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Old October 7, 2012, 09:11 PM   #1
Pointshoot
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Non FFL Auction sellers - shipping by USPS

Hi guys - please pardon the following mini-rant. Recently I found several handguns that I've wanted for some time on auction sites. The sellers don't have an FFL, but state that they will ship the handgun by Priority Mail. I've messaged them with the US Postal Service link stating that a non-FFL cannot ship a handgun in the mail. They will have to go through an FFL or ship by expensive overnite UPS or FedX. So it can cost more using overnite than shipping through an FFL even considering the fees. After pointing this out, I've often found that the seller doesn't reply. I see that some of the sellers have sold quite a few guns, so I guess theyre shipping them without telling the postal service what's in the box. If the item gets lost, forget about any insurance coverage. Buyers and sellers should know this.

O.K. - rant off my chest. The handguns that I've been looking for will be available again some time and have a seller who knows (or cares) about what can & can't be done regarding shipping.
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:20 PM   #2
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I sell quite a few handguns on gunbroker and list shipping as Priority mail also.
I am not an FFL. And like most everyone else who list that way, we ship thru an FFL. It would be a felony otherwise.

Jim
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:41 PM   #3
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Is your first contact with them a link to the law and an accusation that they are breaking it? Not supprised you are not getting many responses back. Try just asking them how they ship first. Maybe they sell a lot of other items through Gunbroker and just use USPS as a catch all in the listing.

Anyway, coming across as accusing is not a good way to approach before you know all the details
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:43 PM   #4
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Hi Jim - - you may be surprised. Ive come across ads with guys saying specifically that theyre not FFL holders and that you (the buyer) needs to be sure that your FFL will accept a gun shipment from a non-FFL, that they will ship by Priority Mail.

Some people may be unaware of the regulations/laws - - - and some may not care. (But this seems like extremely risky behavior to save a few bucks or a little effort to locate an FFL to ship through.) Oh well.
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Old October 7, 2012, 10:08 PM   #5
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TennJed - thank you for your comments- - no actually I dont use an accusing tone with people, because there are those who just don't know the regulations (heck, I didnt know this either until coming across this in some gun legal forums). My message has been along the lines of "Hi there - - I'm really interested in your handgun, but noticed that you said you don't have an FFL and would be shipping by Priority Mail. Unfortunately, its against postal regulations for a non-FFL to use the postal service to mail a handgun. We non-FFL holders must use very expensive overnite shipping by UPS or FedX. This can be more expensive than going through an FFL even with his fees. I'd like to bid on your handgun, but in order to protect you and I - would you consider shipping through an FFL ? That way it could be shipped by Priority Mail. I look forward to hearing from you, and look forward to placing a bid. Below is a link to the US Postal Service regulations regarding shipment of firearms. Best Regards, etc, etc"

I've sent this to a few people and they thanked me for pointing this out and made arrangements with a local FFL. They weren't aware of the regulations. (I lost those auctions though). One fellow who has a gun Ive been looking for apparently has shipped dozens of guns through the mail even though he's not an FFL holder and states that the buyers FFL must accept from non FFL holders. He didn't reply to several messages. Well, good luck to him. I hope his buyers aren't impacted. (Then again, its hard to tell what's going on with someone else without getting feedback from them. Maybe he took my very neutral message the wrong way. Though he's repeatedly listed the handgun and has had zero bids placed.) Maybe I'll try again one more time in case he didnt get my messages or there was a miscommunication. - - -

For those who are fairly new to buying and selling guns long distance - - its a very good idea to check out the laws and regulations to make sure youre doing whats required. IMO these laws are a bunch of baloney, but we have to live with them. I remember the 'good ole' days' when you could order a gun from the Sears mailorder catalog and get it with little hassle ! Times change. . unfortunately for the vast majority of sensible and law abiding gun owners.

Last edited by Pointshoot; October 8, 2012 at 09:42 AM.
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Old October 8, 2012, 10:33 AM   #6
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Not a week goes by that I don't receive a handgun from a nonlicensee shipped in a Priority Mail box. It a felony, and it makes no difference that they were ignorant of Federal law or just think they can skate by.

Anytime this happens I'll email the shipper to let him know that his using the USPS to ship a handgun is a felony. The majority claim they didn't know it was illegal, a few claim the local post office said it was okay or they read on a gun forum that it was okay and a couple even wanted to argue the point.


It's a felony.....get caught and you'll never possess a gun again.
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Old October 8, 2012, 11:11 AM   #7
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downtown_tom - - thank you for your comments, I'm sure it might help someone who was unaware of the laws & regulations.

Maybe you can answer a question for me please. Sometimes a private party non-FFL on GunBroker, GunsAmerica, etc will state in their ad that the buyers FFL must be willing to accept a handgun from a private party. In the case of some of these sellers, I've contacted them and theyve said that they use a local FFL to ship the handgun by Priority Mail. This has puzzled me. Why wouldn't a buyers FFL accept a handgun if it was shipped using an FFL holder ? Some of my local gunshops won't accept handguns for their customers if they come from out of state private sellers, but I always thought this was in the case of those shipped to them directly by overnite UPS or FedX. Perhaps you can clear this up for me. Thank you.
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Old October 8, 2012, 01:50 PM   #8
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Follow up on original post - -

Well I've been frustrated at trying to deal with one non FFL seller with a handgun on my "Want List'. I sent another mildly worded email about shipping through an FFL. In summary his reply was " If you want to bother . . . it'll cost you an extra $65 in addition to the bid and stated Priority Mail shipping in the ad ($35)." That's $100 for Priority Mail from east coast to west coast.

He's all the way across the country, and I wasn't in the post office when he shipped guns to buyers, so I have no absolute proof and am only going by his emails- - but apparently there are people who knowingly roll the dice when it comes to shipping firearms through the mail. He's sold a lot of guns off the major auction site. My guess is that he wants to be competitive with FFL holders who can ship through the mail. And, he doesnt want to sell at competitive prices and have to eat the costs of shipping through an FFL himself. But, again this is all speculation on my part.

When I pointed out that it was against regulations to ship through the mail as a non-FFL and that there would be no valid insurance coverage if it was lost or damaged his reply was "go get a box of Kleenex" !

Of course, I won't deal with such a person.

Buyer beware guys !
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Old October 8, 2012, 03:30 PM   #9
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I'm not an FFL, and I have no intention of sending any firearms via the USPS. That said, I was under the (apparently mistaken) impression that it was legal to send firearms via USPS. Just for my edification, could someone point me to the statute or reg that says this is illegal. Or perhaps that link, Pointshoot?

ETA: Never mind. Found it.
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Old October 8, 2012, 03:49 PM   #10
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Hi Spats - - - here's the link to the information on the US Postal Service website to get you started. Please note that this discussion has been specifically about the shipping of handguns :

http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c4_009.htm
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Old October 8, 2012, 03:52 PM   #11
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Thanks, PS. That is exactly the one I had found. Like I said, I'm neither an FFL, nor thinking about shipping any guns anywhere. Still, it's good to know what's allowed and what's, well, a felony.
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Old October 8, 2012, 03:59 PM   #12
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Your welcome Spats.

Isnt it good to know that we are so much safer and crime free with all these regulations ?
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Old October 8, 2012, 05:06 PM   #13
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Pointshoot,

I applaud your efforts to educate those with whom you might do business, or to desire not to deal with those who break the law - knowingly or through ignorance. I've run into this many times myself - and gotten the same kind of reactions you have - and have even been the target of insults and threats by one guy who does this sort of thing knowingly.

There is a procedure for changing laws we don't like. If someone doesn't like a law or regulation - then start a campaign to change things.

Breaking laws out of some asinine attitude such as "I don't care for that law, so I don't have to obey it"....or, perhaps "it won't hurt if no one knows about it"....makes that individual just as bad as those who deliberately live outside the law. There is NO difference. And such individuals should suffer the same sanctions as the "career criminal". It is a matter of personal responsibility, period.
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Old October 8, 2012, 05:09 PM   #14
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It seems to me some folks are confused. ANYONE can ship a firearm across state lines TO an 01/02 FFL or to an 03 FFL if the firearm is a C&R.

Only an 01/02 FFL can ship a handgun by US Mail (USPS).

But if you don't have an FFL and want someone to ship a firearm to an FFL holder for delivery to you, have that FFL holder send the shipper a copy of his FFL. That makes the shipment legal and lets the dealer know the gun is coming.

There is no, repeat NO, requirment that any FFL holder take delivery of any firearm (or anything else). Anyone can refuse shipment of anything for any reason. So the folks who say they are going to have BATFE revoke a dealer's license unless he accepts deliveries for them are full of it.

Jim
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Old October 8, 2012, 05:29 PM   #15
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Not to perpetuate or hijack this thread, but a corollary to the original post is the mistaken idea held by some that disassembling a handgun makes it legal for a non-FFL holder to then ship all of the gun parts using the US Postal Service as "machine parts".
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Old October 8, 2012, 05:44 PM   #16
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JamesK
Quote:
So the folks who say they are going to have BATFE revoke a dealer's license unless he accepts deliveries for them are full of it.
Did you get your threads mixed up? There's another thread about rejected delivery.
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Old October 8, 2012, 05:54 PM   #17
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wpsdlrg - - thank you for your kind comments. I'm no crusader. I just want life as uncomplicated and hassle free as possible. Frankly, I avoid people who take shortcuts because they tend to disappear when Murphys Law hits and something goes wrong. If someone knowingly would be so reckless about these particular regulations/laws (not just uninformed) - theyre not those I want to deal with in my life. Long distance gun purchases are really a matter of trust. You can't economically (in terms of time, money, and attention) pursue someone in another state for a gun selling for less than a couple thousand dollars if they wanted to cheat you.

Thankfully, the vast majority of the long distance buys have gone well. Folks who didnt know the laws were glad to have them mentioned and made arrangements with a local FFL or shipped overnite UPS.
There was one time I really wanted a particular vintage old side by side shotgun and bought it online even though there were lots of signals that warned me away. But I really wanted that shotgun, and they didn't come up for sale very often. Thankfully, though it cost me a lot of money in gunsmith inspection fees, return shipping, etc - I got my money back, and didn't injure or kill myself trying to shoot the thing ! (They relisted the gun on GunsAmerica, so I contacted that website and it was taken down immediately. I didnt want someone to get hurt shooting that old vintage shotgun that was found unsafe by a nationally recognized gunsmith expert on those old guns.) I want the particular handgun I was recently looking at too - - - but I learned my lesson from before. Now I try to pay attention to those signals I get from sellers. I'll keep looking. Regards, - - -

Last edited by Pointshoot; October 8, 2012 at 06:02 PM.
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Old October 8, 2012, 06:43 PM   #18
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How can a FFL accept a gun VIA USPS without FFL info inside the box? or foward notice of a gun coming to them via/telephone from another FFL+his FFL #?
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Old October 8, 2012, 06:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9mm
How can a FFL accept a gun VIA USPS without FFL info inside the box? or foward notice of a gun coming to them via/telephone from another FFL+his FFL #?
Well, there are a few ways. Ive actually had USPS just leave one at the door when I had my FFL, thankfully I was home that day, and stumbled on it at the door when I went out to grab the mail. In this case a person/business can take the unopened package back to the post office, and advice them it was left, but you (the receiver) are refusing delivery and want it returned to sender.

Second, there is no guarantee that there is the sending FFL info in the box. Have to look to see if its there.

As to the forward notice, its generally nice to have, but it doesnt always work out that way.
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Old October 8, 2012, 07:35 PM   #20
9mm
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Doesn't it say on the box? like every gun store around here has words that define firearms in the name. Shouldn't the box say something like FROM Heavy Armory store/shop?

Not, john smith 555 lol-lane ?

and won't the ffl have to record whats in stock/transfer? and from WHO!

Most important how does the FFL know who the gun goes to? you gotta fill out the 4473 when picking up..
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Old October 8, 2012, 07:42 PM   #21
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Your asking great questions, so let me try to answer them for you.

Quote:
Doesn't it say on the box? like every gun store around here has words that define firearms in the name. Shouldn't the box say something like FROM Heavy Armory store/shop?

Not, john smith 555 lol-lane ?
From my experience generally no. This is because they do not want the box to scream "GUN - STEAL ME" since there are thefts of packages sent USPS, UPS, and Fed Ex. I have seen a few companies use their name, but thats a rare exception. I used to use the initials of my company name on the return address, and the other local FFL's that I know here still do (I learned it from them).

Also not all stores that sell/ship firearms have a firearm themed name.

Quote:
and won't the ffl have to record whats in stock/transfer? and from WHO!

Most important how does the FFL know who the gun goes to? you gotta fill out the 4473 when picking up..
Yes, both the shipping FFL must record the disposition to the FFL he shipped the firearm to. Also, once received the receiving FFL must also record the firearm as an acquisition.

How does the receiving FFL know who the firearm goes to? Hopefully the shipper put some form of receipt for payment, etc in the box indicating the buyer, so the receiving FFL will know who it is for. At times it does not happen though, and then the receiving FFL has to call/email and try to track down what the deal is with the mystery firearm.

Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; October 8, 2012 at 07:50 PM.
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Old October 8, 2012, 09:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James K
But if you don't have an FFL and want someone to ship a firearm to an FFL holder for delivery to you, have that FFL holder send the shipper a copy of his FFL. That makes the shipment legal and lets the dealer know the gun is coming.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9mm
How can a FFL accept a gun VIA USPS without FFL info inside the box? or foward notice of a gun coming to them via/telephone from another FFL+his FFL #?
Where do the US Postal Service regulations, or Federal law, draw any connection between who can ship a handgun by USPS and what documentation may or may not go in the box and whether or not the receiving FFL must have the sending FFL's license info to receive the handgun?

The USPS requirements, from the link provided above, say:

Quote:
Unloaded Handgun

Handguns — e.g., pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person — are nonmailable UNLESS mailed by a licensed manufacturer of firearms, or a licensed dealer of firearms, or an authorized agent of the federal government or government of a state, territory, or district, and ONLY when addressed to a person in one of the following categories for use in the person’s official duties AND upon filing the required affidavit or certificate, as applicable (see DMM 601.11.1.3–7):
All the regulations appear to require is that a handgun to be shipped by mail must be carried into the post office and consigned for shipment by an FFL. The USPS doesn't enforce BATFE regulations regarding transfers. BATFE transfers allow for interstate transfers involving an FFL only at the recipient's end. The receiving FFL may have a policy against accepting transfers from non-licensees, but I don't see any difference to the receiving FFL if the package is delivered by USPS, UPS or FedEx. If the package contains the private seller's driver's license info, they are all the same.

On the sending end, I'm not seeing anything in black and white that would prohibit an FFL from meeting his buddy at the post office, taking a package already wrapped and sealed, and walking inside the post office to put that package in the mail.
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Old October 8, 2012, 09:56 PM   #23
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Quote:
Unloaded Handgun

Handguns — e.g., pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person — are nonmailable UNLESS mailed by a licensed manufacturer of firearms, or a licensed dealer of firearms, or an authorized agent of the federal government or government of a state, territory, or district, and ONLY when addressed to a person in one of the following categories for use in the person’s official duties AND upon filing the required affidavit or certificate, as applicable (see DMM 601.11.1.3–7):
What about when people send in their gun for repair to a gun company? I heard people mailing them from their house/post office to the gun factory for repairs.

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Old October 8, 2012, 10:52 PM   #24
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My LGS will not accept a handgun that crosses state lines from a person that does not have an FFL or fails to enclose a copy of the senders FFL. I will not ship a C&R weapon without first getting a copy of the buyers valid C & R license either. If you are a non FFL seller and shipping through USPS how would you know if the receiving FFL is a true dealer and not the BATF. Good way to get free room and board.
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Old October 9, 2012, 10:20 AM   #25
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Aguila Blanca
On the sending end, I'm not seeing anything in black and white that would prohibit an FFL from meeting his buddy at the post office, taking a package already wrapped and sealed, and walking inside the post office to put that package in the mail.
While no USPS regulation would be broken, doing the above would be a serious violation of ATF regulations.....the dealer didn't record the aquisition or disposition of that firearm when he took possession from his buddy.


Quote:
9mm What about when people send in their gun for repair to a gun company? I heard people mailing them from their house/post office to the gun factory for repairs.
If they mailed a handgun via USPS they committed a Federal crime. If they used a common carrier to ship the handgun back to the manufacturer they are completely legal. Often the terms "mailed" and "shipped" are used interchangeably.

Quote:
Chuckusaret My LGS will not accept a handgun that crosses state lines from a person that does not have an FFL or fails to enclose a copy of the senders FFL.
So..........how will they know there is no FFL inside the box until they open it? ATF regs REQUIRE them to record the aquisition into their bound book.


Quote:
If you are a non FFL seller and shipping through USPS how would you know if the receiving FFL is a true dealer and not the BATF.
A "nonFFL seller" (actually anyone who is not a dealer or manufacturer) violates Federal law if he ships a handgun via USPS to a dealer.

Altough an 03FFL "Collector of Curios & Relics" is a Federal Firearms License, USPS regulations do not allow 03's to mail or receive by mail firearms other than rifles and shotguns...an 03FFL who mails a handgun to another 03.....they both are in violation of Federal law.

Anyone can verify through ATF's FFLezCheck whether the dealers FFL is valid. A complete list of FFL's is easily found at ATF.gov
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