FFL Number – What Does It Mean?
Once you’ve completed every step to attain your FFL License, you will receive your FFL number. This is a 15-digit number composed of one letter and fourteen numbers. This is the common set up for a FFL number #-##-###-##-#X-#####. Although it may seem as such, these digits are not randomly selected. Each set has a meaning and stands for something specific. Following is a simplified breakdown of what your FFL number means.
The very first number in your FFL license is in respect to the region of the country you are living in. Our country is broken down into seven regions.
6- North Atlantic
8- Mid Atlantic
The second digit is related to your IRS district and dates back to the time when the FFL process was run under the IRS. The districts range from 01 to 99, starting in Maine and - to Hawaii. However not all of the numbers between 01 and 99 are used. Most districts are just one state. For example, Tennessee is 62. Where population in certain cities is higher, the districts may be broken up accordingly. For example, in Illinois, Chicago is 36 and Springfield is 37. Something like this also occurs in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and California.
The third number stands for your county Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) code. This code is appointed based on the county in which the physical address of your FFL is situated. As an example, Minnehaha County in South Dakota is 083.
The fourth number stands for the type of FFL you have applied for and attained. Most FFLTRUST.com members choose either a type 01 or type 07, in such the fourth number would either be 01 or 07. For a full list of the different types of FFL licenses, see our blog Types of FFL Licenses
The fifth number is a combination of one digit and one letter, and stands for the expiration date of your license. The digit refers to the year by being a equivalent with the last number in the year of expiration. So, a license, which expires in 2016, will have a 6. A license, which expires in 2015, will have a 5, and so on. The letter corresponds with the month of expiration. The letters go “A” through “M” with the letter “I” being skipped. A stands for January, and M stands for December with all of the other months falling in order between them. Therefore, a FFL license, which expires in November of 2015, would have 5L in the fifth number space. The actual complete expiry date will be included on the license itself as well.
The final number in the license sequence is five digits. It is the number appointed to the FFL holder by the ATF, normally sequentially and gives you an estimate appraisal of the age of FFL License for the particular state. The ATF statistics indicate that as of July 2013, there are over 137,000 FFL licenses throughout the US. More than ½ of these are a C&R FFL License for individuals collecting antique firearms. Logically this supposes that the five number sequences get repeated, but because of the other numbers in the FFL license, it’s highly improbable fort an entire FFL number to be repeated.
What you can do, based on the FFL number, is identify where a FFL is situated. You can also have an idea of what your FFL number will look like. To check to ensure a number is eligible and that the license hasn’t expired, the ATF keeps a cross-reference website, that you can access by clicking this link: https://www.atfonline.gov/fflezcheck/