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Shipping my lower reciever to myself: shouldn't be this complicated

Discussion in 'Legal' started by jhaines, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. jhaines

    jhaines Member

    Here's the short SITREP: My dad built an upper for me for Christmas. He lives in TX, I don't. We are flying in for a couple weeks for the holiday and I would like to take my lower with me so I can shoot the new upper while I'm there.

    Here's what I know is legal:

    I know I can ship a firearm interstate to myself.

    Here's where the confusion comes in. Is my lower considered a rifle or a handgun. My understanding is that it falls into the ATF's "Other Weapons" category but noone seems to agree on what that means. I've found some consensus on what it means if I were selling it, but since I'm only transporting it I can't seem to land on a definite answer. I know I could fly with it, but I'm traveling with my wife and 3 preschoolers so dealing with the TSA is less than convenient. It took almost an hour to check my EDC handgun last time I flew. Doing that with 3 kids is not really an option.

    Secondary question. Once it's a complete rifle and I want to ship it home does that change anything?

    It really shouldn't be this complicated.
  2. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Why don't you just declare it and put it in your checked luggage? (at least on the way there)

    Do you REALLY want that lower going through the madness that is package shipping this time of year?
  3. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    Why can't he mail the upper to you via US Post Office. Once it's assembled, that removes the question as to whether it is a rifle or handgun for shipping purposes.

    Personally, I agree with oneounceload. In the checked baggage is far easier and convenient. It takes me an additional 10 minutes when I fly with a gun.
  4. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

    Check it in your luggage and fly with it. Then ship the upper back separately. Easy.
  5. bobbo

    bobbo Member.

    Yeah, you're better off checking it. Mount the upper to it and check it back home again. Just show up at the airport early.

    Unless the lower is registered as a handgun (the vast majority are not), then it's a rifle. Even a stripped-out lower is a rifle. Doesn't matter if it has an upper or not. No "Any other weapon" crap unless the upper is too short to be a rifle (15.9" barrel or less). In that case, you need a federal tax stamp if it's got a buttstock.

    So again (assuming it's a rifle): 1) Check your lower and fly there. 2) Put the upper on the lower as a whole unit. 3) Check it on your way home.

    Can't control your kids? Get THIS.
  6. brickeyee

    brickeyee Well-Known Member

    It is an 'Other' under BATFE rules, and likely considered concealable and thus handgun by USPS.

    Either declare it in checked baggage (they do not care what the technical classification is) or have dad send you the upper (USPS works since it is NOT a gun), put it together, then you can ship it is a rifle using USPS, UPS, etc. without (IIRC) the overnight requirements since it is NOT a handgun.

    In many cases you will have to check the rules and laws VERY carfefully.

    Federal law restricts the sale of ALL firearms to 21 and up EXCEPT for long guns (rifles or shotguns).

    A receiver is NOT a long gun (just like a shotgun without a butt stock is not a shotgun under federal law, 'designed to be fired from the shoulder).

    Receivers qualify as firearms, but are neither long guns or handguns.
    If the particular law makes a distinction, a receiver may fall through the cracks (like no sales to under 21 EXCEPT long guns).
  7. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    You would be mistaken on two counts. First, you are confusing an "other firearm" classification on the form 4473 with the "any other weapon" classification of NFA controlled firearms. Two completely separate definitions.

    Second, a stripped-out lower is NOT a rifle. It is an "other" firearm which just means it is not a rifle or a shotgun, and not a handgun, but in no way places it into any NFA category.
  8. jhaines

    jhaines Member

    Not at my airport. I fly out of a smaller airport in SC. Everytime they have to radio for a TSA supervisor to come out from the secured area to tell them what to do. Most of the time I have to walk the TSA supervisor through the process using the regs that I've printed out and keep in my suitcase. It's never taken less than 30 minutes at my home airport (probably checked my handgun 10-12 times).

    When I fly out of Houston it doesn't even take 10 minutes. You tell them you need to check a firearm and they look at you with a "who doesn't?" expressions.
  9. jhaines

    jhaines Member

    Already got 3 of those!! :rolleyes:
  10. smalls

    smalls Well-Known Member

    Do you have an upper you can throw on it for the trip?

    Personally I wouldn't want to take the risk of it getting lost in the mail during the holiday season.
  11. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    That is incorrect. The other posters are correct. It is an other firearm and only becomes a rifle when it is assembled into rifle configuration. I have read at least one ATF OPINION letter indicating even if a butt stock is put on while just a lower it is still not a rifle but still an "other firearm."
  12. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member

    This is a interesting thread.

    Am I correct in understanding the O.P. can mail (USPS) his lower reciever to his Dad in Texas and then when he is ready to return home mail (USPS) the entire assembled firearm to himself?

    There is no requirement that a long gun (i.e reciever) has to be mailed (USPS) to a ffl?
  13. jhaines

    jhaines Member

    I definitely could if it were a "hunting rifle" or a shotgun "that has more than just a pistol grip". Ar-15s and their receivers in particular fall into this jacked up ill-defined grey area.

    As long as no one opens the box and "takes possession of the firearm" you can ship guns to yourself in care of other individual in other states where you intend to engage in lawful activities.

    The issue has to do with "concealability" so handguns, pistol grip shotguns, and apparently ar-15 receivers are out.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  14. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    No, you are not correct.

    [1] The receiver is a firearm under federal law, so all rules regarding interstate transfer apply. So the OP may not under federal law send the receiver directly to another person in another State.

    [2] ATF has commented that a person can ship a firearm to himself in care of someone else in another State. The package must be addressed specifically to the person whose firearm it is in care of the person receive the package, and the person receiving the package must not open it. As the ATF puts it (FAQs, emphasis added):

    [3] Someone without an FFL may ship only a rifle or shotgun by USPS. As has been discussed, an AR receive is not a rifle. See ATF FAQs (emphasis added):
  15. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member

    Got it.

    Just mail the reciever to yourself in Texas.

    Don't allow anyone but yourself to open the package.

    When ready to return home just mail the entire firearm back to yourself.

    Don't allow anyone but yourself to open the package.

    This is way to easy. Why screw around with airlines?

    For Intrastate it is legal for someone to mail long gun to someone else who is a legal resident of that same state.
  16. jhaines

    jhaines Member

    That's just it, I don't think I can mail the lower. Without the upper attached it's not considered to be a longgun by the ATF and therefore can't be shipped via USPS.
  17. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

    Go to the airport an hour ahead of the family by cab or bus. Check in the baggage with receiver locked in a pistol case. Have the family meet you at the airport an hour later. Really....checking a "handgun" in the bags is a lot easier than trying to ship a non-rifle/shotgun to yourself. Especially since it would be illegal to do it via US Post Office and against FEDEX and UPS company policies.

    And most airports in the US, checking the baggage with a firearm is only a 10 minute deal.
  18. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member

    Do you have a upper for your reciever now? If so just mail the entire firearm to yourself in Texas and then mail the entire gun plus your new upper from your Dad back to yourself.

    Or you could just call your regional BATF office.
  19. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Why spend all that time and money on freight costs when he can take the lower with him in his checked baggage? Some folks are WAY overthinking this thing
  20. smalls

    smalls Well-Known Member

    Because he has stated twice that he's not willing to do that.

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