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Shipping Firearms

Discussion in 'Legal' started by divemedic, Nov 18, 2007.

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  1. divemedic

    divemedic Member

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    Forgive me if this is one of subjects that is beat to death like CCW badges or post office carry, but I am looking for some facts.

    Last year, I wanted to send 4 of my Sigs in to the Sig Arms factory to get some trigger work done. I tried to ship them via UPS and FedEx, but they would not accept the shipment, claiming that I was not an FFL and could not ship firearms of any kind. A call to the customer service lines, and UPS would not accept them at all, while FedEx was going to require me to overnight them at a significantly higher price.

    I checked around and found this law:

    Once I read this, I took it to meant that I did not have to declare them, so I put "machined parts" on the form and sent them ground. I got them back from the plant, no problems.

    Then, last month, I bought a book called "Florida Firearms: Law, use, and ownership, Sixth Edition." It is written by a Florida Attorney by the name of Jon Gutmacher. I found it to be a good read, and he used good back up, with a couple of exceptions.

    One of those exceptions was the statement that it is a felony to ship a handgun via commercial carrier, unless you declare to the carrier that it is a handgun. I emailed him, and included a copy of the law. His only reply was "I think you are incorrect, and so does the ATF."

    He did not include any back up or reference for his opinion. My girlfriend is a paralegal, so we have access to Lexis. I searched and could not find a single case that contradicted my opinion and supported his.

    Does anyone have any information on this topic?
     
  2. Telperion

    Telperion Member

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  3. Mojo-jo-jo

    Mojo-jo-jo Member

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    UPS told you wrong. They DO ship firearms. Fedex does as well, but is more expensive. You should have asked for a supervisor.

    See: http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/prepare/guidelines/firearms.html

    Basically, according to shipper's policy, you do have to declare. UPS will ship long guns ground but requires handguns go overnight. IIRC, Fedex requires all guns go overnight ($$$).

    While it is *legal* not to declare a firearm when shipping to a licensee (see letter in post above), it is not a good idea. If the firearm is lost/stolen/damaged, you will not be able to collect any insurance due to your failure to comply with company regulations/policies. Furthermore, it may be *illegal* in state law. My state of Georgia requires that a firearm be declared if it is brought on to (or even near) the property of a common carrier--however this is an unusual state law that was a knee jerk reaction to 9/11.

    In my dealings shipping firearms with UPS, the tell me that they will only ship if at least one end is an FFL, meaning that you can ship to a dealer/manufacturer or a dealer/manufacturer can ship to you. According to their policy, you can not ship to another non-licensee. They tell me additionally that if you are a non-licensee that they will not ship to a residential address unless you have a copy of an FFL with that address on it.

    In my experience UPS is much cheaper than Fedex for firearms, and if you have to use overnight (handgun) you can use "next day air saver" which will save you about $10-15 over regular next-day air.
     
  4. esq_stu

    esq_stu Member

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    Several times I had to tell the FEDEX clerk to call corporate and get instructions. After the wait for the call, the shipment always went out.
     
  5. divemedic

    divemedic Member

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    That's great, but now it throws a pall over the rest of the book. I don't know what I can believe in it or not.

    As far as insurance, I declare the parts are machined parts, and that the value is $X. If they lose it, they pay.

    It is my understanding that the "overnight" rule was because too many UPS employees were stealing guns. IMO, your lack of ability to control your employees does not constitute a requirement for me to pay you more money.
     
  6. Mojo-jo-jo

    Mojo-jo-jo Member

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    I agree with your sentiment, however, it's their sandbox and you have to play by their rules. If you don't like them you are free to get your transportation services elsewhere. UPS and FEDEX are both private companies and can determine what they will and will not transport, as well as what their terms are for doing so.

    Not if they determine that it is/was a firearm. Trust me, insurance is looking for any reason NOT to pay, and by showing that it was not shipped in accordance with company rules for shipping, you have just voided your insurance coverage. Once you are required to verify the valuation of the contents (ie. provide a receipt or appraisal), the "machined parts" description will fly right out the window, at least as far as the insurer is concerned. In an insurance claim, you will be required to submit an affidavit describing the contents and valuation exactly. If they catch you lying on this, you can go to jail for insurance fraud.

    I have a fair amount of experience shipping many items, including firearms, for both personal and business purposes. Insurance is a sham, and they will try to find any reason not to pay. I recently shipped some computer equipment via UPS that arrived damaged. They refused to pay insurance because, according to them, the packaging was inadequate. The packaging in question: A DOT certified original shipping crate specifically designed for this equipment.
     
  7. Telperion

    Telperion Member

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    Why not just write SIG mod. P22x s/n #xxxxxx in the shipping declaration and otherwise stay quiet? That way you've given a perfectly faithful description of the contents for insurance purposes and I've never seen one of those clerks ask questions.
     
  8. divemedic

    divemedic Member

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    True, and as a private individual, I am free to not disclose what is in my package, as long as I am within the law.

    As you said, if they do not want to pay the insurance claim, that is up to them, and they will refuse to pay regardless of whether or not I disclose the contents. That is what lawsuits are for. As long as I can convince a court that my refusing to be specific on the shipping declaration had nothing to do with the carrier losing or damaging my package, I will get my money.
     
  9. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

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    Your need to ship firearms does not give you the right to tell me how to run my business. If you dislike company policy, dont ship through them. Go somewhere where they will ship as you like.
     
  10. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

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    Apparently you did not read the letter sent out by the ATF. You have to declare that iti is a firearm. It is the law.

    Why do so many people try to circumvent the law and give suggestions. If you dont like it change the law, and until it is changed follow it!!!
     
  11. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Because that likely doesn't count as "disclosure" which the rules state must be done. It's not a matter of describing what's in the package - it's about declaring the package contains a firearm. Also - what good is it to write in the brand/model/serial of the gun, if the clerks/package handlers don't know what a SIG model whatever even is?

    And I agree with others above - you may be allowed within the law to NOT disclose what the package really contains, but when you CHOOSE to pay them to ship said package, you must ACCEPT their terms. Just like they can set the terms for their business, you can choose not to patronize that service if you don't like the rules. But playing the "I have the law on my side" card doesn't really work.
     
  12. divemedic

    divemedic Member

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    Read the law again, and tell me where it says that:

    27 CFR 478

    §478.31 Delivery by common or contract carrier.

    (a) No person shall knowingly deliver or cause to be delivered to any common or contract carrier for transportation or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce to any person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, 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: Provided, 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 that trip without violating any provision of this part.
     
  13. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    What's so hard to understand about "their rules are their rules"?

    I mean honestly - just because it's ok as far as Federal law goes, doesn't mean the state's laws don't override that. And it also doesn't mean that the company that you're dealing with has no right to make their own rules governing the way that you're allowed to ship items with them.

    Seriously - if you don't like it, don't use them! Why is it such an issue with you to purposefully go against the rules of a business that you have no obligation to patronize in the first place just because you disagree with they way they do things?
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2007
  14. yardgoat

    yardgoat Member

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    I sent a a revolver back to Smith & Wesson for repair, It had to go next day air at the cost of $42.00, Smith & Wesson returned it to me UPS Ground and they left on my door step. Go Figure.
     
  15. Mojo-jo-jo

    Mojo-jo-jo Member

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    Divemedic, you asked the question.

    It appears to me that you just wanted to argue about disclosure.

    If you have no desire to disclose, then fine don't. That's up to you. However, when they lose your gun and refuse to pay, you will suffer the consequences. No court will pay you for an item lost in shipping that you did not insure. Read the shipper's terms of service: By shipping an item with them, you agree to release them from liability. The shipper is not obligated to protect your item. That's why you buy insurance--so the insurance will pay for your loss. If you don't comply with their terms, you won't get paid.

    If you don't like the shipper/insurer's rules, then drive the gun where it needs to go, but don't ask for advice and then reject what you get. I guarantee you that MANY people on THR have been through this before, some of them have lost guns in shipping. There is a lot of experience here.
     
  16. divemedic

    divemedic Member

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    I asked for what the law says, not about people's opinions on whether or not I have a moral duty to tell UPS what I am shipping. Whether or not UPS is liable if they lose a firearm has nothing to do with whether or not I am obligated under criminal law to disclose.

    The first poster answered my question: As I thought, disclosure is not required under criminal law, if shipping to a license holder. I was hoping to get more facts, but instead, the majority of the answers after that talked about the POLICIES of the common carrier and the morality of whether or not their right to demand disclosure means they are free to lose your packages without liability.

    That is the problem when you try to discuss law with people- you often get opinion, conjecture, and people telling you how it "ought to be" instead of how it is. It reminds me of a girlfriend I had who could not believe that my CWP allowed me to carry in a bank. When I pointed out that a man willing to rob a bank is willing to illegally carry, she looked sheepish and said "I guess you are right."

    The problem is, the law is not what we want it to be, it isn't about what is fair, it isn't about right or wrong. It just is what it is. I was just trying to find out if there was a law I wasn't aware of, but I guess no one here is aware of it, either.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  17. PILMAN

    PILMAN Member

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    I shipped through Fedex without any problem. I told them I was shipping out a firearm for repair and he asked if it was a handgun or rifle. I paid the money and sent it out 3 day, no problems and no hold up.

    Unless your transferring ownership, then you should not need a FFL for repair.
     
  18. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

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    divemedic: So you came on here to find out the law? ANd then when you found out the law was something you did not like, you choose to ignore the law?

    Everyone here probably agrees with you that the law stinks. And the company policies stink as well. However we value property rights and respect other peoples wishes. You choose not to and we are chastising you for it as well as your willingness to disregard the law because you disagree with it.
     
  19. divemedic

    divemedic Member

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    Where did you get the idea that the law was something I didn't like? It says I don't have to disclose, and even the ATF agrees. The argument was whether or not I should take my business elsewhere if I don't like a corporate policy that has absolutely nothing to do with the law.

    The law says I do not have to disclose, so I don't. If UPS and FEDEX don't like it, too bad. You say that we value property rights and we value other people's wishes. Why should I worry about their wishes to the detriment of my own? I find it very humorous that people get so fired up over the government looking into your private possessions, but have no problem with a business doing the same.
     
  20. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    My guess is that the wrong question was asked.
    While (a) would indicate you do not need to declare when shipping to an FFL, (d) mandates that ALL firearm containing packages be signed for at receipt.



    [Code of Federal Regulations]
    [Title 27, Volume 3]
    [Revised as of April 1, 2007]
    From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
    [CITE: 27CFR478.31]

    [Page 33]

    TITLE 27--ALCOHOL, TOBACCO PRODUCTS, AND FIREARMS

    CHAPTER II--BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS, AND EXPLOSIVES,
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

    PART 478_COMMERCE IN FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION--Table of Contents

    Subpart C_Administrative and Miscellaneous Provisions

    Sec. 478.31 Delivery by common or contract carrier.

    (a) No person shall knowingly deliver or cause to be delivered to
    any common or contract carrier for transportation or shipment in
    interstate or foreign commerce to any person other than a licensed
    importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector,
    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: Provided, 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 that trip without
    violating any provision of this part.
    (b) 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 indicating that such package, luggage, or
    other container contains a firearm.
    (c) No common or contract carrier shall transport or deliver in
    interstate or foreign commerce any firearm or ammunition with knowledge
    or reasonable cause to believe that the shipment, transportation, or
    receipt thereof would be in violation of any provision of this part:
    Provided, however, That the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply
    in respect to the transportation of firearms or ammunition in in-bond
    shipment under Customs laws and regulations.
    (d) No common or contract carrier shall knowingly deliver in
    interstate or foreign commerce any firearm without obtaining written
    acknowledgement of receipt from the recipient of the package or other
    container in which there is a firearm: Provided, That this paragraph
    shall not apply with respect to the return of a firearm to a passenger
    who places firearms in the carrier's custody for the duration of the
    trip.

    [33 FR 18555, Dec. 14, 1968. Redesignated at 40 FR 16385, Apr. 15, 1975,
    and amended by T.D. ATF-354, 59 FR 7112, Feb. 14, 1994; T.D. ATF-361, 60
    FR 10786, Feb. 27, 1995]
     
  21. divemedic

    divemedic Member

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    It does not require anything of the sort. Read it again:

    The key word is knowingly. I see no disclosure requirement there, either. So, this portion of the law doesn't seem to require disclosure, either.
     
  22. Gator

    Gator Member

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    Have you ever heard of Lonny Baxter, former Houston Rocket basketball player? Arrested, charged, and convicted of failing to notify FedEx of a handgun shipment. He is now a felon and has lost his right to own firearms because he DID NOT NOTIFY FedEx he was shipping a handgun.

    Baxter pled guilty and maybe he could have won if he fought it, but ATF takes the position that you must notify. Is a potential loss of tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs and the potential loss of your firearm rights worth it over a few extra bucks for shipping?
     
  23. shield20

    shield20 Member

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    Was the friend an FFL?
     
  24. glockman19

    glockman19 Member

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    I am returning a Kimber to the factory for FTF & FTRTB issues. They are arranging for FedEx or UPS to pick it up at my house. I am to package it unloaded in the case and then in a cardboard box. They will send it directly back to me upon repair.
     
  25. Gator

    Gator Member

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    I take your point. If he had been shipping to an FFL notification would not have been needed (according to the info in the posted ATF letter). But my point is that you may be opening yourself up to a whole lot of trouble by trying to save a few bucks. If an undeclared gun is lost or damaged UPS/FedEx has no obligation to pay, and if ATF takes an interest in you, who knows what charges they could come up with. :(
     
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