How to form an S-corporation for Firearms


If you want to form an S-corporation for your firearms business, the process is relatively simple. To start, you must first determine if you are eligible for it; then, create the corporation. The rest of this guide will walk through the steps of forming it and show you how to avoid common mistakes along the way.

Who is Eligible for a Firearms Corporation?

If you are considering forming an S-corporation, the first thing to understand is that not all businesses are eligible. To qualify as an S-corporation, your business must meet all of the following requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien and have been so for at least 5 years prior to incorporation
  • Your corporation’s main office must be located in the United States.
  • You cannot have foreign shareholders who own more than 25 percent of the shares of your company (unless they are family members). Foreign shareholders who own 25 percent or less may receive dividends; however, those dividends will be taxed at 15%. Also note that if you live abroad, there may be additional restrictions on applying for an S-Corp due to tax laws regarding foreign entities

How to Form the Firearms Corporation

Once you’ve determined that an S-corporation is the best option for your business, follow these steps to form it:

Determine Your S-Corporation’s Name

You must give your S-corporation a name that is unique, not offensive and descriptive of the business. Your name should not be generic or a trademarked name (like “Smith Wesson Ammunition Company”). The name must also comply with all state and federal laws regarding corporate naming.

Your corporation’s name should not be the same as another corporation in existence anywhere in the country—this would prevent you from claiming that your corporation had exclusive rights to use its own name.

Choose a Registered Agent for Your Firearms Business

The role of a registered agent is somewhat similar to that of an attorney: they provide legal counsel and advice on how to file documents correctly with the state and follow their guidelines. They also help with filing fees and paperwork related to nonprofit corporations, which are often required when incorporating in certain states.

In addition to providing legal support, having a registered agent serves as proof that you have complied with all regulations set forth by each state’s government in order for them allow your business formation request through their process. In fact – in some cases – failure on behalf of an applicant’s part may result in fines being imposed upon them for violating rules set forth by those same states!

Prepare and File Articles of Incorporation in Washington, D.C

This is only necessary if you are starting a corporation yourself; if you are incorporating as part of your corporate structure, the Secretary of State will file it for you free of charge.

Draft Corporate Bylaws

You should write your corporate bylaws in a way that will give you complete control over decisions regarding the company, such as its leadership and the process for making investments and decisions on behalf of the corporation.

These documents should also include provisions for what happens if one or more of the owners dies or becomes disabled, so that there is no uncertainty about who will take over their shares if something happens to them.

Your corporate bylaws can also state that any shareholder vote must be unanimous unless otherwise specified in advance. If you’re writing this type of document yourself, make sure that everything is correct before filing it with your state government!

Hold the First Meeting of Your Board of Directors

The purpose of this meeting is to have all signatories on record as having joined or approved the corporation. You can hold a physical meeting, or you can do it by phone or video conference. If you choose to hold a physical meeting, you should mail out notice at least 10 days before the event.

Issue Stock Certificates to Shareholders

Stock certificates are tangible evidence of ownership in a corporation, and are often printed on paper or engraved onto metal. They’re usually signed by the secretary or president of the company and may be kept by shareholders as proof of ownership.

Most states require that shares be issued to individuals in writing; however, some states allow corporations to issue shares via email or other electronic means if certain requirements are met. The laws vary from state-to-state when it comes to how many people can own stock in one corporation—some states allow only one person per share while others allow multiple owners per share. If you’re looking for guidance on this subject, check out our article on issuing stock certificates for further details!

Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses for Your Gun Business

You will need a Federal Firearms License (FFL) in order to legally sell guns. You can apply for one by contacting your local police department or sheriff’s office. The application process takes about two weeks and costs around $200, though this varies based on location and other factors. Once you have been approved for an FFL, be sure to update all relevant pages on your business website with this information so that customers can find it easily when they search online!

Your business will also need to register itself with each level of government that has jurisdiction over where it operates: city/county/state/federal governments all have their own policies regarding these matters so be sure to check them out before applying any new laws onto yourself.


You can now start your firearms business as an S-corporation. The process is relatively straightforward, but there are some important steps to take. First, you’ll need to decide how many shares of stock will be issued and what the price per share will be. Then you’ll need to prepare and file Articles of Incorporation in Washington D.C., and choose a registered agent for the corporation. Finally, issue stock certificates to shareholders and obtain necessary licenses from local governments before opening up shop!

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