A Curio and Relic license (C&R) is a collector’s license issued by the ATF, or as they are now known, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  This license allows you to have certain firearms shipped directly to your house without needing to go through, or pay transfer fees, through a Federal Firearms License holder.

When you get a C&R license, don’t think you can order the latest Glock or Smith & Wesson and bypass all the background checks. The C&R license is typically for relic firearms, like the one you’d find hanging on your grandfather’s living room wall. The AFT lists a few different categories about what makes firearm a curio and relic firearm with one being that it was manufactured at least 50 years ago.  However, that doesn’t mean that it must be 50 years old. For example, one C&R eligable firearm is the CZ-82, a Czechoslovakian police and military sidearm used in the 1980s and 90s. If you get one of those it could be around 20 years old.

You can find a complete list of what the ATF considers to be a C&R firearm here. (Warning, 6MB PDF).

Use your favorite search engine and search “C&R firearms for sale” and you’ll get a bunch of hits.

Applying for a C&R is 3 easy steps.

  1. Fill out Form 7CR, also known as:  ATF F 5310.16
  2. Submit the form along with payment
  3. Wait 6-8 weeks for the response from the ATF.

The form is relatively simple to fill out. I’ve provided an example below.

The first part of the application, steps 1-7 is where you fill in Name, address, phone, and type of application (individual, corporation, etc ). When you enter your phone number, enter only 10 digits, no dashes as the PDF form should auto fill the formatting.

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The next part of the application, step 8, is how you are paying for the license. I hope you can figure that out on your own.

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Step 9 on the form is specifics about every individual owner, partner, or person responsible for the business. If applying as an individual, then most of it will be a duplicate of what you entered in the first few steps of the form.

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Section 10 on the form is for “Nonimmigrant Alien Certification”. I’m guessing that most of you will leave this section blank.

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Section 11 on the form is where you start answering a lot of Yes/No questions.  An example is provided here but make sure you enter truthfully and explain all “Yes” answers on a separate sheet

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Steps 12 and 13 on the form continue the Yes/No questions.

For step 14, read, and if you agree, initial each box.  Also fill in the name and address for the “Chief Law Enforcement Official for your City, Village, or Town. Typically this would be the Chief of Police. If your area has no local police presence then it would be your county sheriff.

Step 15, sign and date.

That is the end of the form.

When you print you’ll notice a 2nd copy will be included, only the credit card information will be blacked out. The 2nd copy says “Copy 2- CLEO” on the bottom.  This copy is to be delivered to the person designated in step 14, the Chief Law Enforcement Official.  As I understand it, the CLEO doesn’t have to approve your application, but this gives them the opportunity to review it and comment to the ATF if needed. I certainly hope you haven’t had trouble with law enforcement in your area or it could spell trouble for you.

Print the form, write out a check for $30 (or make sure your credit card information is entered in the form), and mail both copies. Deliver one to the Chief Law Enforcement Official, the other goes to:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
P.O. Box 409567
Atlanta, GA 30384-9567

Now sit back,  relax, and be patient. This may be the longest 2 months of your life.

While you are waiting, start doing some research on what you want your first purchase to be.  You can also take this time to stock up on one of the supply items that you’ll need, that being a log book. Personally, I like the BookFactory® C&R FFL 03 Bound Book (you can find it at your favorite online bookstore). It has space for the required information, as well as a picture section where you can include a photo of the firearm. It works out well for a collection, since the C&R license if for collectors.

After you get your license, make several copies of it, and another suggestion, scan it or take a good picture of it on your camera or smartphone.   DO NOT SIGN THE ORIGINAL.  You’ll need a clean copy of the original to fill out and submit to any business where you purchase C&R firearms.

Shopping for your first C&R purchase

As I mentioned earlier you can search the web for “C&R firearms for sale” and you’ll get a bunch of places to pick from. Most of those dealers sell more than just C&R firearms, but they will typically have a C&R section or designate certain firearms as C&R eligible.

There are two places that I can recommend: JGSales.com and aimsurplus.com

When you get for C&R firearm in the mail, document it in your bound book (that I told you to purchase when you mailed your application). You need to record the Manufacturer and/or importer, Model, Serial Number, Type, Caliber, Date, and Name/Address of where it was purchased.

Have fun building your collection.