Don't Break Fed Gun Laws When Shipping Firearms - Claim Your Guns

FedEx LogoShipping 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.

UPS LogoInternal 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 ServiceUSPS Logo

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 provides good information on shipping firearms on its website.


FedEx (Website, Mar. 13, 2012)


  1. 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:
    1. 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
    2. Where not prohibited by local, state and federal law, from individuals to licensed importers, licensed manufacturers or licensed dealers (and return of same).
  2. Carrier cannot ship or deliver firearms C.O.D.
  3. 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.
  4. The shipper and recipient must be of legal age as identified by applicable law.
  5. 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.
  6. 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)


Special Procedures for Shipping Firearms
Use These UPS Services for Your Firearm Shipment
UPS accepts packages containing firearms (as defined by Title 18, Chapter 44, and Title 26, Chapter 53 of the United States Code) for transportation from and between licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, and licensed collectors (as defined in Title 18, Chapter 44 of the United States Code), law enforcement agencies of the United States (or of any department or agency of the United States), law enforcement agencies of any state or department agency (or political subdivision of any state), from and between persons not otherwise prohibited from shipping firearms by federal, state or local law, and when such shipment complies with all federal, state and local laws applicable to the shipper, recipient, and package.

  • Handguns, as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 921,will be accepted for transportation only via UPS Next Day Air Services, specifically, UPS Next Day Air® Early A.M.®, UPS Next Day Air®, and UPS Next Day Air Saver®. (Note: UPS Express CriticalSM Service is not available for firearms).
  • UPS accepts firearm parts for shipment, provided the part is not a "firearm" as defined under federal law; the contents of the package cannot be assembled to form a firearm; and the package otherwise complies with federal, state, and local law. (Note: Receivers or frames of a firearm, firearm mufflers and silencers are considered "firearms" and are accepted for transportation only if shipped in accordance with UPS's requirements for shipping firearms.)
  • UPS does not accept automatic weapons, including machine guns, for shipment.
  • Firearms (including handguns) and firearm parts are not accepted for shipment internationally.
  • UPS ReturnsSM Services are not available for packages containing firearms.
Follow These Packing Requirements
  • Packages containing handguns must be separated from other packages tendered to UPS for delivery.
  • All firearms are to be shipped in new corrugated packaging which meets the UPS Single Wall Box Strength Guidelines. Medium and large UPS boxes may be used for smaller shipments being shipped via UPS Express service.
  • All firearms are to be packaged in accordance with UPS Packaging Guideline Specifications.
  • Ammunition must be shipped separately from packages that contain firearms (including handguns). 
  • Ammunition will be transported only when packaged and labeled in compliance with 49 C.F.R. § 172 regarding hazardous materials shipments, and must be shipped in accordance with the UPS Guide for Shipping Ground and Air Hazardous Materials.
About Documentation and Labeling
  • The shipper must use Delivery Confirmation Adult Signature Required service for each package containing a firearm, including a handgun, and affix a UPS label requesting an adult signature upon delivery.
  • The labeling and outer box markings on all firearms shipments should not identify the contents as containing a firearm. Labeling, including the shipper's and consignee's abbreviated names on the shipping label or air shipping document, must be non-descriptive.
Getting Your Firearm Shipment to UPS
  • Firearms (including handguns) may be shipped only through a UPS Scheduled Pickup Account (specifically, Daily Pickup, Daily On-Route Pickup, UPS Smart Pickup®, and Day-Specific Pickup), or through a UPS Customer Center (counters at UPS operational facilities). Note: Firearms (including handguns) are not accepted for shipment via, UPS Drop Boxes, UPS On-Call PickupSM, or at locations of The UPS Store® or any third party retailer.
  • When you are shipping a package that contains a handgun, you must verbally notify the UPS driver or UPS Customer Center clerk.
  • See the terms and conditions in the UPS Tariff/Terms and Conditions of Service for information regarding firearm shipments.


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.

432 Mailability

432.1 General

The following conditions apply:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Unloaded antique firearms sent as curios or museum pieces are generally permitted, as specified in Exhibit 432.1 and DMM 601.11.2.
  4. 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.