More Battles Ahead

Jul 11, 2022

Today's feature is from our parent service, The Outdoor Wire -- and our publisher, Jim Shepherd.

Over the weekend, confirmation that the company that once billed itself as “the tightest ship in the shipping business” is tightening the screws on firearms parts manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

United Parcel Service (UPS), the company with the seemingly ubiquitous brown trucks has published a new set of rules they say are designed to “prevent” their inadvertently breaking the new federal laws pertaining to “ghost guns.”

I’m certain it’s purely coincidental that UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service were all recipients of a letter from five anti-gun Senators (Markey- D/MA, Blumenthal-D/CT, Booker-D/NJ, Murphy-D/CT, and Feinstein-D/CA) pressuring them to “end shipping of firearm parts, demanding answers on how they ship firearms and parts, secure them, the numbers shipped and more” according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

UPS, it seems, decided to preempt their potentially being invited to Washington to testify at House hearings called by committee chair Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Rep. Maloney has already sent “invitations” to Daniel Defense CEO Marty Daniel, Smith & Wesson Brands CEO Mark Smith, and Ruger CEO Chris Killoy “requesting their presence” at a July 20 congressional hearing.

Judging from Rep. Maloney’s statement on the hearing, it’s doubtful the trio will receive a very cordial reception: “Since the Oversight Committee launched our investigation into the gun industry and its disgraceful role in marketing these dangerous weapons, we found that Daniel Defense, Smith & Wesson, and Sturm, Ruger play prominent roles in an industry that makes billions of dollars in profits selling these products,” she said.

Don’t know about contempt of Congress should any of the three decide not to appear for their public flogging, but it would take plenty of restraint for me to hold in my contempt for Congress with shenanigans like this.

It would be “uncomfortable” for Congress to hold hearings on the latest mass shooting to determine why the shooter in the Highland Park, Illinois murders was issued one of Illinois’ Firearm Owner Identification Cards (FOID). Police had already removed knives and swords from his home after he was labeled a “clear and present danger.” But that info was never reported to the NICS system. Consequently, he had little-if any- difficulty in purchasing weapons. Another question mark in that tragedy is why his father would co-sign his FOID application?

Pardon the digression.

UPS, according to published reports, has confirmed its new gun policy, although it claims it will affect “a limited number of customers.”

Here’s the new policy, taken directly from the UPS website:

“UPS does not accept firearms (including handguns) and firearm parts for shipment domestically unless (1) such shipments are in full compliance with all federal, state, and local laws, including, without limitation, age restrictions; (2) such firearms, including any partially complete, disassembled, or nonfunctional frame or receiver (as defined by 27 CFR § 478.12) have been identified and bear a serial number in a manner that complies with federal law; and (3) such firearm parts within a package cannot be assembled to form a firearm.

Any item that meets the definition of a firearm (including firearm mufflers or silencers) or a frame” or receiver” under federal law (including any partially complete, disassembled, or nonfunctional frame or receiver as defined by 27 CFR § 478.12) must be identified and bear a serial number in satisfaction of the requirements for identifying such items under federal law, including 27 CFR § 478.92 and/or 27 CFR § 479.102, regardless of whether any such items are otherwise exempt from or not subject to identification requirements under applicable law. This prohibition applies even before the effective date of 27 CFR § 478.12.”


There are also very specific requirements concerning just how packages containing the approved items must be packed, shipped and received.

What can be done? Hard to say. UPS, after all, is not a public utility, it’s a for-profit business and is making a decision executives will have the least amount of negative impact on them. It would take either a significant amount of business loss or a massive change in Congress to “encourage” them to reconsider their revised standards.

Just I case I hadn’t already introduced enough irritants to ruin your second cup of morning coffee, another piece of legislation, the RETURN Act (Return Our Constitutional Rights Act) introduced by Georgia Representative Andrew Clyde (R) has totally knotted the knickers of many outdoor groups. Clyde’s legislation would repeal the Pittman-Robertson excise tax. Any tax repeal sounds appealing, until you remember that Pittman-Robertson is the primary source of wildlife conservation funding.

NSSF’s Mark Oliva described it as “a terribly misguided piece of legislation” and that’s decidedly not an exaggeration. Since its going into effect in 1937, Pittman-Robertson has generated more than $15 billion dollars for conservation. It’s a primary driver of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

Representative Clyde, whatever his reasoning, is overlooking a key fact about the excise tax: it was requested by the people who would be paying it -hunters, shooters and ammunition makers.

And it’s only Monday.

We’ll keep you posted.

— Jim Shepherd