A firearm is defined as any device (including a starter gun) that is designed, or may readily be converted, to expel a projectile by an explosion, a spring, or other mechanical action, or by air or gas pressure with sufficient force to be used as a weapon. Firearms can be divided into dfferent types: (a) Handguns (firearms capable of being concealed on the person such as pistols, revolvers, short-barreled rifles and short-barreled shotgun; (b) Rifles and Shotguns (weapons with overall length of 26 inches or greater and cannot be concealed on a person); (c) Antique Firearm (includes matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap or any firearm manufactured in or before 1898, or a replica of such a firearm).
Shipment by Unlicensed Persons
Any shipper who does not have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) is considered to be an ‘unlicensed person’. An unlicensed person can ship a rifle or shotgun by US Mail but not a handgun. Furthermore, an unlicensed person can only ship firearms to a licensed individual. A copy of the recipient’s FFL license is required and the package can only be shipped to the address indicated on the license.
Shipment by Licensed Persons
Any shipper who has a Federal Firearms License (FFL) is considered to be a ‘licensed person’ and can ship firearms of any kind by US Mail to an FFL holder by simply filling out a US Post Office Form PS 1508 and filing it with the local Post Office branch where the handgun is to be shipped.
All firearms must be shipped unloaded and ammunition may not be packed in the same box as the gun. Shippers should also inform postal service personel that the package contains a firearm. Postal regulations allow USPS employees to open packages which are declared to contain firearms for inspection.
No markings of any kind that indicate the nature of the contents may be placed on the outside wrapper or container of any mailpiece containing firearms.
For more information about the special procedures for shipping firearms, visit the USPS website.