To sell ammunition online, you’ll need to develop an ecommerce website that adheres to current state and federal gun laws. So, where can you sell ammo?
You’re probably already aware that firearm regulations constantly change. That’s why it’s essential to get the necessary licensing. You’ll also want to find a payment processing service with the experience and expertise you need.
Are you looking for a gun-friendly payment processor that lets you take various payment types? Zenti offers a full range of affordable merchant account services. With Zenti, you can accept all major debit and credit cards, echecks and mobile app payments.
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Getting Licensed as a Firearms and Ammunition Dealer
If you plan to sell guns and ammunition online, you must have a federal firearms license (FFL). However, if you’re only selling ammo, you may not need one.
Federal law doesn’t require an FFL certificate to sell handgun ammunition. State law, however, is another story. In California, ammunition vendors don’t need an FFL, but you still have to be licensed through the California Department of Justice. When you apply, the DOJ will conduct a background check to determine your eligibility.
State laws concerning ammunition sales are complicated. If you’re planning to sell online, you’ll want to reach as wide a market as possible. You can reach a larger demographic of gun enthusiasts if you’re licensed to sell ammunition nationwide.
With state and federal ammunition laws constantly in flux, you’ll better protect your business if you’re fully licensed. You can contact your local FFL office to find out what type of license you’ll need to sell nationally.
Licenses are one of many requirements for ammo sellers. In some states, ammo sellers must report their sales records to the state office that governs firearm regulations. Law enforcement officers use these records to identify people who have illegally purchased ammunition.
Each state has different regulations, so contact your local government to determine if you need to report ammunition sales.
Once you start your ecommerce business, you’ll want to find the best payment processing services for your industry. Zenti can help you get the credit card processing services you need at low monthly rates.
Where To Sell Ammo Online
Here are two of the most common ways to sell ammunition online:
When you think of auction websites, eBay or MaxSold might come to mind. However, eBay and other auction platforms typically prohibit the sale of guns or ammunition.
To sell ammunition, you’ll have to find a site that specializes in the legal sale of firearms. One popular site, Gunbroker.com, operates in a similar way to eBay. It enables sellers from across the country to list firearms, ammo and gun accessories. With more than five million registered users, Gunbroker.com sells millions of dollars worth of firearms and ammo each month.
One advantage of Gunbroker.com is that it follows all FFL protocols for ammunition sales. It also offers an FFL Holder Network, which eases transactions for buyers and sellers.
For newbie gun and ammo sellers, a site like Gunbroker.com may be a terrific way to break into the firearms industry. You can build your customer base by using an existing auction site. On top of that, you can identify top-selling items by tracking your auction results.
If you’re planning to sell ammo online, you might want to establish an ecommerce website. You’ll skip those hefty auction commissions with an online business and have complete control over your listings.
Another advantage of running your own ecommerce site is that you won’t compete with thousands of other sellers on the same web pages. On sites like Gunbroker, many sellers offer the same ammo. High-volume vendors buy inventory below cost to sell at lower prices. You’ll lose sales if you can’t match or beat those prices.
Running an online sales website can be more lucrative, but operating a full-time business presents some unique challenges. Managing your own site requires a lot of time and money. To do it economically, you’ll need an affordable web hosting platform. You’ll also need to find a reputable merchant service provider that offers multiple payment options at affordable fees.
Zenti offers high-risk merchant account services that enable you to take VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover and mobile app payments. Zenti works with the most reputable payment processors. Every transaction is fully encrypted and protected with 3D Secure protocols.
What Types of Ammo Are Sold Online?
Once you’re licensed and have chosen a selling platform, you’ll need to decide what type of ammo to sell. You can research online gun retailers and gun auction sites to identify the most popular ammo types for your target market. You’ll also need to educate yourself about two industry issues: ammunition bans and potential product shortages.
In many states, it’s against the law to sell armor-piercing handgun ammunition. Selling or transporting this type of ammo is a felony. These types of bullets are also illegal in certain states:
- Dragon’s breath (shoot out sparks or flames up to 100 feet or more)
- Flechette bullets (shoot metal wires)
- Hollow nose (expand on impact)
- Bolo (use multiple projectiles connected by a wire)
Potential supply chain shortages
As an ammo vendor, you need to be aware of the current state of supply and demand in your industry. No matter what ammo you sell, your business success depends on effective inventory management.
Ammo supplies are subject to the same supply chain disruptions as other products. Supply chain shortages can cause price spikes and unhappy customers. To become an independent ammo dealer online, you’ll need to handle these challenges to retain customer loyalty and goodwill.
When it comes to retaining customers, you’ll be ahead of the competition if you offer a wide range of payment options. With Zenti, you’ll be able to accept all the payment methods your customers prefer. Zenti also provides tools to help you streamline your monthly invoicing and track your transactions.
Challenges for Online Ammo Sellers
Here’s a look at the challenges you’ll face as an online ammunition seller:
Finding an ecommerce site
Some ecommerce platforms and web hosting sites won’t accept firearms or ammunition vendors. Before applying for selling privileges, find out if the site allows ammo sales. You should be good to go if you don’t see any restrictions in the terms of service. Be sure to follow all regulations and provide sales transaction records when required.
The U.S. Postal Service prohibits the shipment of ammunition nationwide. FedEx and UPS will ship legal ammunition, but you’ll need to put a “hazardous goods” label on the box. Before shipping packages, be sure you’ve labeled them correctly according to FedEx or UPS regulations.
In June 2022, two U.S. gun retailers, Rainier Arms and Numrich Gun Parts reported data breaches on their ecommerce sites. These breaches involved credit card skimmer devices that stole customer payment information. Just a year earlier, U.K. retailer Guntrader reported an online breach that led to the hacking of 112,000 customer records.
Online security risks like these have become an increasing threat to retailers, including gun and ammo vendors. This is why having the latest account security tools is so important. These should include 3DS protocols that authorize user identity in card-not-present transactions.
Banks, financial institutions and credit card companies consider the gun industry “high-risk” for multiple reasons. Depending on the vendor, these reasons may include:
- High chargeback rates
- Large numbers of card-not-present transactions
- High selling volumes
- Reputational issues
Regardless, banks and payment processors are reluctant to work with high-risk industries. As a result, merchants in the gun and ammo business often need help getting approved for payment processing services.
If you’re in the gun industry, Zenti can help you get accepted for payment processing, even if you’ve been turned down before. With Zenti, you can offer your customers a wide range of affordable payment options, all protected with the latest 3DS protocols.
Contact Zenti to find out how we can help you get the payment processing services your business needs and deserves.