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Thread: Shipping Firearms -- FedEx Question

  1. #1
    Regular Member drdan01's Avatar
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    Shipping Firearms -- FedEx Question

    Hoping that this isn't OT for here but didn't see anyplace else it would have been more appropriate.

    I have a question -- so that I'm not pointing a finger at a dealer, let's call it hypothetical. Are dealers allowed to ship a handgun via FedEx Ground?

    I'm asking because on gunbroker.com I found the following (http://www.gunbroker.com/Support/Sup...spx?faqid=1118):
    "FedEx Express: FedEx will only ship firearms via their Priority Overnight service. Ammunition must be shipped as hazardous goods via Ground in compliance with ORM-D.
    FedEx Ground: FedEx Ground will transport and deliver firearms (excluding handguns) as defined by the United States Gun Control Act of 1968, between areas served in the U.S. Ammunition must be shipped as hazardous goods via Ground in compliance with ORM-D."

    And I followed that up by then checking on the FedEx site's Terms and Conditions and found the following:
    "Firearms must be shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight service. FedEx Express cannot ship or deliver firearms C.O.D. Firearms shipments cannot be placed in a FedEx Express Drop Box."

    And on FedEx Ground Tariff rules:
    "FedEx Ground will transport and deliver firearms (excluding handguns) as defined by the United States Gun Control Act of 1968...."

    So am I missing something here (because the above seems pretty straightforward to me), or if a dealer is shipping a handgun via FedEx Ground does this simply mean that they are violating FedEx terms (and therefore according to the FedEx site are probably violating the law regarding the transport and shipment of firearms)?

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    FedEx and UPS require next day air shipping because the additional paperwork and tracking helps prevent and/or identify employee theft.

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    Regular Member drdan01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yard Sale View Post
    FedEx and UPS require next day air shipping because the additional paperwork and tracking helps prevent and/or identify employee theft.
    Right, no question about that and I get that. But the question was actually the other direction -- about whether or not there is some sort of an authorization that FedEx doesn't talk about to allow dealers to ship via FedEx Ground. I'm not seeing it, and everything cited above indicate that is a violation of shipping terms. My "concern" since we're talking hypothetical here is that the dealer didn't disclose to FedEx that it was a handgun. Less paperwork, less expensive. So it ships Ground. And that's how things disappear, dropped off, no signature required (pre-authorizations on file, etc. etc.).

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    According to Federal Law, you cannot ship a handgun across state lines to an individual if it is being "transferred"--it MUST go through an FFL.

    If the seller is in the same state as the buyer, and it is in a state that allows private sales, there is NO Federal law that prohibits direct shipping, but FedEx won't ship to anyone but an FFL , gunsmith or manufacturer. This is a corporate policy issue--there is NO Federal prohibition on shipping same-state transfers, as they don't have to be facilitated by an FFL anyway.

    If the gun already belongs to you, and was at a gunsmith or manufacturer being serviced, you CAN have it shipped directly to an individual (the owner) in most states, without having to go through an FFL.

    But transfers (like if you live in VA and buy a gun off Gunbroker from a seller in MT) MUST go through an FFL on the receiver's end. The FFL at teh receiving end does the BATFE/State paperwork for the transfer.
    Last edited by Dreamer; 02-10-2012 at 10:33 PM.
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    Regular Member davidmcbeth's Avatar
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    A good link about who can ship handguns to whom:

    http://www.thegunzone.com/ship-guns.html


    has UPS, FedEx, USPS ...

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    Regular Member drdan01's Avatar
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    Right, I understand all of the above. I was asking whether there is something that I can't seem to find which says that an FFL (dealer) can ship a handgun via FedEx Ground. Everything that I'd read, including on the FedEX site says they will not accept a handgun for FedEx Ground and that if a handgun is shipped via FedEx it must be shipped via FedEx Priority.

    The point of all of this is that (as confirmed a few days ago by discussing it with FedEx) an FFL is violating FedEx tariff/terms if they ship a handgun via FedEx Ground. A FFL who ships a handgun via FedEx Ground has done so only because they failed to tell FedEx the truth about what the package contained else FedEx would have refused the shipment. FedEx said that according to Federal law, shipping something that is prohibited by the common carrier including shipping by a means not authorized by the common carrier and without having disclosed the nature of the item which was prohibited is a violation of Federal law. And doing all of that while shipping it across state lines is another separate violation of Federal law. FedEx said this, I myself have only that information to go on but I would assume that it is correct.

    At this point it is a "done deal" as my question was asked because of an out of state transfer that I had going -- I made a purchase from an FFL on gunbroker.com and the item was being shipped from the seller FFL to the receiving FFL. The FFL shipped the handgun via FedEx Ground (to an FFL) and I now know that (according to FedEx) they violated Federal law in doing so. And how it all came up was I realized when I received my FedEx notification that the item was being shipped via FedEx Ground. And the seller FFL didn't answer my emails sent to ask about that.

    So in the end this has been a learning curve for me -- it was my first out of state transfer and my first purchase from that FFL. And now knowing that the FFL did what it did and wasn't supposed to, I simply cross them off of my list of FFLs/Dealers that I would do business with again.

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdan01 View Post
    At this point it is a "done deal" as my question was asked because of an out of state transfer that I had going -- I made a purchase from an FFL on gunbroker.com and the item was being shipped from the seller FFL to the receiving FFL. The FFL shipped the handgun via FedEx Ground (to an FFL) and I now know that (according to FedEx) they violated Federal law in doing so. And how it all came up was I realized when I received my FedEx notification that the item was being shipped via FedEx Ground. And the seller FFL didn't answer my emails sent to ask about that.

    I woul dhave a competent gunsmith go over your new pistol from top t bottom before you fire a single round through it.

    Any FFL who would ship a handgun across state lines and NOT use overnight shipping is so clueless that it's hard to tell what sort of condition your gun is going to be in...

    And I would NEVER do business with this FFL again--and I would probably leave a negative rating for thm on GunBroker. They violated Federal law using FedEx Ground to transfer this handgun, putting you, your local FFL and Gunbroker.com at risk for potential Federal prosecution.
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    Regular Member drdan01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    I woul dhave a competent gunsmith go over your new pistol from top t bottom before you fire a single round through it.

    Any FFL who would ship a handgun across state lines and NOT use overnight shipping is so clueless that it's hard to tell what sort of condition your gun is going to be in...

    And I would NEVER do business with this FFL again--and I would probably leave a negative rating for thm on GunBroker. They violated Federal law using FedEx Ground to transfer this handgun, putting you, your local FFL and Gunbroker.com at risk for potential Federal prosecution.
    Yup, and the good news though is that my receiving FFL is a gunsmith and has a lot of experience with the particular gun I purchased. As I was selecting an FFL I found this one, and was thinking that it might come in handy having it come to someone with his background (we exchanged numerous emails before the transfer initiated). And we did spend about 30 minutes together going over the gun during the transfer. So at least I feel that I can trust the gun.

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    Regular Member okiebryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    I woul dhave a competent gunsmith go over your new pistol from top t bottom before you fire a single round through it.

    Any FFL who would ship a handgun across state lines and NOT use overnight shipping is so clueless that it's hard to tell what sort of condition your gun is going to be in...

    And I would NEVER do business with this FFL again--and I would probably leave a negative rating for thm on GunBroker. They violated Federal law using FedEx Ground to transfer this handgun, putting you, your local FFL and Gunbroker.com at risk for potential Federal prosecution.
    There is NO FEDERAL LAW that requires anyone to use overnight shipping to ship a firearm. This is a FedEx policy. Nobody is at risk of "potential Federal prosecution" in the scenario described.

  10. #10
    Regular Member drdan01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okiebryan View Post
    There is NO FEDERAL LAW that requires anyone to use overnight shipping to ship a firearm. This is a FedEx policy. Nobody is at risk of "potential Federal prosecution" in the scenario described.
    It's not a question of being required to ship a firearm overnight. The issue is that if you ship a firearm via a common carrier (FedEx, UPS) or via USPS you are required to comply with their rules. FedEx requires that if you ship a HANDGUN (doesn't apply to other firearms) that you must ship it via FedEX Priority only. You cannot use FedEx Ground for handguns.

    So the problems are that if you ship a handgun via FedEx Ground you violate the common carrier tariff, which FedEx explained is a violation of Federal law if you ship across state line, and they said that it violates Federal rules related to firearms. But what would seem to be the biggest issue is that as FedEX will not knowingly accept a handgun for Ground shipment, that means that the only way an FFL can do so is to fail to properly identify and declare that it is a handgun. I am not a lawyer so this is FedEx stating the above and the following -- sending a handgun via an unauthorized shipping method and failing to disclose that content, they said may meet the legal definition of what is "gun running."

    For my part all that I know is that I need to trust an FFL and I can't trust one who knowingly violates FedEx policy, and possibly violates Federal law. And given that the FFL has ignored email from me on this, I have to assume that they know that this is wrong.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okiebryan View Post
    There is NO FEDERAL LAW that requires anyone to use overnight shipping to ship a firearm. This is a FedEx policy. Nobody is at risk of "potential Federal prosecution" in the scenario described.
    Correct on the first part. The only person who violated a law was the shipper, but not because of how he shipped it. He violated the law that requires him to follow the rules of the shipping company, handgun or not.
    Blue & Gold Firearms Training; Clark County, NV
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  12. #12
    Regular Member Vitaeus's Avatar
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    The Shipping FFL may have violated Federal Reg's the item would require an over 18 signature at the receiving end, which may or may not have occured since the shipper used ground and apparently did not tell Fed Ex what was in the box.

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