A UPS DRIVER’S SUGGESTIONS FOR SHIPPING FIREARMS

Click on the Firearm Shipping Guide to View Guidelines

 

Overview (gunbroker.com)
This guide provides information about Federal Laws, step that must be followed, and notes on using specific shippers when shipping firearms. This page is oriented toward the seller of an item. If you need information about how to buy a firearm through GunBroker.com, please refer to our Buyer’s Tutorial.

This page contains information oriented toward persons shipping firearms within the United States. For sellers located outside the United States, please see our Import / Export page.

Shipping Legalities
Federal Law requires that all modern firearms be shipped to a holder of a valid Federal Firearms License (FFL) only. The recipient must have an FFL; however the sender is not required to have one. Any person who is legally allowed to own a firearm is legally allowed to ship it to an FFL holder for any legal purpose (including sale or resale).

Here is exactly what the ATF ‘Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide’ (ATF P 5300.4) says:
(B9) May a nonlicensee ship a firearm by carrier?
A nonlicensee may ship a firearm by carrier to a resident of his or her own state or to a licensee in any state. A common or contract carrier must be used to ship a handgun. In addition, Federal law requires that the carrier be notified that the shipment contains a firearm and prohibits common or contract carriers from requiring or causing any label to be placed on any package indicating that it contains a firearm. [18 U. S. C. 922( a)( 2)( A) and 922( e), 27 CFR 178.31](B8) May a nonlicensee ship a firearm through the U. S. Postal Service?
A nonlicensee may mail a shotgun or rifle to a resident of his or her own state or to a licensee in any state. Handguns are not mailable. A common or contract carrier must be used to ship a handgun. A nonlicensee may not transfer any firearm to a nonlicensed resident of another state. The Postal Service recommends that longguns be sent by registered mail and that no marking of any kind which would indicate the nature of the contents be placed on the outside of any parcel containing firearms.

‘Antique’ firearms need not be shipped to a licensed dealer. These can be shipped directly to the buyer. An antique firearm is a firearm built in or before 1898, or a replica thereof. The exact ATF definition of an antique firearm is:
Antique firearm. (a) Any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; and (b) any replica of any firearm described in paragraph (a) of this definition if such replica (1) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or (2) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

Knives, air guns, accessories, and most gun parts need not be shipped to an FFL holder. We say most gun parts because each firearm contains at least one part that the ATF considers a firearm. This part is typically the part that contains the serial number. This part must be treated as a complete firearm when shipping the item.

Ammunition must be clearly identified as ‘Small Arms Ammunition’ on the outside of the box. Some shippers treat ammunition as dangerous or hazardous materials.

The section of the US Code that governs modern firearms is called Commerce in Firearms and Ammunition (CFA). This code is available online at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_09/27cfr478_09.html

When in doubt, we suggest arranging for transfer through a licensed dealer. Violation of the CFA is a felony and penalties for violation of it are severe.

Federal and State Law Resources
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) has a very comprehensive site containing information about the various Federal and state laws regulating firearms. Please refer to the ATF information for legal questions regarding firearms.
ATF Home page: http://www.atf.gov
ATF Compilation of the various state laws: http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5300-5.pdf
ATF Firearms Division Main Page: http://www.atf.gov/firearms/industry/

Shipment by Unlicensed Persons
Any shipper who does not have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) is considered to be an ‘unlicensed person’. This section contains information on how unlicensed persons can ship firearms. If you have an FFL, please skip to the next section for shipping suggestions.

The most important thing to know is that you must only ship guns to a licensed dealer. If the buyer is not a licensed dealer, he will have to make arrangements to ship the item to a dealer in his state.

Before you ship a gun, the buyer must fax or mail you a copy of the dealer’s signed FFL license. You can only ship the gun to the address on the license. You must inform the carrier that the package contains a firearm. Of course, the firearm cannot be shipped loaded; ammunition may not be shipped in the same box. You should take the copy of the signed FFL with you when you take the item to be shipped in case the shipper wishes to see it.

Notes on specific shippers:

US Mail: An unlicensed person can ship a rifle or shotgun by US Mail. Unlicensed persons cannot ship a handgun by US Mail. Postal regulations allow the Post Office to open your package for inspection. Ammunition cannot be shipped by US Mail. You can search the US Post Office Postal Explorer site for specific USPS regulations regarding firearms and ammunition.

FedEx Express: FedEx will only ship firearms via their Priority Overnight service. Ammunition must be shipped as hazardous goods via Ground in compliance with ORM-D.

FedEx Ground: FedEx Ground will transport and deliver firearms (excluding handguns) as defined by the United States Gun Control Act of 1968, between areas served in the U.S. Ammunition must be shipped as hazardous goods via Ground in compliance with ORM-D.

UPS: UPS will accept handgun shipments by Next Day Air only. Rifles and shotguns can be shipped by UPS ground service. UPS will accept shipments of ammunition. Most other shippers will no longer accept firearm shipments. Airborne and Roadway have specifically prohibited firearm shipments.

Shipment by Licensed Persons
Any shipper who has a Federal Firearms License (FFL) is considered to be a ‘licensed person’. This section contains information on how licensed persons can ship firearms. If you do not have an FFL, please see the previous section of this page for shipping instructions.

Since licensed persons are responsible for knowing the law, we are going to assume that you already understand the CGA and know the applicable Federal, state, and local laws.

Notes on specific shippers:

US Mail: Licensed persons can ship a rifle, shotguns, or handguns by US Mail. In fact, we suggest that you use the USPS as it is now the most cost-effective way to ship a handgun. To ship a rifle or shotgun, you need only inform the Post Office that the package contains a firearm. A licensed manufacturer, dealer, or importer can ship a handgun via the US Post Office if the licensed dealer fills out a US Post Office Form PS 1508 and files it with the local Post Office branch where the handgun is to be shipped. You can search the US Post Office Postal Explorer site for specific USPS regulations regarding firearms and ammunition.

FedEx Express: FedEx will only ship firearms via their Priority Overnight service. Ammunition must be shipped as hazardous goods via Ground in compliance with ORM-D.

UPS: UPS will accept handgun shipments by Next Day Air only. Rifles and shotguns can be shipped by UPS ground service. UPS will accept shipments of ammunition.

Most other shippers will no longer accept firearm shipments. Airborne and Roadway have specifically prohibited firearm shipments.

Notes on USPS Firearm Regulations
We recommend that you read the Post Office regulations on Other Restricted or Nonmailable Matter before shipping a firearm through the US Mail.

The following info comes from the USPS Regulation DMM Issue 54, January 10, 1999, section C-024

Page C-39, section 3.0, Rifles and Shotguns: “Although unloaded rifles and shotguns not precluded by 1.1e and 1.2 are mailable, mailers must comply with the Gun Control Act or 1968, Public Law 90-618, 18 USC 921, et seq., and the rules and regulations promulgated there under, 27 CFR 178, as well as state and local laws. The mailer may be required by the USPS to establish, by opening the parcel or by written certification, that the gun is unloaded and not precluded by 1.1e.”

Page C-39, section 6.0, PROHIBITED PARCEL MARKING: “For any parcel containing a firearm or a ballistic or switchblade knife, any marking that indicates the contents is not permitted on the outside wrapper or container.”

The following pertains only to licensed dealers shipping handguns:

Page C-37, section 1.3, Authorized Persons: “Subject to 1.4, handguns may be mailed by a licensed manufacturer of firearms, a licensed dealer of firearms, or an authorized agent of the federal government…….”

Page C-38, section 1.5, Manufacturers and Dealers: “Handguns may also be mailed between licensed manufacturers of firearms and licensed dealers of firearms in customary trade shipments, or for repairing or replacing parts.”

Page C-38, section 1.6, Certificate of Manufacturers and Dealers: “A licensed manufacturer or dealer need not file the affidavit under 1.4, but must file with the postmaster a statement on Form 1508 signed by the mailer that he or she is a licensed manufacturer or dealer of firearms, that the parcels containing handguns (or major components thereof) are customary trade shipments or contain such articles for repairing or replacing parts, and that to the best of his or her knowledge or belief the addressees are licensed manufacturers or dealers of firearms.”

OmniaMors -
remember it is also perfectly legal to ship a gun to yourself without an FFL.

a_lol_cat -
There is a problem with your suggestion of “over-boxing”, dimensional weight on Air service. A 4 lb gun in a big box becomes a 20 lb shipment. A Medium UPS branded air box would seem to be a better solution to not have as good as a chance to run into the dim weight as well as not drawing undue attention to itself. And even the giant Sig Sauer blue pistol boxes will fit in a medium and should ship actual weight.

JudgeWhoAllowsStuff -
Dim weight?
a_lol_cat -
Dim weight = dimensional weight. It’s when you ship something that is big, say 24x24x24, but weighs only 5 lbs. You get charged for as though it was 70 lbs. There is 30 lb and 70 lb dim weight on ground. Air is much more picky, something say 20x12x8 could run 18 lb air dim air weight even if its actual weight was say 8 lbs.
tsr6
Try shipping something that is 39x23x21 – box contents are only 12lbs, ~15-16lbs total with box & padding.
I ship by UPS daily.
Kid_Robo -
Dim weight as Integer = package.weight.dimensional

steallingAs a gun owner and an 11-year UPS driver, I get a lot of questions from people regarding the safest way to ship and insure firearms through UPS. Theft of firearms and other items by UPS employees, ‘though rare, unfortunately does occur, but there are a lot of surprisingly simple and inexpensive ways to virtually guarantee that you won’t be a victim. Please pass this information along to anyone who may benefit from it.There are two things that cause thefts from UPS – pilfering and over-labeling.

1. Pilferers are mostly thieves of opportunity.Handguns, jewelry, cameras, and prescription narcotics are their favorite targets because they are easily identifiable and can quickly be shoved into a pocket or inside of a shirt, due to the SMALL SIZE of the packages they come in.The red and black “adult signature required” (ASR) labels that are legally required to be placed on these packages are often a dead giveaway. These labels are also called “steal-me sticker,” because thieves look for them. Most UPS facilities are fenced, and employees’ belongings are subject to searched exiting, so the size of the item is critical.

The BEST way to protect your handgun is to simply put it in a big box. One gunsmith on my route “disguises” his handguns by putting them in used Amway boxes! This works VERY well. Look at the box you are shipping your handgun in.If you can stick it inside your pants or under your shirt easily, it is vulnerable.As far as the ASR labels, you are required by law to have them on firearms shipments.

What many customers don’t know, however, is that they can get a more discreet ASR label that is incorporated into the UPS tracking label. These are better because the words “adult signature required” are very small and unnoticeable. More importantly, this barcode will electronically “prompt” the driver at the other end to get a signature. In case he accidently tries to “release” the package on the customer’s porch without getting a signature. He will be unable to do so because the DIAD (that electronic clipboard that you sign) will read the barcode and will force him to get a signature in order to complete the delivery. You can order these special tracking labels through your Customer Service rep, or you can print them yourself with the UPS shipping software.

2. Another more sophisticated method of theft is “over-labeling.” This involves several conspirators who plan ahead and may get jobs at UPS for that very purpose. What they do is to print up a bunch of fake labels, with generic barcodes and phony return addresses, that are all addressed to a storage unit or apartment that they have rented in advance. One or more employees who are sorting and processing these packages will then slap the phony label over the authentic one, and the package will then proceed along its merry way to the “destination,” where an unsuspecting driver will deliver it to another accomplice who signs for it using a fake name. This will go on for a week or so until the thieves move on to another address to avoid suspicion. Since the original barcode is covered up, it is impossible to even trace these packages and they simply “vanish.”

The thieves who do this will also target handguns and jewelry but, since they are not trying to sneak it past a guard, they have the freedom to target larger packages, such as rifles, TVs, and computers. How do you avoid this?

Solution

It’s simple. You put an address label on ALL SIX SIDES of the box. A package so labeled will be passed up by a prospective thief, since he must now try to cover up six labels instead of only one. This is too risky, since the areas where these packages are sorted are often under electronic surveil-lance.If you are a gunsmith or store owner who ships UPS, and the package you are shipping is worth over $1000, inform the driver who picks it up and have him initial the pickup record.

These “high value” packages are audited and are segregated from other packages. They are not sorted or run over conveyor belts, and they are subject to a chain-of-custody type of procedure that will prevent their being stolen. I feel 100% safe in saying that a handgun that is shipped in a larger-than-normal box of good quality, with a discreet ASR barcode, and with address labels on all six sides will NEVER get stolen or lost.

It’s unfortunate that a few of the 16 million pieces a day that we ship are in danger of being stolen but, if you take these simple precautions, you won’t be a victim.

Click here to see the updated visual presentation and abbreviated version of shipping firearms

Article source by A. Nony Mouse

12 Comments

  1. I live in the Buffalo, NY area. I have had a lot of trouble shipping two weapons back to the manufacturers for repairs. Both UPS and FedEx refused to “accept these weapons. I took them to my cabin in Pennsylvania and shipped them from there via FedEx with no problems. NY State…everyone here is afraid of Gov. Cuomo and the State Government in Albany 300 miles away!!!

  2. I just finished on the phone with the ATF. I am shipping an AR and a 9mm. The ATF stated that if this is not a sale or a transfer, you send it from yourself, to yourself to the location you are shipping to a private residence or business. You are recommended to pack it well, use tamper proof tape as listed by another poster for safety, not a law. The catch. The person on the other end by law, cannot open the box. It can only be opened by the shipper to comply with all laws. I explained that while this is not a transfer, we do more shooting in Texas than Al with my SIL there. As he stated, who would know who opened it or if you had been there in between, but above is the law. NOW, if you want to let them open and use them, you need to send them to an FFL weapons authorized seller, which them “Transfers” not ownership, to the person you have allowed to sign and pickup, they, as the FFL has already opened and inspected, can then be used by the people (within their own laws of their state) without the owner having to be there to open. So if not wrong, this just came out of the return call to me by the ATF local office here in ALABAMA

  3. thanks for the info ….

  4. Sorry, Kristy.

    You can send your own guns to yourself at another location, even a hotel. tournament shooters and hunters do it all the time.

    You can send a gun you sold to the buyers FFL, without having to use an FFL on your end.

    You can send guns inside your state to a purchaser without any FFL involvement.

    For good info go to Losttarget.com

    HM

  5. It is also legal for a private citizen to ship a LONG GUN (rifle or shotgun) to a gunsmith or repair facility through USPS. You must use tamper evident tape (paper tape), and it must be shipped Certified Mail. Much faster and much more secure, since accountable mail is VERY closely tracked. It’s a lot cheaper, too–I shipped rifles back to Springfield Armory on two separate occasions by taking them (already boxed, of course) straight into the post office and declaring it.

  6. “A person can not ship to a friend, family member etc. unless one is a holder of a FFL.”

    A person CAN ship it, but they would be violating an arbitrary law. There are many things we can do that are unlawful. The law does not prevent you from having the ability to do something, but it does inject consequences for violating the government dictate. This presents a risk management decision for each individual.

  7. It is not necessarily illegal to ship a firearm without an FFL involved. You may ship a firearm (a long gun at least) to yourself across state lines so long as you are able to legally posses it in the jurisdictions on both ends of the shipment. For example you can send one of your own rifles to yourself at a relatives address c/o that relative for you to receive at that relatives address. Since you are not transferring ownership an FFL is not required. You may have a hard time with the shippers involved but it is not, in and of itself, illegal.

  8. It is illegal to ship a firearm without a Federal Firearm License, Unless it is shipped to a manufacturer such as Smith & Wesson, Taurus, Sig, etc. The shipper or rcpt. needs to have a valid and current FFL. This information provided here is misleading. A person can not ship to a friend, family member etc. unless one is a holder of a FFL. This information is obtainable at this website: http://www.gunbroker.com/Support/SupportFaqView.aspx?faqid=1118

    • thanks for the updated info! The intent of this information is to raise the awareness of what can happen when criminal minded people game the system. Viewing the Firearms Shipping Guide from guns.com is a valuable source, and true a recipient must be FFL in standards. So the trick is to have the originating source (sender – person, company like Smith&Wesson, etc..) should be savy in ways to disguise the shipment yet abiding all legal standards to have the box shipped.

      • Cikea who is 07FFL/02SOT May 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm

        kristy is half right and half wrong. A non FFL can ship to a FFL, themselves(in any state that there firearm is legal) or anyone within the same state.

        Only a FFL can ship a Pistol legally with USPS, all pistols shipped by non FFL must go FedEx or UPS.

        You need a FFL to receive if you are Selling/gifting/transferring ownership across state lines.

    • It is funny (but not really) when people that don’t know what they are talking about speak so authoritatively.

  9. Not only does UPS have archaic gun-shipping rules, they are on the expensive side most of the time too. It’s why most FFLs today ship FedEx.

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