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632 Firearms

The requirements and prohibitions that apply to the mailing of firearms in domestic mail, as stated in Chapter 4, also apply to international mail subject to any restrictions in the Individual Country Listings in the IMM.

  1. Nonautomatic and semiautomatic rifles, carbines, revolvers, and pistols (regardless of caliber), except those of .50 caliber or less manufactured before 1898.
  2. Shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long.
  3. All machine guns, submachine guns, machine pistols, and fully automatic rifles.

To obtain an export license, mailers should contact the following federal agency:

    U.s department of state
    pm/dtc ste 1200 sa-1
    2401 e st nw
    WASHINGTON DC 20037–2915

    Telephone: 202–663–2980

In addition, see IMM 540 for U.S. Department of State licensing requirements applicable to the international mailing of arms or implements of war, component parts, and related technical data.

632.1 Export to APOs/FPOs/DPOs

Export of firearms to certain specified overseas military or diplomatic Post Offices (APOs/ FPOs/DPOs) is prohibited. To determine if the mailing of firearms to a specific APO, FPO, or DPO is prohibited, refer to the table titled “Overseas Military/Diplomatic Mail,” which is published periodically in the Postal Bulletin. Footnote F of this table lists the restrictions for mailing firearms. If the destination military or diplomatic Post Office permits the shipment of firearms (meaning no Footnote F restriction is assigned to the specific APO, FPO, or DPO ZIP Code), the mailer must present an export license obtained from the regional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) office.

632.2 Import

Under the following conditions, members of the armed forces may mail rifles or shotguns without an import permit:

  1. Incident to a permanent change of duty or release from active duty, any member of the armed forces who has been stationed on active duty outside the United States for the preceding 60 days may, without an import permit, present up to three rifles or shotguns that are mailable to the appropriate armed forces transportation officer to be forwarded to the member’s residence as unaccompanied baggage officially shipped through the mail. Firearms imported in this manner must be intended for the member’s personal use.
  2. Any member of the armed forces who wishes to import more than three mailable firearms must prepare ATF Form 6, Application and Permit for Importation of Firearms, Ammunition, and Implements of War, and must comply with the Defense Transportation Regulation 4500.9-r and other appropriate military directives.
  3. The three-firearm limitation does not apply to mailable firearms for which the member of the armed forces has proof of prior ownership in the United States. A member may personally mail these other firearms back into the United States, or to any of its possessions, if the member can establish to the satisfaction of the U.S. Customs Service that he or she previously took the firearms out of the United States or any of its possessions.
  4. Any member of the armed forces importing firearms under a, b, or c of this section must prepare ATF Form 6A, Release and Receipt of Imported Firearms, Ammunition, and Implements of War, under
    27 CFR 178.114(b). In addition, the member’s authorized agent must furnish this form and associated certification to the customs officer releasing the firearms.