Importing firearms is said to be a lucrative but complicated process. Here’s a brief ‘how-to’ guide that will get you going in the right direction. You’ll find application forms for firearm import permits from The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. ATF is your go-to resource for the gun importing process. This site will answer your questions and provides forms you’ll need to submit. You may already be well aware that importing firearms requires a stack of paperwork. Just follow the instructions, file the necessary documents and the rest will take care of itself. Depending on which type of gun you’re looking to import, there may be different rules that apply. It’s important to ensure you’re in compliance with both federal and state regulations. Also, remember a Federal Firearms license is required for importers, dealers and firearm manufacturers. Compliance is extremely important so just check to make sure you’re in the clear. Completion and processing of permits and licensing can take about 4 to 6 weeks. Once you start looking for suppliers, there are several ways to research prospects and then secure an arrangement. Globalsources.com is a great place to look for sourcing your products. Also check out 10times.com to look at upcoming trade shows near you. Trade shows are ideal for meeting suppliers face-to-face to get a feel for who you would prefer to do business with. Another way to get in touch with suppliers is to use a web application like Import Genius. This searchable database tracks all imports coming into U.S. ocean ports. You can search suppliers and products to see which manufacturers are supplying U.S. businesses. If you’re already an importer, you can research new suppliers here and also find out who your competitors are working with. Contact information for consignees and suppliers is right at your fingertips and the visual map allows you to view the supply chain with a quick click of your finger. With the ability to narrow down the date range, you can look at a specific time period or check back years prior if you prefer. Here’s a simple example of how Import Genius is a useful tool full of information and business intelligence. Let's say I want to look into ‘American Tactical Imports’, a U.S. company already in the firearm importing business. A quick search for this company under the ‘consignee’ category easily shows who their foreign suppliers are. I can see ATI that has recently received shipments from ‘Imperial Defence Services Limited’ and ‘German Sport Guns GMBH’ to name a few. The visual map also shows other companies these suppliers work with. By reaching out to one of these suppliers you’re on your way to importing firearms! When you decide on a supplier, you’ll place your order and arrange payment terms with them. If you feel you’re working with someone trustworthy, you may prefer issuing a down payment rather than obtaining a letter of credit from your bank. The downpayment is often 20-30% of the total order and you pay the remainder when the goods are ready to ship. The letter of credit allows you to verify your supplier has met the terms of the agreement before issuing your payment. If you prefer this way, just allot some extra time for bank processing. When you finish your order, your next step is to locate a customs broker who can work with you to get your shipment cleared through customs. Your broker completes paperwork on your behalf and is familiar with procedures related to your specific imports. Your broker can also help you arrange freight and drayage companies so your goods will get transported to your warehouse. Your broker handles a lot of the last minute ‘heavy lifting’, so when your goods arrive you can start distributing and won’t miss a beat.