Handguns and UPS

I'm sure you've heard about UPS's decision to restrict handgun shipments to Next Day Air, an option that costs about quadruple what it costs to ship via ground. We, the staff of GunAuction.com, view this as an abuse of a virtual monopoly to cash in on a captive market, while licking the boots of anti-gun elitists. That being said, I've received a number of suggestions detailing how we can work around the situation with UPS. After doing some digging, I came across the U.S. Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual which outlines what items can or can't be sent via U.S. mail. There is a section that deals with firearms specifically called Other Restricted or Nonmailable Matter.

Legal Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, and GunAuction.com can't be held liable in any way for your use of this advice. There is the common myth throughout the firearms community that firearms can't be shipped via U.S. Mail. This is, in fact, quite false. The following is a quote from Other Restricted or Nonmailable Matter:

"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."

Regarding rifles and shotguns...

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

Regarding the markings on your shipment...

"For any parcel containing a firearm or a ballistic or switchblade knife, any marking that indicates the contents is not permitted on the outside of the wrapper or container."

My advice? Since almost everyone is working through FFLs to transfer their firearms, or since most people using our service are FFLs themselves, use the U.S. Postal service to send your packages. It's cheaper than a private carrier, and perfectly legal as long as you're an FFL.

If you're not an FFL holder, and you didn't plan on using an FFL to transfer the firearm because it isn't required, it's a toss-up between paying for the costs of hiring an FFL holder to ship via USPS mail, and paying UPS Next Day Air shipping fees.

Some folks are being told that the USPS doesn't ship handguns, even if the person shipping is an FFL. Quite simply, what they're being told is wrong. Explain politely to the USPS employee that you're an FFL holder, and authorized by the U.S. government to ship via the USPS. If that doesn't work, get a supervisor to intervene and pull out the U.S. Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual and justify to you why they shouldn't ship it. They won't be able to justify their objections if you pull out the manual.

Hit UPS where it counts and send your packages via U.S. Mail, where possible. Yes, it's more inconventient. But it's better that you use another service that's less convenient, than patronize an organization that descriminates against gun owners everywhere.

-Manny DelaCruz

P.S. It's come to my attention C&R FFLs aren't covered by the above regulations. The argument goes that a C&R (Curio & Relic) FFL is a collector's license, while a normal FFL is a retail license. The ATF considers the above regulations to apply to retail licenses only. If I've got it wrong, somebody please rattle my cage and set me straight.

Someone was kind enough to send me Post Office Form 1508, required by the Post Office for any FFL to ship a firearm. This link required Adobe Acrobat Reader to view, as it's in PDF format.