UPS is one of the most popular carriers for shipping handguns and firearms, and as long as you meet the proper guidelines, it’s perfectly legal to send firearms within the UPS network. However, shipping a firearm isn’t as easy as throwing one in a box, handing it over to UPS, and calling it a day. Fortunately, this guide contains all the basics you need to know when shipping firearms with UPS!
Before You Ship Firearms with UPS…are you Licensed?
Since handguns are inherently dangerous items, UPS requires you to either be an importer, manufacturer, dealer, or collector with the proper Federal Firearms License in order to ship them. If you’re a non-licensee, UPS will also accept firearm shipments in very specific situations.
Here are the specific scenarios in which UPS will accept packages containing firearms:
- (a) Sending firearms between licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, and licensed collectors, and government agencies
- (b) Where not otherwise prohibited by federal, state or local law:
- from an individual to a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector
- from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to an individual
Whether you’re licensed or not, you must ensure that your firearm shipment complies with all federal, state, and local laws applicable to the shipper, the recipient, and the package itself.
Learn more about the specific licensing you may need to obtain to send firearms.
The UPS Services You Can Use to Ship Firearms
You’re restricted to next-day service when you ship firearms with UPS, which means you only have three service options for these types of shipments. We’ve laid out those specific services below:
- UPS Next Day Air
- Next Day Air Early
- Next Day Air Saver
Unfortunately, since UPS restricts you to next-day service, you can’t take advantage of their most popular service (UPS Ground). That means it’s going to cost you a bit more to send these packages, since next-day services are the more expensive options UPS offers. However, you can save money on your labels by using shipping software to buy discounted labels online!
You Need to Pay for Signature Confirmation
Whenever you send a firearm shipment, you’ll also need to pay extra for Adult Signature Required; this means the person signing for the package when UPS delivers it needs to be at least 21 years old.
Properly Packaging and Labeling Your Firearm
UPS also requires you to follow specific packaging and labeling guidelines for sending firearms. We’ve listed those guidelines below:
- Packages containing handguns must be separated from other packages that you give to UPS for delivery
- You must pack your firearm in new corrugated packaging that meets the UPS Single Wall Box Strength Guidelines
- In general, be sure to pack all firearms in accordance with UPS Packaging Guideline Specifications
- Labeling, including the shipper’s and consignee’s abbreviated names on the shipping label or air shipping document, must be non-descriptive. That means that all your labeling and outer box markings on your firearms shipments should never identify the contents as containing a firearm
- Ammunition must be shipped separately from packages that contain firearms (including handguns)
Pro Tip: Like we wrote above, you can’t send any ammo within a firearm shipment! In this case, it doesn’t matter if you use UPS or another carrier like FedEx. Ammo must always be packed and shipped completely separately, in its own packaging. Learn more about how to ship ammunition.
Getting Your Firearm Shipment to UPS
Once you’ve bought your label and have packed your shipment, it’s time to take your package to UPS! The thing is, you can’t just take it to any UPS location around town. Here are some things to note when dropping off firearm shipments with UPS:
- You can only ship firearms through a UPS Scheduled Pickup Account using various UPS pickup services, or through a UPS Customer Center
- In this case, “UPS Customer Centers” refer to counters at UPS operational facilities
- You can’t send off firearm shipments via UPS Drop Boxes or UPS On-Call Pickup, and you can’t drop them off at any UPS Store location, any third party retailer, or any UPS Access Point location
- Lastly, you must verbally notify the UPS driver or UPS Customer Center clerk that your package contains a firearm
Are there Any Firearms UPS Doesn’t Accept, or Other Restrictions?
UPS does not accept automatic weapons, including machine guns. Also, UPS won’t accept any type of firearm, firearm part, or ammunition for international shipment.