By Lee Williams
Five Democratic Senators recently sent ominous letters to United Parcel Service and 27 other carriers, blaming them for escalating violent crime rates.
“We are concerned that lax shipping security measures are contributing to the epidemic of gun violence in this country by allowing criminals to use stolen firearms to commit crimes,” the letters each state.
They were signed by Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
In their letters, the Senators peppered the shippers with 20 questions and document requests, including:
- The number of firearms the carriers have shipped during the last five years.
- Policies the carriers have in place to secure firearm shipments and prevent loss and theft.
- How the carriers define firearms.
- Whether imitation firearms, frames, receivers, ammunition, and silencers are included in this definition.
- Records the firms keep and maintain about lost or stolen shipments.
- Records the firms keep and maintain regarding packages containing firearms.
The letters were sent May 19 to UPS, FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service and trucking and rail carriers located in the United States and Canada.
UPS targeting parts for homemade guns
In a story published last week, we revealed UPS is terminating the accounts of some dealers, and that packages currently in the UPS system may be “seized and destroyed.”
In a letter sent to one Florida gun dealer, Ghost Firearms, UPS said they were terminating the account because they “may be violating” laws concerning homemade firearm parts.
“We write to inform you that UPS has learned that your company may be violating applicable laws concerning the shipment of “ghost guns” to unauthorized locations,” the letter states. “In light of our concern, UPS has determined that it will cancel your account, effective immediately.
In the letter, UPS told Ghost’s owner Joe Zatar that all scheduled pickups will be cancelled, and that he cannot reopen another UPS account or ship anything from a UPS store or website.
Zatar is most concerned about $30,000 worth of packages already in the UPS system, which he may have already lost.
“Please note that any package found in the UPS system determined to have been tendered by GHOST FIREARMS may be seized and destroyed,” the letter states.
After the story was published, one national retailer who declined to comment publicly for this story, removed UPS as a shipping option from their website.
Other dealers specializing in 80% receivers and other homemade firearm parts also declined to comment.
Multiple gun dealers cancelled
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association of the firearm industry.
Asked which dealers were being cancelled, NSSF spokesman Mark Oliva said Wednesday, “I think it’s everybody – any dealer specializing in parts.”
The NSSF is currently trying to determine the scope of the mass cancellations.
“It’s a blanket ban,” he said. “We’re still looking into it.”
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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.