Shipping ammo (again)

I was thumbing through some online auctions, and I came across one that got me thinking about government post office shipping policies on live ammo (or some inert ammo for that matter). I did a bunch of keyword searches for ammo auctions in titles & descriptions for terms like “post office” “flat rate” “USPS” “the mail” etc… and I weeded out a bunch of fodder that didn’t violate, and I still came up with around a total of 200 auctions through at least 20 different sellers who were offering to ship ammo through the US mail. Now this was on Gunbroker, which is the most heavily trafficked gun & ammo buy/sell site on the web as far as non-dealer sales. So it must be seen by many, many people, and some of them must be government employees who could eventually see these listings. So it just left me to wonder, isn’t the driver asleep at the wheel on this one in terms of enforcement, and shouldn’t we avoid being too concerned then with inert ammo shipments at least, or even live ammo for that matter? Of course the government could still randomly decide to drop the legal hammer if it came across a shipment of ammo in the USPS mail somehow, but with so many auctions listed so obviously out in the open… It just leaves one to wonder. And many of the sellers had high feedback, like they have always shipped this way. Here’s one classic example I found:

As a USPS employee, I can say that without a doubt, things fall through the cracks. The enforcement arm of the USPS, the Inspection Service, is undermanned and overwhelmed by mail fraud cases. We handle BILLIONS of letters, magazines and packages every month. Thanks to the unions, mediocracy is the standard. As a cartridge collector, I routinely run across sellers who use us to ship live ammunition, either out of ignorance or willfully. In all honesty, I’ve grown tired of advising sellers that it is against the law to ship live ammo via the USPS… I think that in most cases it is simple ignorance of the law… The USPS is a HUGE entity, and as such cannot police itself and it’s customers 100% of the time. We are consistently undermanned and over-tasked in the name of efficiency and cost-savings. There is no real way to know what is in a box unless it actually breaks open in transit. I have received live ammo through the USPS, and probably delivered packages containing live ammo as well…

That being said, I enjoy my job, warts and all, and only ask that you thank your Letter Carrier the next time you see him or her for their service. It is a job that is a lot harder than it looks!


You are correct that many people (hopefully NOT IAA members!) may be shipping ammo in a manner that is unquestionably illegal.

That is quite a bit different from the very gray area of inert ammunition, or components, or dummies.

Unfortunately, no number of individual opinions from forum members will change what the vague or poorly defined laws or regulations might are, or what they might or might not mean to shippers, recipients, postal authorities the BATFE, and federal prosecutors.

IAA has no liability (and probably not much sympathy) for those who break the law through willful decision, or woeful ignorance. Nor does IAA have to pay the sizable legal bills for attorneys to defend these people if/when they get caught.

I believe that IAA already has people seeking to clarify exactly what the rules are, and what they really mean. When that is ascertained, the information will be shared.

Until there is some factual, official, definitive information to share on the subject of shipping ammunition it is best to NOT confuse people with a lot of personal opinions on the issue.

Like many others, I would really like to know more, but it has to be from an official source. Official information will be posted separately, when it eventually becomes available.