FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Can I Ship My Firearms to another Lawful State for Use?

A common question and need of a lawful possessor of a firearm is how to ship it to another place for shooting sports activities. This may be somewhat familiar to you if you have purchased a firearm (handgun) in another state from an FFL.

This is lawful and accomplished by paying for the firearm in the state where you are non-resident and taking delivery through an FFL and completing the ATF 4473 form and NICS check in your home state. In fact, it is possible in some cases to purchase long guns in other state and complete the ATF 4473 and NICS check there.

In other words, and by comparison, there must be a way to lawfully ship firearms?

Where you already own the firearm and need to ship it for use and cannot travel with the firearm by private transportation or by checked luggage in certain commercial carriers, how can this be accomplished? Can it be accomplished?

Yes, but this gets tricky. You can ship the firearm through commercial shipper, such as UPS or FedEx by following their procedures and shipping it in care of another person in the state where you intend to use it to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity, which may range from a shooting competition to any of the other myriad of activities in which firearms are (lawfully) used.

To do so, the firearms may be ship addressed to the owner in the care of the out-of-state resident. When the firearm arrives at its destination, the out-of-state-resident who receives the package cannot open the package or otherwise take possession of the firearm.

However, there are a number of state or federal laws this seemingly simple and innocent transaction may run afoul of. For instance, and using hunting as an example, if the state has an assault weapons ban (such as California), despite the fact rifle hunting may be otherwise lawful, an AR-15 would be a violation of the state’s law and thus a crime to possess. Under state or federal law, if the out-of-state recipient is a felon or under a civil protective order and Brady-disqualified, this may also be a criminal act.

Due care and consideration and research is necessary and advised. This may require consulting with law enforcement or a lawyer in the foreign state.

Alternatively, a person may ship firearms directly to an FFL holder in any state. In other words, an FFL is not required in both states to effectuate this shipping, although this may be advised as a way to mitigate unnecessary risk.

A final point to always remember is that handguns are non-mailable items and cannot be shipped through the United States Post Office1. A common or commercial carrier has to ship handguns. In addition, this shipping would have to be permissible under a consideration of all other local, state and federal laws. And the carrier’s rules must be followed.

If you are more familiar with the process of shipping firearms lawfully possessed, then this blog post has met its educational goals. Again, however, any shipping of firearms must comply with all local, state and federal requirements. This blog post was written by attorney Bryan L. Ciyou, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., Indianapolis, Indiana. It is not a solicitation for legal services or an indication any member of the firm practices outside of jurisdictions where licensed.


  1. 18 U.S.C. § 1715.

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More