Sometimes it’s just more convenient to mail your firearms and ammunition than it is to try to bring them across state lines. The great thing about mailing your firearms through the USPS is knowing they’ll be at your final destination when you need them.
Your point of departure and arrival will all need one thing in common: A Federal Firearms License. You can purchase one if you qualify. The requirements for a Federal Firearms License are on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms website. We’ve enclosed a link to the FFL application for your convenience.
Unlicensed Mailing Of Firearms
The BATF specifically prohibits mailing of firearms without a license unless you meet the following criteria:
- You’re mailing an unloaded shotgun or rifle to another resident in your own state.
- You’re mailing an unloaded shotgun or rifle to another person with an FFL license.
When it comes to pistols and other firearms, there’s no dice. Unfortunately, the average legal gun owner cannot send his pistol through the mail via either disassembly or in whole. That’s restricted to a very small crowd of authorized individuals.
Who’s Authorized To Mail Firearms?
According to the USPS list of rules and regulations governing the shipment of pistols, parts like receivers, handgun frames, and other parts are not mailable by an unauthorized person.
People authorized to ship unloaded pistols through the mail include:
- Licensed manufacturer, dealer, or importer of firearms (FFL)
- Officers of any branch of the military – including the National Guard
- Officers who are serving warrants of either arrest or commitment
- Officers of law enforcement agencies
- Authorized members of the USPS
- Purchasing agents or designated members of a very select group explicitly laid out in 432.21c through e.
If you don’t fall into one of those categories, chances are good you’re not an authorized person.
The Easiest Way To Mail Pistols
If you don’t want to go through the wait, the hassle, or the expense of procuring an FFL, you can always find a business that already has one. There are specific procedures businesses with an FFL have to go through in order to mail a firearm through the mail.
There needs to be a certificate that the sender has an FFL and the destination has one, too. This is PS Form 1508, Statement by Shipper. It basically states that the sender has an FFL and is licensed to ship parts or whole pistols and to the best of his knowledge, the receiver does, too.
The pistol also needs to be completely unloaded.
Most FFL shippers know this procedure really well but ultimately, the responsibility rests with you to ensure that the receiver has a valid FFL. If the receiver of the pistol or firearms doesn’t have an FFL, the post master will not deliver it to him or her.
How To Find An FFL Sender And Receiver
Your best bet is to contact reputable gun stores and gun brokers (See the our Directory of Gun Stores). The basic criteria needed to mail a pistol is an FFL license on either end. So long as the sender and receiver both agree, you should be good to go. Some businesses will attempt to levy a charge in addition to the shipping costs on account of their license. Fees can range anywhere from $25 to $125 (or more) depending on that business’ desire for your business.
All firearms will be sent registered mail, so you’ll be able to track them up until they arrive at their final destination.
The last bit that you should keep in mind is the legality and reciprocity of the state you’re sending that firearm to. Some states have magazine restrictions or don’t accept your right to carry a pistol – concealed or otherwise. It’s your responsibility to research those states’ laws and ensure you’re in proper due form.
I would like to cite previous article “5 Things You Need To Know About CCW Across State Lines” at this point.