Q&A Wednesday: May I lawfully ship a firearm directly to an out-of-State licensee…

May I lawfully ship a firearm directly to an out-of-State licensee (FFL holder), or must I have a licensee in my State ship it to him? May the licensee return the firearm to me, even if the shipment is across State lines?


Any person may ship firearms directly to a licensee in any State, with no requirement for another licensee to ship the firearm. However, handguns are not mailable through the United States Postal Service and must be shipped via common or contract carrier.(18 U.S.C. §§ 1715). Firearms shipped to FFLs for repair or any other lawful purpose may be returned to the person from whom received without transferring the firearm through an FFL in the recipient’s State of residence. FFLs may also return a replacement firearm of the same kind and type to the person from whom received. 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(2)(A).

Q&A Wednesday: May I lawfully transfer a firearm to a friend who resides in a different State?

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Q&A: May I lawfully transfer a firearm to a friend who resides in a different State?


Under Federal law, an unlicensed individual is prohibited from transferring a firearm to an individual who does not reside in the State where the transferee resides. Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of State, the firearm must be shipped to a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) within the recipient’s State of residence. He or she may then receive the firearm from the FFL upon completion of an ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check. More information can be obtained on the ATF website at www.atf.gov and http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/unlicensed-persons.html. The GCA provides an exception from this prohibition for temporary loans or rentals of firearms for lawful sporting purposes. Thus, for example, a friend visiting you may borrow a firearm from you to go hunting. Another exception is provided for transfers of firearms to nonresidents to carry out a lawful bequest or acquisition by intestate succession. This exception would authorize the transfer of a firearm to a nonresident who inherits a firearm under the will of a decedent. See 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(5).