Don't Break Fed Gun Laws When Shipping Firearms - Claim Your Guns
Shipping guns? Remember federal law 18 USC 922(e); 27 CFR 47831(a) requires a non-licensee to provide written notice to the common carrier (FedEx, UPS, etc.) that the package contains a firearm. A violation of these provisions of the law is a federal criminal offense. And, yes, folks who haven't declared guns (lawfully owned by them) have been arrested and prosecuted. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Summary.
This is the same law that applies when traveling on an airline -- where you declare the gun and sign a card that goes in the gun case/carrier.
Internal corporate policies of the carriers, also can complicate matters. For example, FedEx has an internal policy against shipping a firearm to/from anyone other than an FFL. The work around is to ship the gun to yourself c/o a dealer (FFL). However, make sure to contact the dealer in advance to let them know you are shipping a package c/o them, and instruct the dealer NOT to open the package. If the dealer does open it and sees it's a firearm, the dealer has to enter it into their records as an acquisition and then for you to get the gun back the dealer would have to transfer it to you (NICS check, 4473 etc.) -- which can be problematic or impossible/illegal to transfer.
Before you ship, know the law and the carrier's rules. Not doing so could mean losing the firearm or worse, federal prosecution.
Carrier Firearms Shipping Rules - UPS and the U.S. Postal Service
Before shipping check with the carrier for current rules/internal policies, as they may change. In every case, the shipper is responsible for knowing all laws regarding firearms.
POMA Corporate Partner Gunbroker.com provides good information on shipping firearms on its website.
FedEx (Website, Mar. 13, 2012)
- Carrier will transport and deliver firearms as defined by the United States Gun Control Act of 1968, between areas served in the U.S., but only between:
- Licensed importers; licensed manufacturers; licensed dealers; licensed collectors; law enforcement agencies of the U.S. or any department or agency thereof; and law enforcement agencies of any state or any department, agency or political subdivisions thereof; or
- Where not prohibited by local, state and federal law, from individuals to licensed importers, licensed manufacturers or licensed dealers (and return of same).
- Carrier cannot ship or deliver firearms C.O.D.
- Upon presenting the goods for shipment, the person tendering the shipment to Carrier is required to notify Carrier that the shipment contains a firearm. The outside of the package(s) must not be marked, labeled or otherwise identify that the package(s) contains a firearm.
- The shipper and recipient must be of legal age as identified by applicable law.
- The shipper and recipient are required to comply with all applicable government regulations and laws, including those pertaining to labeling. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can provide assistance.
- Carrier will transport small-arms ammunition when packed and labeled in compliance with local, state and federal law, and the Hazardous Materials section of this Service Guide. Ammunition is an explosive and must be shipped separately as hazardous materials. You agree not to ship loaded firearms or firearms with ammunition in the same package.
UPS (Website, Mar. 13, 2012)
US Postal Service (Website, Mar, 13, 2012)
This is the general statement by the USPS on shipping firearms. Check the full company policy for more information.
The following conditions apply:
- Pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person (referred to as “handguns”) are nonmailable in the domestic mail, except as permitted in Exhibit 432.1and DMM 601.11.1.
- The disassembled parts of a handgun or other type of nonmailable firearm that can be readily reassembled as a weapon are nonmailable, except as permitted in Exhibit 432.1 and DMM 601.11.1 or 601.11.2.
- Unloaded antique firearms sent as curios or museum pieces are generally permitted, as specified in Exhibit 432.1 and DMM 601.11.2.
- Unloaded rifles and shotguns may be mailed if the mailer fully complies with the Gun Control Act of 1968 (Public Law 90—618) and
18 U.S.C. 921. The mailer may be required to establish, by opening the parcel or by written certification, that the gun is unloaded and not excluded from mailing because of the restrictions in 432.1b and c.
433 Mailer Responsibility
Even though certain types of firearms are permitted to be mailed within the provisions of the postal law in 18 U.S.C. 1715, it is the mailer’s responsibility to comply with all federal and state regulations and local ordinances affecting the movement of firearms.