The new rules came in response to a letter sent by five anti-gun senators, which blamed UPS and 27 other carriers for escalating violent crime rates.
The rules are contained in three documents: A shipping agreement between UPS and a licensed firearm dealer, the new 2022 UPS Tariff/Terms & Conditions of Service, and UPS’ How to Ship Firearms” webpage.
Terms of Service
According to the 2022 UPS Tariff/Terms & Conditions of Service, which went into effect Monday, only licensed dealers, importers, manufacturers and collectors may ship firearms or firearm products or parts via UPS.
Packages containing firearms (as defined by Title 18, Chapter 44, and Title 26, Chapter 53 of the United States Code) and firearm parts that do not constitute firearms as defined by federal law (together, “Firearm Products”) are accepted for transportation only as a contractual service and only from Shippers who are licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, or licensed collectors (as defined in Title 18, Chapter 44 of the United States Code). To transport Packages containing Firearm Products, the Shipper must enter into an approved UPS agreement for the transportation of Firearm Products.
The Shipper shall comply with and shall ensure that each Shipment containing Firearm Products complies with all federal, state, and local laws applicable to the Shipper, recipient, and Package, including, without limitation, age restrictions.
- The Shipper must use Adult Signature Required and Direct Delivery Only services for each Package containing a firearm (including handguns) and affix a label requesting an adult signature upon delivery.
- The labeling and outer box markings on all Firearm Products shipments must not identify the contents as containing Firearm Products.
- Additional terms and restrictions on the shipment of Firearm Products are contained in the UPS agreement for the
shipment of Firearm Products and at ups.com/firearms, which is incorporated here by reference.
How to Ship Firearms
According to UPS’ “How to Ship Firearms” webpage, nearly everything must have a serial number.
Any item that meets the definition of a firearm (including firearm mufflers or silencers) or a “frame” or “receiver” under federal law (including any partially complete, disassembled, or nonfunctional frame or receiver as defined by 27 CFR § 478.12) must be identified and bear a serial number in satisfaction of the requirements for identifying such items under federal law, including 27 CFR § 478.92 and/or 27 CFR § 479.102, regardless of whether any such items are otherwise exempt from or not subject to identification requirements under applicable law. This prohibition applies even before the effective date of 27 CFR § 478.12.
In addition, the carrier is making homemade gun parts more difficult to ship as well as requiring serial numbers on the parts.
UPS does not accept Firearm Products for shipment domestically unless (1) such shipments are in full compliance with all federal, state, and local laws, including, without limitation, age restrictions; (2) such firearms, including any partially complete, disassembled, or nonfunctional frame or receiver (as defined by 27 CFR § 478.12), have been identified and bear a serial number in a manner that complies with federal law; and (3) such firearm parts within a package cannot be assembled to form a firearm.
By far, the strictest document is the shipping agreement between UPS and a licensed firearm dealer.
Before making any Firearm Products Shipment under this Agreement, Shipper must submit to UPS, by email to [email protected] complete, current and accurate licensing documentation of Shipper’s federal firearms license, as well as satisfactory completion of, and compliance with, any other applicable licensing requirements, including any applicable state requirements. Shipper may not tender Firearm Products Shipments to UPS unless and until UPS has confirmed receipt in writing of Shipper’s licensing documentation.
The agreement holds the dealer responsible for complying with all applicable laws, as well as developing their own “shipper compliance program.”
The compliance program must “include: (1) training for sales and marketing employees regarding lawful recipients, possessors, and purchasers of Firearm Products; (2) due diligence regarding customer licensure or authorization to receive, possess, and purchase Firearm Products under applicable federal, state, or local law; and (3) self-assessments of the Shipper Compliance Program to guarantee its effectiveness.”
Click here to see a blank copy of the shipping agreement.
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About Lee Williams
Lee Williams, who is also known as “The Gun Writer,” is the chief editor of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. Until recently, he was also an editor for a daily newspaper in Florida. Before becoming an editor, Lee was an investigative reporter at newspapers in three states and a U.S. Territory. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a police officer. Before becoming a cop, Lee served in the Army. He’s earned more than a dozen national journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. Lee is an avid tactical shooter.