Q: May a non-licensee ship a firearm by common or contract carrier?
A non-licensee 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]
Shipping firearms out of state
It's legal for a non-licensee to ship a firearm to a licensee (an FFL holder). You will need a copy of the licensee's FFL and it's recommend when shipping to a Class 03 C&R holder to get a copy of their FFL license to validate they are a license holder before shipping. And ship only to the address on the license in either case. You can check it with the ATF here for FFL 01 holders:https://www.atfonline.gov/fflezcheck/
And to make life easier for an FFL 01 or 03 holder, a copy of the drivers license sent by the non-licenses seller/shipper in an envelope on the outside of the box, or even inside the box is strongly recommend. It makes logging the said firearm much easier.
Same deal. Ship a rifle via USPS, ship handguns via UPS/FedEx. Priority is highly recommended for the USPS. And it is highly recommended to get delivery confirmation and insurance though the shipper. Some FFLs are a pain about accepting shipments from individuals, so make sure the buyer has cleared the shipment first. Note, it is sometimes cheaper to pay an FFL to do the transfer for you on a pistol, because, surprise, the USPS allows handgun shipments by licensees.
Remember use the quickest shipping method you can afford, the less time said weapon is in the shipping flow, the less time there is for anything to happen to it, and typically the closer the package is tracked. Yea, I know everyone wants to save a buck or two on shipping, but be realistic and not a tightwad, think of what’s between the two parties in the transaction. Alot of hands will touch the package and in shipping rushes, things get lost. In today’s world, a weapon lost in shipping is or can be almost as dangerous as a lost nuclear warhead...
Now below covers most states, IN-STATE PURCHASES, "some states" allow private sales, meaning no FFL involvement, no FFL transfer between in-state residents. You can be un-licensed and ship a firearm to another non-licesened resident in the same state. (PLEASE CHECK LOCAL AND STATE LAWS PRIOR
)Q: May a nonlicensee ship a firearm through the U.S. Postal Service?
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)]USPS policy on handguns/pistols
Handguns and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person are nonmailable unless mailed between the parties listed in this section, after the filing of an affidavit or statement described in 432.22 or 432.24, and are subject to the following:
1. Firearms meeting the definition of a handgun under 431.2 and the definition of curios or relics under 27 CFR 478.11 may be mailed between curio and relic collectors only when those firearms also meet the definition of an antique firearm under 431.3.
2. Firearms meeting the definition of a handgun under 431.2, which are certified by the curator of a municipal, state, or federal museum that exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest, may be accepted for mailing without regard to the restrictions provided for handguns in Exhibit 432.25 and in 432.21 through 432.24.
3. Air guns that do not fall within the definition of firearms under 431.1 that are capable of being concealed on a person are mailable, but must include adult signature service under DMM 503.9.0. Mailers must comply with all applicable state and local regulations.
4. Parts of handguns are mailable, except for handgun frames, receivers or other parts or components regulated under Chapter 44, Title 18, U.S.C.
5. Mailers are also subject to applicable restrictions by governments of a state, territory, or district.
Now with in state purchases, a sale between two unlicensed persons opens up "liability"
, even if it's a back lot behind the dumpster FTF sale/purchase. Once the weapon leaves your hands, your not in control of it any longer, but with some good lawyers you "could" be held accountable for it. Be sure of the person on the receiving end. Insist on a signed bill of sale, even a copy of their driver license, CCW license, Military I.D., Voter card, something valid. If you bought the weapon from a dealer, and flip it/trade it/sell it, and IT is used in a crime, you could be asked to verify who, when, where you sold it to, handguns can be easy for LEOs/FEDs to track. If there is no evidence or proof of the buyer, things could get interesting quick. Cover your azz, keep it 100% legal, remember you have the right to refuse to sell or deal with anyone your not comfortable with. A little documentation now could save you a whole lot of headache later.
Sample of a bill of sale..
In state purchases between a non licensee and a FFL 03 or 01. The FFL holder is still required to log said weapon as required if buying or selling.
Rifles are fairly easy. Take them to the counter at the USPS, UPS or Fed Ex. Again, Inform the clerk that you are shipping a rifle. Remember you're required by federal law to inform the shipper that the package contains firearms. There's no additional fee to ship a rifle, except for package size criteria. Standard postage applies, Again, Priority is highly recommended for the USPS. And it is highly recommended to get delivery confirmation and insurance though the shipper.
For non-licesened people, pistols are a pain in the rump. USPS as you have seen will not accept/ship them. The easiest way to ship them is through FedEx or UPS. Both carriers require that you ship from a hub.
For more USPS shipping information see: 432 Mailability
For more UPS shipping information see: http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/ship/packaging/guidelines/firearms.html
For more FedEx shipping information see: Prohibited & Restricted Articles | FXF Rules Tariff - FedEx
Ship them in a good unmarked strong box, some shops have extras at times. Shippers minimum requirements can be found on their respective pages. Wrap it and pack it well, if it comes out of the box during shipment, all sorts of nasties can happen and there is the chance of theft. Theft is no good in this instance, because tracking it becomes almost impossible. Remember if the weapon can move/slide freely inside the box, it could damage it's self or break out of the box. Remember the package wont be treated very nice, it will be beaten ruthlessly, get chucked up in a trailer or two and transferred from vehicle to vehicle, hub to hub.
If you have an FFL and ship, take a copy of your license with you when shipping and show the counter person, it typically goes smoother. If your shipping to a FFL holder, also show the counter person the receiving FFL license, also at times the transaction goes smoother. Remember their are non-firearm fanatics, and others who do not know laws and policy, they were not trained correctly. If, you believe what you are doing to be correct, the counter person is being hardheaded, ask for a supervisor or manager.
9 times out of 10, skip trying to ship through a UPS Store, while they are a division of UPS, typically they are not as up to date on laws and policy/procedure, they could refuse to ship it, even though it is 100% legal to do so. An actual hub is your best bet for problem free shipping.
Applicable to shipping any firearm via any shipper between any party. AMMO can not be shipped in the same package as a firearm, NO WAY, NO HOW!!
Ammo can not be sent through USPS, they are not licensed for HAZMAT materials. It's a Department of Transportation requirement the carrier have HAZMAT licensing and hauling ability. Even shipping one live round/cartridge is illegal though the mail. Only ship ammo through UPS or FedEx, and the package must be plainly marked/labeled ORM-D, see for further info: http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/ship/hazardous/examples/ground_ormd.html
or Current Requirements for FedEx Dangerous Goods and Hazardous Materials Shipments
And, if your really wanting to know DOT and HAZMAT regulations How to Comply with Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations | Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Avoid buying and/or shipping around the holidays. Package flow is ungodly enormous and likely hood of any damage and loss is increased greatly. Patience can be a saving grace here. You can purchase, but sometimes if you ask the seller, they may hold your shipment till after the holiday rush. This is just a suggestion, in the many years of experience in the freight industry and collecting, the holidays are the roughest on packages, and believe me, I've seen forklifts used to mash the freight in trailers to get the doors shut. Plus, this time of year, freight carriers use alot of temp. employees, highly untrained at packing trailers, moving freight and package trucks adding to the amount of damage. This one is totally your call as it is your weapon!!!!!
A good site for laws in all states Handgunlaw.us
Now I'm sure question on Class 3 will arise, any info on the federal level is here http://www.atf.gov/firearms/guides/identification-of-nfa-firearms.html
Please see your state/local laws before proceeding.