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TTAG reader JF writes:

So I submitted an inquiry via the UPS web portal on how to obtain the “exemption” to the general prohibition on shipping silencers. I received an auto response promising that my inquiry would be answered within four hours. Of course, that did not happen. I pinged the support ticket system again. I finally got a response that my account rep would contact me. Another 48 hours . . .

A UPS account rep calls me and we play a little telephone tag. Finally get to speak to him. He has no idea how to get me the exemption.

I explain that I am a licensed manufacturer with an SOT (Special Occupational Taxpayers) that allows me to lawfully transact these items. He says that he can appreciate, but he doesn’t know how to do what the PR VP you quoted said could be done. [UPS: Why We Ban Silencer Shipments, Generally].

The rep said he’d kick it up the chain of command. Yesterday, I get an email from him. I am cutting and pasting so as to not lose any nuance:

Dear Jeff,

Notwithstanding UPS’s published policy (see, I wanted to let you know that UPS will continue to accept your shipments containing firearm silencers or mufflers, on the condition that your company assume full responsibility for ensuring that such shipments comply with all applicable laws (which we know you have already been doing). 

We are preparing a simple agreement to document this exception to UPS policy, which we will send in the near future. In the meantime, please respond to this email at your earliest convenience to confirm that your company agrees to comply with all legal restrictions applicable to these packages, including that you will not tender firearm silencers or mufflers for delivery to states where these shipments are prohibited.   

We apologize for any inconvenience that the confusion over silencer/muffler shipments may have caused. We greatly value your business and our relationship with you.

The net is this: keep on doing what you have always done. We’ll get you a document to give you an official okey dokey to do what I just told you to do.

I’m debating on whether or not to push for the same “exemption” to their policy on machine guns. After all, I can and do ship them in full compliance with the law and if they grant an exception for one type of firearm. Why not another…? [image courtesy]

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  1. Okay so while not wholly related to the topic this is relevant to suppressors.

    To you NFA guys out there:
    Upon legal age I wish to purchase a suppressor out of Texas (going there for school). However, I am still a California resident. Due to my state’s lack of understanding with regards to the constitution we aren’t allowed to have them. Am I able to purchase a suppressor in tx while still a California resident?

    • You’re MOVING states, and you’ll be living there for half a decade or more. Change your damn drivers license, and breathe the freedom. I don’t understand why college students resist this so much.

      • Not exactly resisting, I just don’t know what I want to do yet. I plan on attending med school after undergrad and I have no idea where I’ll end up. That’s the only reason I hesitate with changing residency. Not resisting, just not wholly sure of the future.

        Eta: misread your comment about changing drivers license. Possibly working on that.

        • Resistance is Futile. . . you will miss the ocean, and your family, the rest. . .Meh. Someday you will go back and liberate them all, and they will erect a statue of you, and tell stories of honor, courage, and fortitude.

        • Be aware, when you get a TX DL, you’re required to surrender your old DL to the TDPS. Not a huge deal if you’re moving here for good, but a pain in the butt if you plan on returning. Also, I believe you’re required to get a TXDL if you’re going to reside in TX long term, which definitely applies to med school.

          And, quite frankly, if you’re going into medicine, there’s tons of work for doctors in TX. The tort reforms that limited malpractice suits have attracted a lot of doctors/hospitals to relocate here.

        • Do it anyway, man. It’s really not that hard.

          You won’t want to go back (except to visit) after experiencing life outside the PRC anyway.

      • The first thing I did when I had enough time in FL to be a permanent resident (last year of college) was exchange my NJ DL for an FL one. Since I knew I wouldn’t be going back.

    • Not RF or a lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt:
      My understanding leads me to believe that you would be able to legally obtain an NFA item most easily with an NFA trust, and store said items in Texas (or some other NFA friendly locale) when you return to California. If you have a trustworthy friend or relatives here in Free America, you can name them as trustees, which will allow them to legally retain possession of the NFA items when you’re in CA. Or you can sell them before you return.

    • I think your best bet would be to go online to The Silencer Shop in Austin. They can do a gun trust for you but you should probably just wait until you get here. The wait times for ATF approval are greatly reduced now.

    • My suggestion is to go as far as getting a Texas drivers license and calling yourself a Texan. That will free you from all of CAs stupid rules around firearms like the handgun roster and suppressors and SBRs. Know however that you’ll never be able to bring a suppressor, SBR, or magazine over 10 rounds back to CA.

      A plus is there is always a healthy market for used off roster guns in CA if you end up back here in the future. Also by the time you are ready to go back to med school you can change your residency back to California if that is somehow beneficial to school.

    • What, if any, are the advantages of staying a CA resident?

      When I left after high school, it was always advantageous to be a resident of the state I ended up in. When I went back for military service I made damn sure I did as little as I could to associate myself with CA.

      I do miss the scenery and my family/friends, but I’m not going to settle there again unless there’s a lot of “change”

      • I realize I cannot own/possess NFA items in the prk, but I just wasn’t sure about the ability to purchase outside of the communist cesspool I call home. Thanks to all who replied, I appreciate the insight.

        • You won’t be able to get the silencer transferred to you in Texas without proof of Texas residency. Even with a trust and approved Form 4, you still have to fill out a 4473 to get it off the FFLs books and you can’t do that with a California driver license in Texas.

      • Louringe and Removed Californian, not true. I live in California and own several NFA items, AOWs. We can also legally own C&R SBS and SBRs. Yes, no fun suppressors, machine guns, modern SBRs and SBS but at least we can own something most people think is prohibited here. Get your trust set up and find an FFL07/SOT02 and buy away.

    • go to your DMV in Cali befor you leave and tell them you lost youe License, and pay for a duplicate. it should only cost a few dollars. then when you get to texas, get a texas one, and surender the duplicate. if you return to california, you will beable to get a new license without a prob. I did the same theing when I moved from louisana to washington, and then to mississippi..

    • For $130 SilencerCo provides the EasyTrust service to set up an NFA trust for you in the process of purchasing an Silencer from them.

      Obviously research this option before putting down the money. But it is an option to make it easier to buy & own a silencer.

  2. lol… good work. they know they will lose tons of business just because they are pissing off 1/3 of their shippers, by banning anything that is legal.

  3. Where do you ship the automatics? And, do you have a catalog. 🙂 You are a builder for these things? (LEO/MIL supplier only?)

  4. Though I’m sure you CAN ship a machinegun via UPS, I would not route anything irreplaceable through their service, because there’s a lot of sticky fingers between here and there.

  5. I have a suppressor arriving here tomorrow, shipped across the country via UPS Ground 😉

    …which is slightly odd, I suppose, as its last stop was in a sorting facility in IL and that’s one of the few states where they’re illegal. How does the law work in that case? UPS’ policy? It’s all a total CF.

    • They’re covered by common carrier laws. So they can transport through a restricted state, just not to one.
      Similarly, you could take your suppressor through Illinois or California under the protection of FOPA.

  6. I’m thinking, that UPS knows that any company selling suppressors, is selling them only to states and jurisdictions that allow them. If anyone understands the true nature of federal regulations, and regulators, it’s UPS. Is UPS trying to pretend that they don’t already know what kind of strict compliance requirements exist when companies are manufacturing and shipping NFA items? What if this UPS kerfuffle is a trial balloon? Just to see who, and how many people complain? I hope, for their sake, that the companies engaging in any interstate NFA commerce are raising a royal fuss with UPS. Simple complacency is often regarded as silent compliance.

    • Kinda surprised that FedEx hasn’t come out with their own “ban” on shipping suppressors.

  7. So a dealer can get an exception, what about the unlicensed owner who needs to ship it back to the mfr? Which is totally legal.

  8. I contacted UPS as soon as I read the story a week or so ago, and got an answer within, oh, I’d say about 60 minutes. They said there is no “ban” on shipping suppressors.

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