Can You Ship Guns and Ammo?

If you wish to own a gun, you can buy it from a local gun shop or an online gun retailer. When you decide to buy the gun from an online retailer, you will need to have the gun shipped to you. However, you may wonder whether it is legal to ship guns and ammo in the U.S or not.

Is it Legal to Ship Ammo and Guns in the U.S?

Federal and state governments allow people to ship ammo and guns. However, there are rules that you need to obey when it comes to the shipping of these firearms. Below are some of these rules.

You Need a Valid Federal Firearms License for You to Ship Guns and Ammo

To ship a gun or ammo to someone, you need to have a federal firearms license. It will help you prove to the federal government that you operate a lawful and legitimate business. It will also prove that you comply with all the local, federal, and state laws governing the shipping of firearms. You can obtain this license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

The Gun or Ammo Recipient Should Have a Valid Federal Firearms License

If you have a valid federal firearms license, you can ship ammo and guns to any U.S state. However, when shipping guns or ammo to someone living in a different state, they will need to have a valid firearms license. The gun or ammo recipient should email you a copy of this license, as your shipper may need it.

If you want to ship a gun or ammo to a person living in your state, the recipient does not need to have a federal firearms license. However, you should run a background check to ensure that the person is not:

  • A fugitive
  • An undocumented worker
  • A felon
  • A mentally ill person

If You Are Non-Licensee, You Can Mail a Shotgun To a Licensee

You can mail a shotgun to a resident of your state even if you do not have a valid federal firearms license (non-licensee). The gun recipient, however, needs to have this license (licensee). Otherwise, the federal government will not allow you to ship the gun.

You Should Properly Package Guns or Ammo Before Shipping Them

State and federal regulations give guidelines on the packaging of ammo or guns before shipping them. For example, the box where you put the guns should not have labels indicating guns inside the box.

You should use packing materials that will help the guns and ammo remain secure during shipping. For instance, you need to use molded foam inserts or bubble wrap when packing the guns. You should also use a new strong corrugated box. Below are the steps you should follow when packing guns that you need to ship.

  • Obtain a box in which you will keep the gun that you need to ship.
  • Use packing material such as an air-cellular cushion or molded foam inserts to fill the bottom of this box.
  • Put the gun or ammo inside the box.
  • Fill all the empty spaces left after putting the gun. You should use packing material to fill these spaces.
  • Tape all the flaps of the box using pressure-sensitive plastic tape.
  • Put some of this tape on the bottom and top of the packaging box.

You Should Ensure That Guns are Not Loaded Before Shipping Them

When packaging guns, you should ensure that you do not put cartridges in the boxes containing guns. Also, you should turn the gun safety on and ensure that guns are not loaded. Below is the definition of a loaded gun.

What Is a Loaded Gun?

Many people think that you should only consider a gun loaded if there is a round in its chamber. However, this is not the case. You should consider your firearm loaded if it has a cartridge or a projectile in its firing chamber or the magazine. That means you should consider your gun loaded if rounds are in a cartridge magazine attached to the gun.

You Should Notify Shipping Companies That You Are Shipping Guns or Ammo

Before giving out your package for shipping, you should notify the shipping company that you are shipping guns or ammo. For instance, you need to tell the shipping company’s customer care clerk that you want to ship guns or ammo.

You Should Ship Ammo and Guns to People Who Are 18 Years Old or Above

Young people are usually at a higher risk of using guns to commit suicides, unintentional shootings, and homicides. That is why the federal government prohibits young people from purchasing and owning guns.

According to the federal rules and regulations, you should purchase or own a gun if you are 18 years old or older. This rule still applies when it comes to shipping guns and ammo. Therefore, you should ensure that the gun recipient is 18 years or older.

Shipping Ammunition

The federal government usually treats ammunition as a hazardous material. Therefore, people shipping ammunition should label the boxes containing cartridges. They should also ship them following the rules governing the handling of hazardous materials. For instance, before shipping cartridges and small arms, you should pack them in good quality and new boxes. You should partition these boxes and put some protective material inside the box. The material will help prevent the accidental initiation of cartridges. These boxes should also have hazardous materials labels.

Shipping Guns Internationally

For you to ship guns or ammunition internationally, you need to have a federal firearms license. You also need to research the regulations and laws of the country you want to export guns to. If that country prohibits gun importation, you will not be able to export the guns. However, if it is okay for the residents of that nation to import guns, the federal government will allow you to export them. You will need to pay the Directorate of Defense Controls registration fee and fill out the ATF’s permit for firearms exportation.


According to state and federal laws and regulations, it is legal to ship guns and ammo. You, however, need to have a federal firearms license. It will enable you to ship guns or ammo to people living in other states and those not licensed. If you do not have this license, the federal government will only allow you to ship guns and ammo to licensed people living in your state.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap