't mean to be so negative but just know what is in store and do it correctly. You will be fine if that is done.