Shipping a Handgun

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May 26, 2008
Been looking everywhere for this one, and just can't find it. My question, is when shipping a handgun, it must be shipped from an FFL. In most cases, it is shipped TO an FFL as well, and I know it can not be shipped to a resident's home unless they are also an FFL. However, I am wondering if a handgun can be shipped from an FFL to a Law Enforcement Office. As I understand it, it can be, but I'd like to make sure. Reason being, my Father is a Sherriff's Deputy, and I was just going to buy the gun, and have it shipped to him in MI rather than out here in California. Thanks a ton guys.
Federally, you must ship TO a FFL. You can take the pistol to UPS/FedEx and ship to your dad's local FFL. No need to send it from a dealer. However, on the LE part, that's for LE agency guns, not personal weapons.
If you are buying it,it has to be shipped to you. You can buy it as a gift for a family member but if you are the actual purchaser it must come to you. A handgun does not have to be shipped by an FFL dealer,anyone can ship one, but it has to be shipped overnight by Fed Ex or UPS. A dealer can ship a handgun by US Mail if he follows the mailing regulations.
"and I was just going to buy the gun, and have it shipped to him in MI"

I think there is a name for that ... "Straw Purchase".

My understanding is:

Handgun must be shipped -to- an FFL, who will then turn over to the -purchaser- and do the necessary paperwork. If the gun is then going to be transferred to someone else out of state, it needs to go -to- an FFL in that state to dealt with it there.

It does not -need- (legally) to be shipped -from- an FFL ... however:

1) Many FFL's will -not- accept a shipment from a non FFL
2) If you ship via FEDEX or UPS, you must follow THEIR rules (and pay their fees).
An FFL -can- ship via USPS, which means that even with the FFL fees tacked on it can be cheaper than having you ship yourself via FEDEX or UPS.

I don't know how -any- of this changes if your recipient is an LEO ... but I don't think it changes a thing.
From the atf,bob:

Shipping Methods:

B7) May a nonlicensee ship a firearm through the U.S. Postal Service?[Back]

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)]

(B8) May a nonlicensee ship a firearm by common or contract carrier? [Back]

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]

(B9) May a nonlicensee ship firearms interstate for his or her use in hunting or other lawful activity? [Back]

Yes. A person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in care of another person in the State where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner. Persons other than the owner should not open the package and take possession of the firearm.
"and I was just going to buy the gun, and have it shipped to him in MI"

I think there is a name for that ... "Straw Purchase".

No, that is not a straw purchase. It is gift. The OP made no mention of selling it to his father or using his father's money to buy it.
Heads up on shipping guns UPS or DHL, one of them for sure, maybe both don't allow firearms to be shipped and if you have it addressed to a gun shop in a small box that weighs a few pounds, don't plan on it getting there... Heard on a few forums some horror stories about guys shipping guns UPS or DHL and the box getting to the buyer empty or not making it at all... Small box, weighs a few pounds and going to a gun shop?? Someone is going to know it's a gun and steal it...

from forums:
Originally Posted by KILO1-1
"I sold my HK P2000 thru the sales forum here at HKPRO about two weeks ago to rtr688. i took the P2k to my FFL ( here in PA) who shipped it to his FFL in AZ. today i get a phone call from my FFL that the FFL in AZ called and said they got the package but the gun was missing! the box that the P2k was in was slit and opened then taped back up. the HK case, two mags, and the two holsters where still in the package but the gun was gone. just to be sure my FFL went back and watched his tapes from the camera in his store to be sure there was no funny stuff going on there. it was determined that somewhere from the time UPS picked up the P2k from my FFL (in PA), and the time it was delivered to his FFL (in AZ), the gun was stolen. it had to be someone working for UPS. Thank good i had the gun insured so Roger (rtr688) can get his money back. but that still doesnt change the fact that UPS has people working for them that stole the gun."

I would NEVER ship any gun via UPS. I have a UPS center in my patrol area and items are stolen from there all the time. Drivers have been caught dumping packages for later pickup and supervisors caught dropping stuff over the fence. Sorters cut small boxes open while in the back of the trucks in the morning. The only place worse is DHL!!!! I have both carriers in my area along with FedEx. Oddly enough FedEx does not seem to have any problems with theft or they just do not call.

If the person initially taking the package knows it is coming FROM or TO a gun dealer... there is a good chance it will be stolen.

When I had my MP5 shipped from TX.. the dealer boxed it with no gun markings and took it straight to the airport. He did NOT have FedEx come to his door!! That way the airport employee has no clue what the item is and it can go no place but right on the aircraft.

My class III dealer told me he stopped using UPS because so many guns were stolen in transit.
I've never had a problem with DHL or UPS but I've never shipped or received any guns through them, just remember hearing about some problems people had on here and other forums I've been on...
Never had a problem with UPS.
FedEx on the other hand held up an ammo shipment because they "wern't sure it was legal" and then insisted that I be there to sign for it as the adressee.
The NFA stuff they just dropped outside the door
DHL, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't ship guns. Your only two options for handguns as a non-FFL are UPS or Fedex. If you have an FFL or shipping a rifle, you can toss USPS in there as well.
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