Post Office and Firearms Shipping


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Birddog1911
January 6, 2009, 10:55 AM
Hello all,
I went to my little podunk post office this morning to ship something off, and mentioned that I will be shipping a rifle in the next couple of days, and wanted to know some of the requirements. First, the worker said if it was a rifle, which it is, it does NOT have to go to an FFL.
Since this runs contrary to everything I've heard, we look it up in a couple of regulations. The only thing it said was about compliance with GCA of 68, and 18 U.S.C. something or other. Without being able to look those up, I still think the safest course of action is to ship it to an FFL. Just wondering what anyone else has heard.

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ammoeater
January 6, 2009, 11:22 AM
Are you mailing out-of state? I believe that is where the distinction lies. According to the ATF's FAQ:

(B7) May a nonlicensee ship a firearm through the U.S. Postal Service?

A nonlicensee may not transfer a firearm to a non-licensed resident of another State. A nonlicensee may mail a shotgun or rifle to a resident of his or her own State or to a licensee in any State. The Postal Service recommends that long guns 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. Handguns are not mailable. A common or contract carrier must be used to ship a handgun.

[18 U.S.C. 1715, 922(a)(3), 922(a)(5) and 922 (a)(2)(A)]

It appears to me you can legally mail, via USPS, a long gun to an unlicensed (no FFL) resident of your home state. If it is shipping to another state, the recipient must have an FFL.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. :rolleyes:

everallm
January 6, 2009, 11:23 AM
In state transfer or out of state transfer, two different beasts, sending to a manufacturer for repair or to an individual?

deadin
January 6, 2009, 11:26 AM
Have your Postmaster check their DMM601 Section 11.3.

11.3 Rifles and Shotguns
Although unloaded rifles and shotguns not precluded by 11.1.1e and 11.1.2 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 the USPS to establish, by opening the parcel or by written certification, that the gun is unloaded and not precluded by 11.1.1e.

The GCA68 and 27CFR178 clearly state that if a firearm is being sent out of state, it must go to a FFL. (There are some exceptions, but for general purposes, an FFL is required.)

For handguns and USPS, a FFL is required on both ends. Long guns, in State don't need any FFL involvement, unless your State has laws to the contrary.

jimmyraythomason
January 6, 2009, 11:37 AM
Do state laws have any effect on USPS regulations? The latter being Federal.

Art Eatman
January 6, 2009, 10:13 PM
jimmyray: No. State regs can affect you insofar as registration or transfer, but that doesn't affect any postal regs.

A state might require that all deals go through an FFL, for instance, which would mean mailing only to an FFL. But the USPS folks wouldn't care; not their problem.

jimmyraythomason
January 7, 2009, 12:46 AM
Thanks Art (it was a rhetorical question). Federal law ALWAYS trumps state law.

EOD Guy
January 7, 2009, 12:56 PM
Thanks Art (it was a rhetorical question). Federal law ALWAYS trumps state law.

Not as far as firearms regulations are concerned. The federal regulations (27CFR) require compliance with state laws and the postal regulations require compliance with 27CFR when mailing firearms. So, a state law could afect the legality of mailing a firearm.

(I think I got a headache writing that!:))

burk
January 8, 2009, 12:59 PM
Right but that wouldn't effect the MAILING of the firearm anyway because the State is not able to regulate the Postal service because that violates the interstate commerce laws. ALL SALES have to abide by State regulations on BOTH ends of the Transaction. So you couldn't ship a banned .50 cal to CA for instance. But that is true of all firearms transactions. I've shipped a few long guns thru the USPS (they do have the best rates) and the USPS personnel are for the most part vastly unaware of the regulations. None have ever asked me for FFL information. I make it a point of telling them I'm sending it to a dealer.

deadin
January 8, 2009, 01:29 PM
The postal regulations read:
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
So it sounds to me that it is the responsibilty of the sender to obey the rules, not of the post office to enforce them.

Art Eatman
January 8, 2009, 01:38 PM
BATFE regs are stickied at the top of the Legal Forum page.

My answer was predicated on an intra-state mailing, not an inter-state mailing. Inter-state, it's gotta go to an FFL, SFAIK, with the FFL's license #.

In Texas, I can mail a long gun to a buyer who is also in Texas--without going through an FFL. If the buyer is out-of-state, it must be mailed to his FFL. But Texas has no additional restrictions on ownership or transfer beyond what the Feds require.

If I am going to some other state to compete or to hunt, I can mail a rifle to myself without going through any FFL.

Handguns cannot be mailed; UPS or FedEx.

Art Eatman
January 8, 2009, 01:38 PM
BATFE regs are stickied at the top of the Legal Forum page.

My answer was predicated on an intra-state mailing, not an inter-state mailing. Inter-state, it's gotta go to an FFL, SFAIK, with the FFL's license #.

In Texas, I can mail a long gun to a buyer who is also in Texas--without going through an FFL. If the buyer is out-of-state, it must be mailed to his FFL. But Texas has no additional restrictions on ownership or transfer beyond what the Feds require.

If I am going to some other state to compete or to hunt, I can mail a rifle to myself without going through any FFL.

Handguns cannot be mailed; UPS or FedEx.

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