Shipping Legalities
Federal Law requires that all modern firearms be shipped only to a holder of a valid Federal Firearms License (FFL).’Antique‘ firearms need not be shipped to a licensed dealer. These can be shipped directly to the a non-licensed individual. An antique firearm is a firearm built in or before 1898, or a replica thereof. The exact ATF definition of an antique firearm is:
Antique firearm. (a) Any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; and (b) any replica of any firearm described in paragraph (a) of this definition if such replica (1) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or (2) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade. Knives, air guns, accessories, and mostgun parts need not be shipped to an FFL holder. We say most gun parts because each firearm contains at least one part that the ATF considers a firearm. This part is typically the part that contains the serial number. This part must be treated as a complete firearm when shipping the item.Ammunition must be clearly identified as ‘Small Arms Ammunition’ on the outside of the box. Some shippers treat ammunition as dangerous or hazardous materials.The section of the US Code that governs modern firearms is called Commerce in Firearms and Ammunition (CFA). This code is available online at: www.atf.treas.gov/regulations/27cfr178.htmlViolation of the CFA is a felony and penalties for violation of it are severe.
Federal and State Law Resources
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) has a very comprehensive site containing information about the various Federal and state laws regulating firearms. Please refer to the ATF information for legal questions regarding firearms.
ATF Home page: http://www.atf.treas.gov
ATF Compilation of the various state laws: http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/statelaws/22edition.htm
ATF Firearms Division Main Page: http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/index.htm
 
Notes on specific shippers:US Mail:  Postal regulations allow the Post Office to open a package for inspection. Ammunition cannot be shipped by US Mail. You can search the US Post Office Postal Explorer site for specific USPS regulations regarding firearms and ammunition.

FedEx: FedEx will only ship firearms via their Priority Overnight service. Ammunition must be shipped as dangerous goods.

UPS: UPS will accept handgun shipments by Next Day Air only. Rifles and shotguns can be shipped by UPS ground service. UPS will accept shipments of ammunition.

Most other shippers will no longer accept firearm shipments. Airborne and Roadway have specifically prohibited firearm shipments.

 


Notes on USPS Firearm Regulations
The following info comes from the USPS Regulation DMM Issue 54, January 10, 1999, section C-024Page C-39, section 3.0, Rifles and Shotguns: “Although unloaded rifles and shotguns not precluded by 1.1e and 1.2 are mailable, mailers must comply with the Gun Control Act or 1968, Public Law 90-618, 18 USC 921, et seq., and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, 27 CFR 178, as well as state and local laws. The mailer may be required by the USPS to establish, by opening the parcel or by written certification, that the gun is unloaded and not precluded by 1.1e.”Page C-39, section 6.0, PROHIBITED PARCEL MARKING: “For any parcel containing a firearm or a ballistic or switchblade knife, any marking that indicates the contents is not permitted on the outside wrapper or container.”Page C-37, section 1.3, Authorized Persons: “Subject to 1.4, handguns may be mailed by a licensed manufacturer of firearms, a licensed dealer of firearms, or an authorized agent of the federal government…….”Page C-38, section 1.5, Manufacturers and Dealers: “Handguns may also be mailed between licensed manufacturers of firearms and licensed dealers of firearms in customary trade shipments, or for repairing or replacing parts.”Page C-38, section 1.6, Certificate of Manufacturers and Dealers: “A licensed manufacturer or dealer need not file the affidavit under 1.4, but must file with the postmaster a statement on Form 1508 signed by the mailer that he or she is a licensed manufacturer or dealer of firearms, that the parcels containing handguns (or major components thereof) are customary trade shipments or contain such articles for repairing or replacing parts, and that to the best of his or her knowledge or belief the addressees are licensed manufacturers or dealers of firearms.”