Why Do I need to tell UPS that it's a Gun?


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marklbucla
December 21, 2006, 01:03 PM
As long as I ship it Next Day Air according to their policy, why do I need to tell them that it's a handgun inside the box? Is it so that the clerk has a chance to deny it? Or to steal it?

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DMK
December 21, 2006, 01:05 PM
Because unlike the shipping method which is their rule, federal law requires you to tell them it's a firearm. It doesn't make sense (*), nor is it especially prudent, but it made some lawmaker somewhere feel good. Now follow your command like a good serf.

*Do they do anything different because you told the clerk this? No. Is the package safer? No. Do they even check to see if it's unloaded or properly packaged? No. Does it save any children? No.

Blackfork
December 21, 2006, 01:08 PM
I wonder if thats a Fed rule or a UPS rule? If it's a UPS rule, then they can go fish. They don't have muscle, jails, courts, judges, et, et to back up silly shipping rules against law abiding citizens. Only the Gov has those. If it's just company rules, I'd mark it "agricultural implements" or "machined parts" and ship it.

marklbucla
December 21, 2006, 01:08 PM
No it isn't.

The ATF FAQ says that you're supposed to tell people it's a gun, but the full reading of the law doesn't.

It's company policy, not federal law.

XD Fan
December 21, 2006, 01:11 PM
Any attorneys out there with expertise in this area?

DMK
December 21, 2006, 01:13 PM
http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#b8
(B8) May a nonlicensee ship a firearm by common or contract carrier?

A nonlicensee may ship a firearm by a common or contract 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), 922(a) (3), 922(a)(5) and 922(e), 27 CFR 478.31 and 478.30]

The ATF FAQ says that you're supposed to tell people it's a gun, but the full reading of the law doesn't. That's a bit stronger wording than "you're supposed to do that". I haven't looked up the specific codes, but even if it's not in there, isn't this an ATF ruling? That would certainly get you arrested and cost you big bucks to fight it.

marklbucla
December 21, 2006, 01:17 PM
The ATF FAQ says that you're supposed to tell people it's a gun, but the full reading of the law doesn't.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=2947738&postcount=9

MisterPX
December 21, 2006, 01:19 PM
On a more intimate note, if you don't tell them it's a gun inside and it disappears, they'll deny you any claims.

Henry Bowman
December 21, 2006, 01:20 PM
18 United States Code Section 922(e):

(e) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to deliver or
cause to be delivered to any common or contract carrier for
transportation or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce, to
persons other than licensed importers, licensed manufacturers,
licensed dealers, or licensed collectors, any package or other
container in which there is any firearm or ammunition without
written notice to the carrier that such firearm or ammunition is
being transported or shipped; except that any passenger who owns or
legally possesses a firearm or ammunition being transported aboard
any common or contract carrier for movement with the passenger in
interstate or foreign commerce may deliver said firearm or
ammunition into the custody of the pilot, captain, conductor or
operator of such common or contract carrier for the duration of the
trip without violating any of the provisions of this chapter. No
common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag,
or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package,
luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other
container contains a firearm.

DMK
December 21, 2006, 01:21 PM
Interesting letter marklbucla. Thanks for linking to that.

So I guess you answered your own question then, no?

jungleroy
December 21, 2006, 02:43 PM
My appologies all, do what you feel is in your best interest.

RNB65
December 21, 2006, 02:53 PM
Disassembly firearm into parts, now no longer a firearm.

Incorrect. The ATF considers the receiver/frame a firearm. If you're shipping a stripped receiver, you're shipping a firearm.

ocabj
December 21, 2006, 02:56 PM
I've sold/traded many long guns and long gun receivers. I have always used UPS. I have had zero problems going to the UPS staffed location and shipping a firearm. I've always told the guy processing the package that it's a firearm (non-handgun) with no hassles. I always have the receiver's FFL and tell them I have it and show it, but they don't even bother to look at it.

GunNut
December 21, 2006, 03:52 PM
ocabj,

My experience has always been exactly the opposite of yours.

The local UPS shipping center here, always hassles me and tells me that I have to be a FFL dealer to ship any gun with them.

steve

orionengnr
December 21, 2006, 04:05 PM
If it is not an actual UPS staffed office, yes, you will likely have difficulties.

If you go to an actual UPS Shipping Hub (or whatever they call it) and bring a printed copy of their rules (from their website) it will be pretty difficult for them to refuse you (voice of experience here).

GunNut
December 21, 2006, 04:08 PM
The one that I go to is actually a UPS staffed distribution hub, and they still don't know their own rules.:rolleyes:

Steve

RNB65
December 21, 2006, 04:11 PM
I've shipped guns from my local UPS hub on several occasions. I've always told the clerk I was shipping a firearm and they could have cared less. No problems at all.

I love the big brown truck of happiness. :)

DMK
December 21, 2006, 05:00 PM
I have always used UPS. I have had zero problems

The local UPS shipping center here, always hassles me and tells me that I have to be a FFL dealer to ship any gun with them.

If you go to an actual UPS Shipping Hub (or whatever they call it) and bring a printed copy of their rules (from their website) it will be pretty difficult for them to refuse you (voice of experience here).

The one that I go to is actually a UPS staffed distribution hub, and they still don't know their own rules.

I've shipped guns from my local UPS hub on several occasions. I've always told the clerk I was shipping a firearm and they could have cared less. No problems at all.


It greatly depends on who's working behind the counter and what their own level of arrogance is (kinda like some gunshops no? ;) ).

I have gotten both scenarios at both my local official UPS staffed depots (ie. the ones with lots of big brown trucks coming and going from there).

I had one lady who refused to ship 30.06 ammo even when I showed her the law in my C&R legal book. Then I called their own 1-800 number on my cell and verified it was OK. Still no way, she told me she knew better than them because she was some kind of security expert. :scrutiny: I finally when back to the same center on a different shift and the girl said no problem, the other woman was full of it. :mad:

In light of the above info from the ATF, it's probably best to pre-pay online and adopt a don't ask, don't tell policy.

El Tejon
December 21, 2006, 05:25 PM
Mark, why? Because it's federal law and the feds have a bunch of guns and prisons.:D Have never seen it prosecuted though, at least IME.

Yes, tell them. No big deal. I am continually shipping out firearms.

Jim K
December 21, 2006, 07:03 PM
There is a rationale behind the wording of the law. Prior to GCA 68, it was legal for anyone to ship a firearm in interstate commerce to anyone else. (Lee Harvey Oswald bought his Carcano by mail order, and it was widely reported that teen gang members were able to purchase handguns by mail simply by signing a form saying they were 21.) The law changed that in regard to interstate shipments by effectively banning shipments to non-licensees, but intra-state shipments to non-licensees are still legal.

The law specifically says that disclosure does not have to be made for shipments to licensees, no matter where located, but does require disclosure for shipments to non-licensees. This is so the carrier can determine whether to deliver or not. If the person receiving the package is obviously a minor, or there is some other reason to be suspicious, the carrier has the discretion not to make the delivery.

The carrier companies know this, but have chosen to extend the disclosure to all firearms shipments, in order to cover their fannies. Since disclosure is in the contract, if you don't go along, and something happens, they can sue your socks off, even if there is technically no law violation.

The USPS is different. Their disclosure rules apply to all mailings, and have the force of federal law. Period.

Jim

Juna
December 21, 2006, 07:10 PM
The law specifically says that disclosure does not have to be made for shipments to licensees, no matter where located, but does require disclosure for shipments to non-licensees.

If I'm reading this correctly, then as long as you're having it shipped to an FFL (which I thought was the law), then you don't have to declare that it's a firearm.

orionengnr
December 21, 2006, 09:23 PM
Jim--
You've been at this longer than I, so I give your statement due weigh.

Having said that, given prior posts on this thread, specifically the quote from Federal law, I am unable to reconcile this to your statement.

18 United States Code Section 922(e):


Quote:
(e) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to deliver or
cause to be delivered to any common or contract carrier for
transportation or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce, to
persons other than licensed importers, licensed manufacturers,
licensed dealers, or licensed collectors, any package or other
container in which there is any firearm or ammunition without
written notice to the carrier that such firearm or ammunition is
being transported or shipped; except that any passenger who owns or
legally possesses a firearm or ammunition being transported aboard
any common or contract carrier for movement with the passenger in
interstate or foreign commerce may deliver said firearm or
ammunition into the custody of the pilot, captain, conductor or
operator of such common or contract carrier for the duration of the
trip without violating any of the provisions of this chapter. No
common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag,
or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package,
luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other
container contains a firearm.

Please help me to see what I am missing.

These threads show up pretty frequently. Someone always posts the BATFE website FAQ, and that is fine albeit abbreviated, so someone always challenges it as a "talking point" and not "the letter of the law" .

Henry's attached posting of the actual wording of the law looks pretty clear. I can't find any loopholes in it, and I'll not bet my continued freedom on my ability to talk my way out of it... :uhoh:

El Tejon
December 21, 2006, 09:59 PM
The threshold question is whether you are shipping across state lines to a licensee or not.

If so, no duty to disclose (may be contractul obligations as Jim mentioned). If not, disclose that puppy.:)

razorburn
December 21, 2006, 10:08 PM
Orion, what part of quote is in disagreement with what Jim just said? That law says "for
transportation or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce", which means it doesn't apply to the intrastate thing Jim was talking about.
It also exempts you of the need to give notice to the carrier if they're licensed dealers.

EmGeeGeorge
December 21, 2006, 10:26 PM
go fedex.... they'll pickup at your door...

orionengnr
December 22, 2006, 12:12 AM
ummm...which part of this discussion dealt specifically with intrastate shipment?

Jim's brief disclaimer aside (and understood) neither the OP nor any subsequent posts talked about a deal conducted between two people (of whatever status) in the same state.

The OP and subsequent posts talked about the necessity to disclose to UPS/FEDEX that the package contains a firearm.

This subject comes up regularly, and a variety of (questionable) advice is dispensed...

These discussions relate primarily (implicitly, if not explicitly) to shipping across state lines, and that is where the potential for legal entanglements arises.
I will err on the side of caution, and any advice I dispense (or follow) likewise...

Zak Smith
December 22, 2006, 12:36 AM
The part to note is,

persons other than [...] licensed dealers,

If shipping to an FFL, it clearly does not apply.

Car Knocker
December 22, 2006, 01:51 AM
Jim's brief disclaimer aside (and understood) neither the OP nor any subsequent posts talked about a deal conducted between two people (of whatever status) in the same state.
One thing to be aware of is that even though it may be a shipment between two people in the same state, the package may travel out of the state in some circumstances thus triggering a federal interest. For example, I once ordered something from southern Utah to be shipped to Salt Lake City via UPS. The package traveled from Utah through Arizona, Nevada, California, Nevada (again), and finally arrived in SLC.

wildburp
December 22, 2006, 02:03 AM
Yeah, I shipped an old, beat up Abrams A1 to Washington state. The UPS driver did not know it was a tank until he got there and ran over a Volkswagon. It was legal, because there was no company rule forbidding destroying Volkswagons, and the tank was delivered ok, in A1 shape, as promised.

wb

deadin
December 22, 2006, 01:02 PM
Why Do I need to tell UPS that it's a Gun?
Maybe because you have signed a contract with UPS and part of that contract requires that you disclose what is in the package?
Lying on a contract is not anything that can get you charged with a criminal infraction, but it could open you up to civil action. At the least it voids the contract and UPS would have no liability for failing to fulfill any obligation they may have had.

Geno
December 22, 2006, 01:16 PM
I believe that it's mostly about the $$$. I don't buy for one second that they need to know. Why does the bank not need to know what's in your safety deposit box? No, I am convinced, it's all about the money. It also creates a business database that can be accessed to see where the guns are "flowing". Just my two cents.

Doc2005

Doc
December 22, 2006, 10:47 PM
Hello El Tejon!
Merry Christmas to you (and everyone else)

what if you are shipping the gun to yourself?

say you are returning from rural west texas, in the hill country
and stop at the...Mountain Home, TX post office OR
the UPS store in, oh say, Kerrville TX
and ship said long gun or pistol to yourself at your home address?

El Tejon
December 22, 2006, 10:56 PM
Hey, Doc, how's the practice. The Blonde had to go to Chicago for bidness so I home doing laundry. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Did you see the guns I'm getting the oldest two nephews? http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=229268&highlight=Arming+sobrinos

What are you getting the boys?

You crossing state lines, say Tejas to Big Island, Mitchigun? You a licensee, Doc? *cough, cough, another reason to get your C&R, Doc, cough, cough*

If yes, and then no to the above, as they say down Souf, I doooo declare.:D

BTW, I've never seen or heard of this prosecuted but Hammond and Indy are not exactly hotbeds of federal gunrunning prosecutions

Jim K
December 22, 2006, 11:05 PM
There are a couple of issues here. One is that the ATF FAQ (deliberately or not) goes beyond what the law says. Since the law (generally) prohibits shipping a gun in interstate commerce except to a licensee, the LAW does not require disclosure to the carrier. But the carrier may require disclosure to cover his own fanny in regard to liability on his part for loss, theft, or misdelivery of a firearm.

The idea that intrastate shipment was not mentioned is a nitpick. The law specifically says "interstate or foreign commerce"; that means that intrastate shipment is not covered by that section of the law.

As to a shipment from a city in one state to another city in the same state, for the purposes of the law that is an intrastate shipment, regardless of where the truck or airplane may go in order to reach the destination.

Jim

Blackfork
December 22, 2006, 11:06 PM
Example # 9,999,999,999 of how the gov has completely screwed up anything it touches. Shipping a gun ought to be as regulated as shipping a popsicle stick, and popsicle sticks ought not be regulated at all.

Jim K
December 22, 2006, 11:18 PM
Just for info to the younger folks. After the JFK assassination, we were damned lucky to not have a total ban on guns. There were a lot of bills introduced in Congress and the state legislatures to do just that. After the RFK and MLK killings, we were lucky to get by with GCA 68. There was plenty of pressure for a total ban on handguns and rifles. The idea that the government would let sleazy gun dealers keep shipping guns to teenage gangs and would-be assassins without any controls just wasn't going to fly.

So dream on about unrestricted gun purchases and shipping popsicle sticks; rant away about your Second Amendment rights. But a whole lot of people worked damned hard to keep what we have now. Things could be a helluva lot worse.

Jim

Car Knocker
December 22, 2006, 11:36 PM
As to a shipment from a city in one state to another city in the same state, for the purposes of the law that is an intrastate shipment, regardless of where the truck or airplane may go in order to reach the destination.
I believe I read some time ago about the feds taking jurisdiction in a computer/child pornography case because the electronic signal traveled out of state to a phone company switching center on it's way from city to city in the same state. I'm not so assured as you are about the feds not taking jurisdiction in a similar firearms case, especially with the example of the recent permissive USSC rulings re: the Commerce Clause.

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