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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.

 

 


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?

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.

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