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It’s not easy being a gun-grabber in the federal government these days. What with narrow — and soon to be split — control of Congress and a new judicial landscape that’s gone a long way to restoring the Second Amendment to its first-class status, it’s not only difficult to pass federal gun control legislation, but many laws that are already on the books are realistically in jeopardy now.

What’s a politician to do when the levers of power don’t seem to be working in their favor? Simple. Enlist the private sector to help out.

That’s what appears to have happened when both arms of the nation’s delivery duopoly simultaneously decided — purely of their own volition, of course — to revamp how gun retailers can use their services to ship firearms, firearm parts and accessories around the country.

It’s probably purely a coincidence that this happened after a group of the usual senatorial suspects sent letters to the heads of UPS, FedEx and other common carriers demanding that they do something about gun violence in America. In other words, figure out a way to make life more difficult and expensive for companies selling lawful products via interstate commerce.

As a result, retailers are now having to comply with new procedures and terms of service that not only enable the carriers to identify and track what’s being shipped to whom, but, according to reports, also ban the companies’ customers from talking about it.

In addition to complicating the lives of firearms and related retailers, the system the companies have devised creates, in effect, a database of gun purchases and customer information. That, of course, would be illegal for the government to do. Federal law prohibits Uncle Sam from creating a federal firearm registry.

But what if private businesses did at least part of that job for them? It would be super-convenient for the feds if all the ATF had to do was email a contact at FedEx or UPS and ask them to search their database to see what had been shipped to Mr. Joe Blow of Bimidji, Minnesota. Or his cousin in, say, Bozeman, Montana.

That’s what some people have come to suspect is behind the carriers’ moves to set up the new tracking system. And one of those people who’s suspicious of the timing and any possible coordination between government and private industry is Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen.

That’s why he, along with a passel of like-minded AGs from other free states, sent letters this week to the CEOs of UPS and FedEx asking them what the hell is going on. As the Washington Free Beacon reports . . .

Republican Montana attorney general Austin Knudsen alleges that new shipping guidelines allow UPS and FedEx “to track firearm sales with unprecedented specificity and bypass warrant requirements to share that information with federal agencies.” The letter, signed by Knudsen and 16 other state attorneys general, says the altered shipping guidelines force licensed firearm dealers into providing detailed information about purchasers who are receiving items through the mail. The letter does not have explicit proof that the shipping giants are sharing information with federal agencies but cites conversations between state officials and licensed firearm dealers who claim they were forced to comply with these regulations.

By requiring firearms dealers to provide an unprecedented level of information about their clients, the shipping companies may be giving “federal agencies a workaround to normal warrant requirements,” the letter states. This ultimately allows them “to provide information at will or upon request to federal agencies—information detailing which Americans are buying what guns.” The state officials are asking UPS and FedEx to provide them with information about any recent rule changes and disclose any role the federal government played in the matter.

That kind of information would be enlightening, wouldn’t it?

In addition to his job enforcing laws in Big Sky Country, AG Knudsen also happens to be an occasional TTAG contributor, so we talked to him today about the letters and what these new shipping requirements likely mean.

He is, to say the least, skeptical of the whole arrangement which he learned of from Montana-based FFLs that were forced to comply in order to continue shipping their products. He told us that it’s at least reasonable to suspect that what’s happening here is the establishment of a de facto firearms registry.

The letter sent by Knudsen and the other state attorneys general asks the two big carriers to disclose a range of information including any coordination of the new policies with ATF or anyone else in the Biden administration, a copy of the new service agreements the companies are imposing on customers, and whether FedEx and UPS colluded coordinated their policies with each other before putting them in place.

AG Knudsen says he expects at least some kind of response from the companies within the 30-day time frame given. But if the companies’ responses aren’t, well, fulsome and useful, he’s prepared to go farther under Montana’s consumer protection laws and move onto a formal civil investigation demand for the information — the functional equivalent of a subpoena — and then filing a lawsuit if needed.

The story has some legs, too, as Knudsen is scheduled to be on Tucker Carlson’s show tonight to talk about his efforts to get to the bottom of this, as well as the dangers involved in this kind of government/private enterprise “cooperation”…if that is, in fact, what’s happening.

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49 COMMENTS

  1. I’m pretty sure they’ve buried their involvement pretty deep……….but if found out, let’s see if we can make em pay!

  2. The firearm and ammunition industry needs to sue UPS, FedEX, and whoever is implementing the new requirements for violating their rights under the 2A.

    The gun industry is a legal industry and needs to demand they be treated no differently than any other industry that uses carriers like UPS, FedEx, or others…

  3. of course it’s what’s happening. and also let’s not forget the credit card thing too that suddenly changed to track firearms sales after democrats wrote them letters.

    • Firearms are legal sporting goods, and can be recorded as such for credit card sales…

      • I pay cash at my LGS. Heck, I pay cash at every brick-and-mortar.

        So, check this out…a little off topic, but interesting.

        An LE buddy of mine has his eye on a certain newer model gat, so he offered to sell me one of his off-rosters. This is a model that doesn’t have all the restrictions “roster” guns do, so I jumped at the chance. Besides, I want to have a second gat listed on my CCW in case I’m ever involved in a defensive event and my first one disappears into the LASD/L.A.D.A. abyss and never comes home to me.

        Because I hold a CCW, I’m exempted from some of the lines on the DROS form, and am even exempted from the usual “locked container” rule to remove it from the store upon completion of transfer. But I must still wait thru the mandatory 10-day “cooling off” period before I can pick up my gunn. I had a little fun with it and pointed to my AIWB, asking how much sense it makes to make me wait a week and a half in case I’m contemplating shooting myself or someone else, when I already have a gunn on my person as we speak. The LGS owner laughed and said nobody’s exempt. In fact, the Federal agent who was selling the darned thing to me said even he has to wait for his own purchases, even though he’s licensed by two departments to carry fully automatic weapons!

        Let’s recap.

        I am not allowed to buy an off-roster gunn because the State of CA tells us it’s not safe. But I can buy it from another person because then it’s suddenly safe. And I must wait a full 10 days before I can take possession, because taking it immediately is not safe. But I already have a gunn on my belt, because I have a CCW showing me as being trusted as safe.

        Got it. I think.

        • And that’s why I got an FFL. Can’t go off roster in MA either. I can’t sell a new Glock (no manual safety) for $500. But I can buy/sell a used cop turn in Glock for $700.

      • They aren’t recorded as sporting goods any more in credit card sales, they are recorded as specifically firearms.

  4. They had better get these companies under control. This won’t stop at just gun related stuff. Will will become whatever they don’t like. Adult toys to car parts, it’s all at their discretion.

  5. FEDERAL REGISTRY , UUUH , OK , UUUH I GUESS , THOUGHT ATF HAD IT ALL COVERED REGISTRY , SSA # , BACK GROUND CHECKS , UUUUH WHATEVER DUDE UUUH …
    OMG OMG N OMG WHATEVER … OOOO A JOB FOR SOME ONE , HOPE IT AN AMERICAN THAT GETS THE JOB AND PAYS TAXES …

  6. THERE ISN’T A DUOPOLY.

    You are forgetting about the good old USPS. Maybe they are worth looking at again. Remember that a dealer can ship anything through the USPS.

    Non-dealers/manufacturers can ship long guns through USPS. (No hand guns or receivers)

    • There is also Spee-Dee delivery, which serves only states in the Midwest. Have had things delivered by them in the past, and they were pretty quick. Not sure though of what rules they may have regarding firearms.

    • UPS has some sort of deal where they are doing the long haul on a bunch of USPS package movement. It gets to the regional facility and USPS does the last mile delivery. What do you bet that contract was used as an arm twister to comply.

  7. This kind of government/private enterprise “coordination” should be listed in the dictionary as an example under the definition of fascism. But in our interesting world my deeply-held (and oath-bound) convictions about the meaning and intent of the U.S. Constitution are considered, by the Chief Executive (and Official Olfactory Appreciator of Female Follicles), as “near fascism”.

    Hmmm…remind me again how electing Uncle Joe was supposed to be a return to “normalcy and civility”?

  8. Of course they are because they are probably being intimidated. Its time people realize that the current government is lawless and only expects others to obey the law. It is time people realize there are only two options left for you. Obey and be subjugated or fight for your freedom. You better make up your mind now and be prepared because at this rate you are going to have to decide sooner than later if you want to be free. One simple question to ask yourself. Are you willing to sacrifice for what you believe in as did the Founding Fathers or are you going to go quietly and be told what to think, when to obey, and how? Don’t become a Useful Idiot and believe this is all for your own good. Its NOT.

  9. Grenades, they got holes in the bottom, but we sure are shipping a lot of grenades and trigger go fasters.
    Janet? Janet?
    We dont need no water let the mother*beep* burn
    Burn mother*beep* burn

  10. Do the letters BAMN mean anything to you? Of COURSE they are cooperating with the democrat/traitors to “work around” the actual laws governing this. By the way for Dacian and Miner49IQ, the letters mean By Any Means Necessary.

  11. I have serious questions about the concern in this article.

    First:
    All firearms shipped between manufacturers, distributors, and/or FFLs will be in their bound books (or equivalents). All of those records are open to ATF inspection for any reason or no reason. What does fedzilla stand to gain with shipper-provided information?

    Second:
    Manufacturers, distributors, and FFLs cannot/do not ship firearms directly to John Q. Public. Thus, there are no firearm shipping records to private purchasers because there are no shipments to private purchasers.

    Don’t get me wrong–I detest the thought of companies demanding private information and sharing it with fedzilla. I just don’t see any information that shipping companies are acquiring which fedzilla does not already have–or at least already have access to.

    If I am missing something, please fill me in.

    • First off, UPS & FedEx both demand that firearms be shipped in non-descriptive packaging.
      Yet with the “firearms account” you are required to put the serial number in reference field 1, and a description in field 2. Both those are printed on the label for the whole world to see.
      A third account is also required for any and all “parts” being shipped.
      So who’s business is it to know you ordered a replacement barrel, springs, stocks, etc. for firearms?
      Then there is the requirement that UPS can demand full customer information about who ordered what from the vendor. Are there not privacy laws about customers involved here?
      No, this whole thing has the aroma of illegal conduct by ATF and politicians.
      Considering the number of firearms lost/stolen by the shipping companies, I can see them being blackmailed into this to avoid responsibility for their neglect.

    • This is just one part of a larger assault. Another part is the development of a database by banks and card companies to track firearm purchases at the retail level using the newly established merchant category code. Ostensibly to be able to predict who might be the next mass shooter. A war is never fought on just one front.

      https://www.law.com/dailybusinessreview/2022/11/30/banks-devising-ways-to-id-mass-shooters-before-they-strike/?slreturn=20221101085337

    • “All of those records are open to ATF inspection for any reason or no reason. What does fedzilla stand to gain with shipper-provided information?”

      It’s a federal crime for the government to build a firearm registry. So, it smells a lot like to me a way for private companies to do what the government is legally-prohibited from doing.

      All the while innocently proclaiming that they aren’t the ones building that registry.

      Sue the bastards for a violation of our civil rights, and throw those responsible in federal prison… 🙁

    • “Manufacturers, distributors, and FFLs cannot/do not ship firearms directly to John Q. Public.”

      In general that is correct, but if I recall correctly, there’s an exception for an individual to ship a gun back to it’s manufacturer for warranty or recall reasons, and for the manufacturer to ship them back to your in your private home, without going through an FFL.

      Am I in error on that exception?

      • Correct.
        That is how the GCA was written, and has been followed by the shippers up until now.
        Now that UPS & FedEx will not allow an individual to ship a firearm, that leaves USPS for long guns only.
        Everything else has to go thru a ffl.
        I have “heard” that if a manufacturer sends a pre-paid label to the owner, it can be shipped. But second hand hearsay is not fact.

        • Over the years I’ve had to send several back to the mfg. or their authorized repair facilities. In my cases it was either I returned to the store I purchased from and THEY handled it, or the mfg. sent me a return label and I’d drop the package at the local UPS, USPS or FedEx store. When they returned my gun I just had to sign for the package at my door, since it was already mine, or pick it up at the store that sent it off for me. No new paperwork.

    • There is also the matter of a warranty repair or service. Don’t have to go through an FFL to send a fire-arm back to the manufacturer for such work. I received a shipping label and took it directly to FEDEX (this was back in 2013 or so).

      Once the work was done—it was shipped directly back to me (well, my home of record since I was stationed in CA at the time).

      *I didn’t see Geoff PR, Jimmy, nor Billb’s reply before drafting this up.

  12. For the moment let’s set aside concerns about privacy and/or collusion between private companies and fedzilla.

    Now, having set those concerns aside, let’s review a very simple and commanding principle of warfare: while we don’t want our enemies to know every detail about us, we DO want our enemies to know that we are in a VERY strong position/situation. The stronger our position/situation, the less likely our enemies are to attack us. Thus in some respects it is a good thing if fedzilla knows that We the People have more than 100 million firearms and billions of rounds of ammunition and therefore that We the People have significant strength to repel any attack–foreign or domestic–on our liberties. This could be the deciding factor which convinces fedzilla that violating our liberties is a losing proposition.

    Disclaimer: as I said in my previous comment above, I detest the idea of companies demanding private information and sharing that information with fedzilla. All I am saying is that fedzilla getting a clearer picture of our “armed to the teeth” status can be a positive if it convinces fedzilla to respect our liberties rather than violate them. Remember, the only fight that we are guaranteed to win is the fight that never happens.

    • Second Disclaimer:

      Yes, in a perfect world no one violates our privacy and no company colludes with fedzilla to share private information with fedzilla outside of a righteous search warrant–and no one (private or government) infringes our right to keep and bear arms.

      And yes, in a perfect world we should never have to surrender one right (privacy) to exercise another right (keep and bear arms).

      Newsflash: we don’t live in a perfect world. If we can somehow protect both rights, I am all for it. If not, well, at least we better gain something such as a compelling reason for fedzilla to respect our liberties–even if that respect comes begrudgingly because We the People are “armed to the teeth”.

    • The issue is that compliance is always done, one guy at a a time. There will not bee wholesale invasions, just a 4am battering ram on your door. You and your family MIGHT survive. It is more likely that you will be killed “resisting” arrest. Just like the chi-coms are doing right now against their covid protests.

    • “For the moment let’s set aside concerns about privacy and/or collusion between private companies and fedzilla.”

      Kinda hard to, since suing the bastards is a good way for that crap to be stopped.

      “let’s review a very simple and commanding principle of warfare: while we don’t want our enemies to know every detail about us, we DO want our enemies to know that we are in a VERY strong position/situation.”

      Not in this case! They already know we have lots of guns, they consonantly bitch loudly about it.

      We are in a far stronger position for the Fed to be very concerned that if they ever piss us off badly enough, that they have no idea what doors to knock on when they finally begin to start confiscation.

      We don’t work for them, they work for *us*. It’s best that they be reminded of that… 🙂

  13. “The letter, signed by Knudsen and 16 other state attorneys general”. I wonder if Colorado’s AG is one of the signatories….ah ha ha ha ha…I kill me…

    • Seems to me this might be an opportunity to start a nation wide shipping business sans fed intervention. If it’s legal GFY federally’s.

  14. What’s a politician to do when the levers of power don’t seem to be working in their favor? Simple. Enlist the private sector to help out.

    Yep, after all it worker for the Nazis

  15. “Montana AG Austin Knudsen Wants to Know if FedEx and UPS are Colluding With the Biden Administration…”

    If it is indeed an actual collusion, what’s the legal penalty for collusion to violate someone’s civil rights? A federal prison sentence?

    Is that an angle we can use when suing them?

    • The Puppet Admin has already been caught colluding with Big Tech to censor inconvenient speech. It was met with a yawn by the crowd always screaming “FASCIST!!! THREAT TO DEMOCRACY!!!”

      Remember, these people made sure a peon (Papadopoulos) did actual jail time for getting caught in an inconsequential lie during an illegitimate investigation brought about by lies from the Hillary campaign. Meanwhile, the director of the FBI (Comey) broke the law, but was never charged. The FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe, committed the same crime as Papadopoulos. He never went to jail. He was rewarded by the Puppet Administration. FBI lawyer Michael Sussmann also committed the same crime. Actually, it was worse because he was working to keep the illegitimate investigation going. He didn’t end up in jail. He was rewarded by the establishment. That’s how it works. Crickets from the “threat to democracy” crowd.

      Don’t expect anything to happen. Most Republicans don’t even want to get involved because “free market” or something. “Build your own twitter, facebook, google, and UPS!” All you have to do is win people over in the “marketplace of ideas” because the “marketplace” totally isn’t controlled by the opposition or anything. Look at the freak out over them losing control of twitter. Even the EU is on Musk’s case over it.

  16. I think the Montana AG already knows the answer to that question. But you will never get the truth from Fedex or UPS. There’s no point even bringing it up to that stupid son of a bitch in the WH.

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