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Old 08-04-2011, 05:19 PM
pistolwrench's Avatar
pistolwrench pistolwrench is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Prescott Valley, AZ
Posts: 6,294
I'm frequently astounded by the ignorance of the law and the lack of common sense exhibited by posters on this subject.
And I am disgusted by those that get secondhand incorrect information and then proclaim it to be the undeniable truth.

Please take the time to read this thread:

And please thank Hanno for this most informative post:

"It is a federal felony to mail a handgun (or even a stripped handgun frame) unless you are a federally licensed firearms dealer or manufacturer mailing to another federally licensed firearms dealer or manufacturer. There are some other extremely limited exceptions to this prohibition against mailing a handgun in the statute for LE, military, etc., for official duties. 18 USC 1715

Federal law defines a handgun as a firearm. 18 USC 921

Federal law defines a firearm frame or receiver as a firearm. 18 USC 921

The longer version:

When it comes to mailing a handgun, the controlling statute is 18 USC 1715.

“Section 1715. Firearms as nonmailable; regulations
Pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed on the person are nonmailable and shall not be deposited in or carried by the mail or delivered by any officer or employee of the Postal Service. Such articles may be conveyed in the mail, under such regulations as the Postal Service shall prescribe, for use in connection with their official duty, to officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Organized Reserve Corps; to officers of the National Guard or militia of a state, territory, commonwealth, possession, or district; to officers of the United States or of a state, territory, or district whose official duty is to serve warrants of arrest or commitments; to employees of the Postal Service; to officers and employees of enforcement agencies of the United States; and to watchmen engaged in guarding the property of the United States, a state, territory, commonwealth, possession, or district. Such articles also may be conveyed in the mail to manufacturers of firearms or bona fide dealers therein in customary trade shipments, including such articles for repairs or replacement of parts, from one to the other, under such regulations as the Postal Service shall prescribe. Whoever knowingly deposits for mailing or delivery, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail according to the direction thereon, or at any place to which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any pistol, revolver, or firearm declared nonmailable by this section, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
18 U.S.C. 1715

The question then is whether a stripped handgun frame is a firearm.

Here is the definition of firearm in federal law (Section 921. Definitions):

"(3) The term “firearm” means
(A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;
(B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon;
(C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or
(D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm."

As the Court noted in United States v Broadnax, No. 08-10494:

"The frame counts as a “firearm” under 921(a)(3). Thus, evidence that the frame of the firearm was “in and affecting interstate commerce” because it was manufactured in Florida and ended up in Texas is factually and legally sufficient."

Mail a stripped frame and you just might find yourself dealing with an Assistant U.S. Attorney. If you have any doubt as to how they define firearms, read the following:

“"DEFINITION OF "FIREARM": 18 USC 921(a)(3), (4). Any weapon (including a starter gun) which will expel a projectile by means of an explosive or is designed or may be readily converted to do so. This includes the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any firearm muffler or silencer or any destructive device. A "destructive device" includes any explosive, incendiary or poison gas --- (i)bomb; (ii) grenade or (iii) similar device, or any combination of parts designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device, or from which a destructive device may be readily assembled. Does not include antique firearms.”

Finally, take a look at this little bit from the Domestic Mail Manual:

“8.10 Other Laws and Regulations

"Particular matter may be mailable under postal statutes and regulations, but customers may have responsibilities under nonpostal statutes and regulations concerned with possession, treatment, transmission, or transfer of such matter (e.g., 49 CFR 100-185 (Department of Transportation Regulations); the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-513), 21 USC 801, et seq.; and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-618), 18 USC 921, et seq.).”

Well, there is is.

At least a couple times a year these "hey, it really is legal to mail a handgun (or stripped frame)" threads will pop up on the various gun boards. The law hasn't changed and wishful thinking doesn't make it so.

Last edited by hanno; 06-24-2011 at 02:12 PM. "
Cheap-Fast-Good...pick any two!

Last edited by dsk; 08-04-2011 at 07:04 PM.
Old 08-04-2011, 06:11 PM
Dave Berryhill Dave Berryhill is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: The Great State of Texas
Age: 57
Posts: 2,656
I might add to Pistolwrench's excellent (and legally correct) post that I contacted the legal department of the USPS to see if their policy on shipping a receiver was different than shipping a complete handgun. I was told that the USPS follows the same federal laws as everyone else and that they consider a receiver to be a "firearm" as defined by the U.S. Code reference by Pistolwrench.
Dave Berryhill
Berryhill Custom Gunsmithing
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