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Shipping firearms, rules and restrictions with USPS, UPS, and FedEx

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Shipping firearms can be difficult, due to detailed regulations and restrictions. Ultimately, the most accessible carrier is USPS, unless you’re shipping to or from a licensed manufacturer or a form of military or law enforcement.

Read on for more information regarding carriers supported by ShippingEasy:

 


USPS

Allowed arms for shipping:
  • Handguns: a generally restricted class comprised of pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person. Handguns and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person are non-mailable unless:
    • Mailed between curio and relic collectors only when those firearms also meet the definition of an antique firearm.
    • Certified by the curator of a municipal, state, or federal museum that exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest.
    • Classified as air guns that do not fall within the definition of firearms. Note: these must contain a verified adult signature.
    • Mailed between authorized vendors and manufacturers.
  • Unloaded rifles and shotguns: can be mailed however the mailer will need to verify, by opening or by certification, that the rifle or shotgun is unloaded and eligible for mailing. Subject to state, territory, or district regulations, rifles and shotguns may be mailed without restriction when sent in the same state.
    • Rifle: a shoulder weapon having a barrel that is 16 inches or more in length.
    • Shotgun: a shoulder weapon having a barrel that is 18 inches or more in length.
Specific postage is required:
Packing requirements:

No markings of any kind that indicate the nature of the contents may be placed on the outside wrapper or container of any mailpiece containing firearms.

All mailable guns must be properly and securely packaged. Learn more.

Special conditions apply in some situations:

Recreational hunting:

If you plan on hunting outside of your state, you may mail your certified firearm to yourself.

The package must be:

  • Addressed to the owner. 
  • Include the “in the care of” endorsement immediately preceding the name of whoever will hold your weapon until you arrive. For added security, you can add delivery confirmation.
  • Be opened by the rifle or shotgun owner only.

Antiques:

Antique firearms are defined as any muzzle loading rifle/shotgun/pistol, which is designed to use black powder or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition.

They must be:

  • Mailed between curio and relic collectors only when those firearms also meet the definition of an antique firearm.
  • Certified by the curator of a municipal, state, or federal museum that exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest.

 


UPS

UPS has special restrictions on who individuals can ship firearms to, as well as who an individual can receive them from. Currently, shipment and receiving are limited to:

  • Licensed importers
  • Licensed manufacturers 
  • Licensed dealers
  • Licensed collectors 

Only the above licensed personnel are able to use UPS to ship firearms to government agencies. In addition, these transactions are subject to federal, state and local law.

Firearms may be shipped by UPS via the following:

  • a UPS Scheduled Pickup Account
  • a UPS Customer Center using the following services:
    • UPS Next Day Air Services, specifically UPS Next Day Air® Early
    • UPS Next Day Air®
    • UPS Next Day Air Saver®

Visit UPS for more information on packing your firearm and special procedures for ammunition and silencers.

 


FedEx

FedEx will transport and deliver firearms as defined by the United States Gun Control Act of 1968, between certain areas served in the U.S.

Limited to:

  • Licensed importers
  • Licensed manufacturers
  • Licensed dealers
  • Licensed collectors 
  • Law enforcement agencies of the U.S., any department or agency
  • Law enforcement agencies of any state or any department, agency or political subdivisions thereof.

Where not prohibited by local, state and federal law, FedEx will ship firearms from individuals to licensed importers, licensed manufacturers or licensed dealers (and return of same).

When shipping, the person shipping the firearm is required to notify FedEx that the shipment contains a firearm. 

The following rules apply:

  • The outside of the package cannot have any indication of the contents. 
  • The shipper and recipient must be of legal age as identified by applicable law.
  • The shipper and recipient are required to comply with all applicable government regulations and laws.
  • The firearm cannot contain any ammunition either loaded or in the same package. Learn more.

 

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Related articles:

What items are prohibited to ship internationally with USPS?
Can I ship HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials)?
Shipping knives with USPS, UPS, and FedEx
Shipping alcohol with USPS, UPS, and FedEx
Are there any restrictions on what I can insure?

If you have problems that require extra assistance, feel free to reach out to our team.

Anyone can post questions in the comments, to the left, and the ShippingEasy Customer Success team will gladly assist.


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Comments

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  • Avatar
    Brad Johnson

    Your article regarding UPS not shipping firearms is wrong.  They ship handguns & long guns just like USPS and FedEx

  • Avatar
    Jennifer R. [ShippingEasy]

    Hi Brad - Thanks for your post! We've reviewed and revised the section on UPS restrictions.

  • Avatar
    Mandy May

    Hello, I was reading under the USPS Guidelines that a pellet gun is also considered a firearm. Would I be permitted to ship the pellet gun from Maine to Iowa even though I am not a licensed, dealer or collector etc?

    Edited by Mandy May
  • Avatar
    Jacen P. [ShippingEasy]

    Hello Mandy and thank you for posting to our support center.

    Based on the information we have, if your pellet gun is considered a firearm, it would not be mailable as a handgun unless the following conditions were met.

    • Mailed between curio and relic collectors only when those firearms also meet the definition of an antique firearm.
    • Certified by the curator of a municipal, state, or federal museum that exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest.
    • Mailed between authorized vendors and manufacturers.

    If your pellet gun is considered a rifle or shotgun, that may be able to be mailed, however you will need to verify, by opening or by certification, that the rifle or shotgun is unloaded and eligible for mailing. 

    Please keep in mind the specific postage and packing requirements listed in this article, if you are able to ship your pellet gun.

    Thank you.

  • Avatar
    Brian Spears

    WRONG!

    UPS - You, as an individual, can ship directly to an FFL in another state. Handguns must be shipped air and long guns can be shipped ground.

     

  • Avatar
    Jennifer R. [ShippingEasy]

    Hello Bryan,

    According to the UPS website, you are correct. In the article above, we've aimed summarize the rules as briefly as possible and indicate that a licensed entity must be party to the transaction. UPS' website has additional details: Shipping Firearms or Ammunition

    UPS accepts packages containing firearms (as defined by Title 18, Chapter 44, and Title 26, Chapter 53 of the United States Code) for transportation only (a) between licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, and licensed collectors (as defined in Title 18, Chapter 44 of the United States Code), and government agencies and (b) where not otherwise prohibited by federal, state or local law (i) from an individual to a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector; and (ii) from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to an individual.

    The shipper must comply with and must ensure that each shipment containing firearms complies with all federal, state and local laws applicable to the shipper, recipient, and package, including, without limitation, age restrictions.

    Please keep in mind that we provide this article for general information purposes. Regulations surrounding firearms are controlled by carriers and government bodies. When shipping a firearm, one should always check on current regulations to ensure compliance with the law.

  • Avatar
    Pea Vee Olson

    I live in Idaho and a ex-Air Force friend of mine (who lives in Colorado) wants to buy a semi-auto pistol from me....Do I ship it to his closes FFL from my local USPS or FedEx? or do I have to take it to my closes FFL to have them ship it to his?....which is weird, because last year I was having a problem with one of my guns, the company sent me a shipping label (because they were going to pay for all the shipping), I boxed it up,  took it to the FedEx hub, they took it and shipped it off....thinking I wouldn't hear from the company for a while (they said it'd take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to fix the problem) to let me know about when I'd be able to pick it up again....less than 2 weeks later I received a box (I was heading to work and the guy told me if I hadn't been home to sign for it, I would have had to gone to the hub to pick it up..any who)...I wasn't expecting anything, looked at the return addy on it....and it was from this company, I opened the box, low and behold it was my gun....that's why I'm asking about this.  How/where would I send it? Don't want to break any laws where I'd end up being bubba's bitch...lol.

    Oly

  • Avatar
    Jacen P. [ShippingEasy]

    Hello Oly, and thank you for posting to our support center!

    Based on the information we have available, handguns would need to be shipped from an FFL dealer or manufacturer to another FFL dealer or manufacturer. This has to do with background check laws and to prevent them from being circumvented. 

    Please keep in mind that we provide this article for general information purposes. Regulations surrounding firearms are controlled by carriers and government bodies. When shipping a firearm, one should always check on current regulations with your carrier to ensure compliance with the law.

     

  • Avatar
    Karl Schuhknecht

    So basically what I gathered is I cannot have someone ship my pistol from Texas to Nevada. I had it shipped by an FFL to FFL, went to pick it up and they denied the firearm to me as I am not a resident. So the next option I resorted to was trying to have it shipped via mail, and because I’m not a licensed person (except DL & Conceal carry license) I’m unable to pick it up after it has been mailed?

  • Avatar
    Jacen P. [ShippingEasy]

    Hi Karl, and thank you for posting to our community!

    I'm sorry to hear you encountered some problems shipping and receiving your pistol.

    Unfortunately we are far from experts on shipping firearms. The article we have provided is for general information purposes only. Regulations surrounding firearms are strictly controlled by carriers and government bodies and subject to change at any time.

    When shipping a firearm, one should always check on current regulations with a licensed or regulatory official or your carrier to ensure full compliance with the law.

    Thank you.

     



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