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Shipping Class Iii Weapons


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#1 TD.

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Posted 13 April 2004 - 08:58 PM

I am working a deal on a Thompson with a private individual who resides out of state. The Thompson is currently on a Form 4. I know the tax will have to be paid so the Thompson can be transferred to my in-state dealer on a Form 3 before it can be transferred to me. When the Form 3 transfer is approved, the owner wants to ship it to my dealer via the United States Postal Service. My question is as follows: Is it legal for an individual in one state to ship via the US Mail a Class III firearm to a Class III dealer in another state? Does anyone conduct business using the US Post Office as a shipper? Aside from the legality of this type of shipment, I am also worried about package tracking and security. Does anyone have any comments or experience with the questions I have raised?
Thanks in advance. Tom

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#2 Ron A

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Posted 13 April 2004 - 09:14 PM

I have always used UPS - I like the tracking and being able to check each day. I have never used the USPO - and due to prior events don't think I would ship thru them. I send priority mail for small, low cost items.
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#3 Grey Crow

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Posted 13 April 2004 - 09:22 PM

I don't think you can legally ship via the USPS, I always use UPS or FedEx.

I ship 3 day express and you have the ability to watch it along the way as it passes through various stages. Plenty of insurance as well!
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#4 LSU Tiger

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Posted 13 April 2004 - 09:33 PM

I've used FedEx for anything over $50.00, and I've never been sorry. The last time I shipped a firearm, I HAD to use overnite. The shipping and packing company said it was a FedEx policy. huh.gif
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#5 full auto 45

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Posted 13 April 2004 - 10:12 PM

I would use FedEx or UPS overnight shipping. It might cost you a few bucks more, but it is there by 10:30 the next morning. FedEx seems to have a better track record for shipping overnight firearms then most. but the boys in brown are good. Make sure you insure it for say about 5 grand more then you paid for it. It's only .35 cents per hundred dollars. So 15000 would cost you a extra $52.15. Not bad for the bucks.
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#6 TSMGguy

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 12:38 AM

It is perfectly legal to use the USPS, as long as all NFA requirements have been previously complied with.

Use REGISTERED mail.

You will seal the package yourself, using paper tape, as this will take the required inked anti-tampering stamps that will be applied by the post office. You will be required to state the contents and their value: I merely say, "firearm".

My friendly USPS counter person related that when the Hope diamond toured the country recently, this is how it was transported from city to city. He also mentioned that no registered shipment has ever been lost or stolen. Ever.

PK suggested this method when I shipped him my WH M1 recently; it worked like a charm. His packing advice? "Pack the gun as though you were going to throw it across the room!"

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#7 Sig

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 05:25 AM

TD
I cut and pasted right from the USPS website below:

Unloaded Rifle or Shotgun
Short-barrelled rifles or shotguns that can be concealed on the person are
nonmailable.
Mailer must comply with Gun Control Act of 1968 and with state and local laws.
USPS may require mailer to open parcel or give written certification that
weapon is unloaded and not concealable.
Registered mail service is recommended

Also try the link. Whatever you do DO NOT mention machinegun, it is a rifle to anyone USPS, UPS or FedEx they just don't understand and also do not need to know. Hanguns are a no no for us civies at USPS.

Also absolutely do not ship it USPS unless it is registered and insured. You will be fine if you do that and take PK's suggestion to TSMGguy pack so it can be thrown across the room without hurting it!

NOW here is where I will spout a bit. Reading the USPS website it says short-barrelled rifles or shotguns that can be concealed on the person are nonmailable. I would have to say taking the most conservative approach to this statement which I always do when dealing with firearms, that a Thompson is NOT mailable by USPS. Now some may have got away with it and some may still do it in the future. I would argure against anyone about the concealability of a Thompson, but from a legal definition the Thompsons (originals) are far less than 16". Anything not a MG less than 16" needs a tax stamp as a SBR and if push came to shove I am sure the USPS would default to that as a measure. Comments anyone?

Therefore based on this I would use UPS or Fed Ex. I usually use Fed Ex.

michael

USPS link on subject
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#8 Jay Baker

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 06:15 AM

My .02 on this subject: I have used USPS twice to mail machineguns. Just as TSMGguy says, use Registered mail, and someone will sign for it everytime it changes hands. Its location will be monitored constantly and be sure its fully insured. I'd rather ship firearms by a quasi-government agency than a private carrier with their part-time employees of dubious backgrounds.

Sig is correct, when shipping with USPS, I identify the article has a firearm or rifle. NEVER use the term machinegun or submachinegun, that would be too much information, so keep it simple. USPS seems only to be concerned that there be no ammo in the shipment. Nor will they accept sidearms from non-licensees. I don't know if FFL's can ship sidearms, if they do, they probably would have to go Overnight like FedEx.
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#9 TD.

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 06:25 AM

Thanks for the input thus far. As I read the posts, I think everyone has provided very useful information. I do not think it is a problem for Dealer-to-Dealer transfers of any type firearm using the USPS - Hadrede is right on point. An individual using the USPS to ship a rifle with a barrel long than 16" (West Hurley M1) is also not a problem - TSMG is right on point. The use of Registered Mail and complying with NFA requirements is a given. However, my question concerns an individual sending a short barrel (rifle) Thompson through the US mail to a Class III dealer. Sig's interpretation of the US Postal Code is exactly how I read the regulations. I believe an individual could be on shaky ground in using the US Mail to ship a Class III Thompson because of the barrel length of a Thompson. If the question involved a M16 with a barrel length over 16", I don't see a problem with the US Postal Service as a carrier. I think the question comes down to barrel length and concealability, but I would like to hear from others that may have something to share on this question. Thanks, Tom
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#10 TD.

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 07:28 AM

Hardrede - I agree that a dealer can ship any NFA weapon. I don't see in the regulations where an individual can ship a rifle (or machine gun) with a barrel length that is less than 16". Tom
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#11 TSMGguy

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 10:28 AM

My thoughts: If it's illegal for you to OWN the gun, then it's illegal for you to SHIP it. The converse is true as well. Why go looking for restrictions where there are none?

A TSMG is not a SBR.

Include a usable copy of the form 3 or 4 to cover the recipient. Registered USPS mail is the only truly secure shipping method that there is.

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#12 21 smoker

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Posted 14 April 2004 - 11:31 AM

I remember the conversation with PK when I shipped him my 28,,,he and I got a good laugh when he told me `It`s actually easier to ship machine guns than to ship pistols`... pretty ironic,but true and UPS never asked what I was shipping to PK...someday I`ll see it again,just kidding Paul,just kidding,out. wink.gif
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#13 Tman

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Posted 26 April 2004 - 11:09 AM

According to ATF regs, a non-licensee can ship via USPS a rifle or shotgun to a licensed dealer in any state. I am not in a position to interpret USPS regs. We have worked cases against UPS drivers diverting firearms from their runs. I just don't trust them. Now if it were me doing the shipping, I would use FedEx. It may cost more, but I have the piece of mind that it will get there. Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance.
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#14 Bill in VA

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Posted 26 April 2004 - 07:35 PM

TD,
This isn't exactly an answer to your initial question (which has been pretty well answered.) Instead, it's about your transfer. You staed the gn was out of state, you were going to have to pay a tax to get it on a Form 3 so it can be transferred to your in-state dealer and then eventually to you. IMHO, that sounds like a total of three transfers, one of which is unecessary. Federally speaking, your seller can transfer it tax-paid directly to your in-state FFL who can then transfer the gun to you (for a total of two taxes and two transfers, instead of two taxes and three transfers.) OTOH, there may be more info you've left out, such as if the gun is coming from a state such as Kalifornia which requires FFL on both ends.
Just trying to suggest a way for you to save a little time and get your gun a little quicker...

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#15 TD.

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Posted 27 April 2004 - 10:02 PM

Thanks for everyone's response. I believe this has been a useful post. I personally like the FedEx option best for a non-dealer. However, if I were a dealer, I would not hesitate to ship any firearm with USPS registered mail. As a non-dealer I don't see any potential USPS problems shipping a Class III firearm that does not have a short barrel or concealability issues. I do believe USPS registered mail is very safe.

Bill, you caught me in my initial post. If the deal would have gone through, the Thompson would have been transferred to my in-state dealer on a tax paid Form 4 - then to me on another tax paid Form 4. Sorry for the confusion. Unfortunately, the deal went south because of several issues so I am back looking again. Anyone know of Colt Thompson for sale?
Tom

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