View Full Version : Shipping guns to one's self

February 21, 2011, 04:05 AM
I am looking to relocate most of my weapons from Wyoming to rural Virginia. For versus reasons it would be better if i did not have to carry them with me in the truck driving cross country. (very little room)

So here the question, what is the best and legal way to get one's firearm collection from one side of the country to the other? I own them and would be the person receiving them on the other end.

Thanks for any advice,

February 21, 2011, 07:42 AM
A couple of years ago I vacationed in Alaska with my family. The year before my wife was charged by a bear in Yosemite. That was something that was scary and I had nothing defensive and was helpless. So I looked into shipping to myself in Alaska one of my pistols. I don't remember all the "ins and outs" but bottom line was it does not work LEGALLY.

I spoke to the highest people in the ATF, I spent perhaps a month working on it. There are contradictions between the ATF regs and the Postal Service. ATF would have signed off, but the Postal System said in so many words that if I was caught doing this I would go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200. I pointed out that the ATF was O.K with it according to their rules. The Postal people, AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS, said "so what, we have our own regulations, we're not subject to ATF's regulations. We WILL ARREST YOU if you are caught. You will go to jail. Look into it for your self. Like I said this was a few years ago. ATF will say "yes", the Postal Service will say "Felony" big time and go to jail. I ended up not trying to do it. Good luck but be very careful.

February 21, 2011, 07:52 AM
Try this:


So UPS will do it, but you have to pay expedited shipping... which means you wouldn't beat them to your new residence. I understand there's a space issue, but honestly, if you're driving across country anyway I would want to keep as much of my gun collection with me as possible.

February 21, 2011, 11:21 AM
My understanding is that commercial shippers "want" a license holder on at least one end. That is, even if their rules say they will ship "between", "amongst", etc., they won't knowingly allow you, if not a license holder, to ship your guns to yourself. I have heard so many stories of shippers apparently not following their own rules, and employees of those shippers enforcing non-existent rules and laws, that no scenario would surprise me, but there you go. I have always chosen to "play the game", and declare my firearms, pay the required expedited shipping, etc., but some people declare "machine parts", ship it cheap, and hope the feds don't find out.

February 21, 2011, 11:32 AM
Not sure if I overdid things, but I did a similar thing a couple years ago.
I was stationed Georgia when I received orders to the UK. I stored them at my cousin's house in FL. Fast forward a number of years later and I had to get them from FL to UT. I simply went to a LGS in Sarasota (The Bullet Hole IIRC. Nice folks by the way, cut me break on some of the shipping.) and had them shipped to my LGS in UT. Kind of a pain but not a real problem. Seemed like the most obvious solution at the time. YMMV.

February 21, 2011, 12:51 PM
My suggestion:
Talk to your local gunsmith about storing your collection for you then shipping the guns to you once you arrive at your destination. Package them or crate them before you give them to him. That way you could be sure they are secure until shipped, and will arrive in good condition.

February 23, 2011, 08:44 AM
the ATF says:
Q: May a nonlicensee ship firearms interstate for his or her use in hunting or other lawful activity?
Yes. A person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in care of another person in the State where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner. Persons other than the owner should not open the package and take possession of the firearm.
this is from the ATF website.

I think UPS and FED-x has a "freight" catagory. and if you box or crate them up you should be able to ship the more reasonably.

February 23, 2011, 11:25 PM
Yes you can ship guns to yourself in care of another person.
No you can NOT mail a handgun.

Rufus T Firefly
February 24, 2011, 10:23 PM
Sell the Fridge or somethng to make room. It sounds like you have a good deal of money riding on someone elses care.

I have trepidation just sending a hand gun for warrenty. Sure mark it "machined parts". Sounds lame to me. How will it be sent back to me? Signature required? Or just left on the door step by UPS ready for anyone to grab it. Sure we have a video cam aimed at the door, but then we have to find the person who took it.

Other than taking them personally, have them shipped from FFL to FFL. You can probably cut a deal for volume.

This kinda raises a red flag for me. Why not ship something else that is not restricted and make room for guns that might be hard to replace or get lost?
If I missed something here, let me know. Just saying.

February 26, 2011, 07:58 PM
I agree with Scorch. FFL to FFL, and pack them carefully yourself.

February 26, 2011, 08:08 PM
Theres not much clarity and repeatability in how arms are shipped. Anything you hear is probably true in that instance. ATF will allow you to ship to yourself. I believe all shippers are regulated by the Postal System (I may be wrong - don't really remember). If you check with the Postal System you will find a totally different set of regulations that contradict ATF. I went all the way to Washington and the absolute highest level that exist for interpretation of the "self shipping regulations".

I'm sure it's done all the time. However, I'm sure that if the Postal System catches you shipping a firearm across a state line without a receiving FFL on the other end. You will go to jail for gun running or other felony charge. By the way, I know of people that have shipped guns to themselves. To their hunting guides for a hunt, and got by with it. I assure you though, that if caught the ATF regulations is not the law - nor protection from prosecution. The Postal Regulations are the Law. Flip it around and view it another way. Think "terroist" instead of hunter. No, a terroist cannot ship firearms to himself legally. If he's in CA and wishes to travel to FLA. he will go straight to jail if caught. Check with the Postal service and see. I spent many, many hours trying to do this exact thing on our Alaska trip. Even posted extensively here I believe, a few years ago. There was simply no way to legally do it. Bottom line is the ATF does not trump the Postal Regulations.

February 26, 2011, 08:13 PM
When I moved X-country, the moving company moved them in their van - they were packed by me, in a box taped closed by me, with an inventory list inside and on the manifest, and I purchased an additional $25,000 in insurance to cover then - they came through just fine

February 27, 2011, 01:03 PM

It was Overkill who did FFL to FFL. I think Scorch's point (not to put words in his mouth) is that since it is legal to send a gun to the factory or to a gunsmith for repair without going through an intermediate FFL, and for them to send it back to you, that storing guns with the gunsmith makes it that kind of transaction. Legally, he will be required to open the crate and log in the serial numbers, but that way you get charged once at one end of the transaction.


The postal rules change from time to time. I didn't research their age, but the rules posted at this site (http://www.cgwgun.com/shipping/usps.aspx) applied at some point.

A friend of mine in import/export brokering says the government agencies get into all sorts of p***ing contests over who is actually in control of what when it comes to guns. Something like seven different agencies claiming jurisdiction over some aspect of it or another. He said one office he deals with actually had two agents from different agencies come to blows over it. Every government entity tries to control its own empire, and woe be to the person whose business finds it's way into overlapping jurisdictions. He will have to try to make them all happy. Add that you never get the same answer from any two people you deal with, and it's a mess.

February 27, 2011, 01:17 PM
I'm mailed long guns to myself a number of times. It's not a big deal other than many postal employees including those "at the highest level" typically don't know what their own rules are and in particular don't know what is legal and what isn't legal.

February 27, 2011, 11:14 PM
Unclenick- Your right! Yeesh. I gotta find my friggin glasses soon. I'll avoid the reloding forum 'till then:D.

February 28, 2011, 04:09 PM
I'm in california, which screws up everything. I've also looked into this.

I can't mail a handgun to myself. Any handgun mailed has to go to an FFL in California. An USPS won't touch it. UPS will, but overnight only. There is a question about breaking it into two pieces for shipping, and labelling it 'parts'. The slides it is ok to do, However, the frame is the 'firearm' from a licensing point of view. If the frame is in the mail, even without the other parts to make it function, it could be viewed as shipping a firearm, and a felony with USPS.

FedEx won't take them from a private party, is my understanding.

However, I am allowed to ship a long gun to myself across state lines, as long as it isn't a california banned assault weapon.

This summer I'll be visiting my mother and my father [two different households] and picking up at least one rifle. I am trying to figure out if it is take my motorcycle and ship the rifles or drive my truck and count the gas as the shipping charges.

March 1, 2011, 08:39 AM
The United State Post Office regulates mail so it rules for themselves.
UPS/FEDEX are shippers
It is LEGAL to ship any GUN to yourself in care of another person. Only you are allowed to open the package. The gun never is transferred to another person so no FFL is needed.
It is allowed by BATFE
No BS involved.