Gifts in the Mail: What is Legal and Illegal? – FindLaw


The person packs the return box to send to the company

Thanks to the pandemic, you may be changing holiday gift-giving plans.

Your family gathering may be smaller than usual, but you still want to gift gifts to family members and friends who will not be there. So you understand that you’ll need to mail or get gifts for delivery.

If you are smart, you have also planned to do it ASAP. The United States Postal Service And private delivery companies like Fedex They say they expect standard package size this holiday season and are urging people to act fast.

But in a hurry, it might be wise to consider whether the things you intend to ship are actually legal. Obviously, shipping most of the items we give as a gift is legal – clothes, toys, books, etc. However, there are some goods that are less clear legal and may be subject to restrictions.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

Alcohol, tobacco and firearms

Take liquor, for example. It might be a tradition to always give your Uncle Charlie a bottle of his old sweetie Saubons for Christmas, but don’t think you can just fill and send a well-lined bottle of his choice. The Postal Service will not charge alcohol – period. FedEx and UPS will ship alcoholic beverages, but only from licensed distributors or manufacturers.

Liquor shipping is subject to state lines A maze of state and local laws, Which also comes into play when you think of mailing booze. It’s much easier to ship alcoholic beverages within the state, so if Uncle Charlie is in another state, your best option is to order Old Sawbones online from a liquor store near it and have them or a service like Drizly deliver them.

Firearms are tied in Many ways. If there is a gun you envision as the perfect gift for your cousin Clive, it might not be as simple as just putting it in the mail. According to th Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and ExplosivesIn general, the sender and receiver of the firearm must be licensed for federal firearms, so you must arrange delivery through them. ATF makes an exception for long rifles (shotguns and rifles). If you are not licensed, you can send a long gun (without a payload of course) to someone else in your state or to a licensee in another state. The ATF also says pistols cannot be put in the mail. It has to be transported by general carrier.

Thinking of sending a fancy French cigarette case for the unrepentant smoker in the family? forget that. Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are prohibited goods and can only be mailed to in limited circumstances. On the other hand, cigars are not tied. Go conclude.

Living creatures

Want to send a cute bunny to Aunt Eleanor for Christmas? Don’t even think about it. The Postal Service or any commercial delivery service will not deal with pets or any warm-blooded mammals except in limited circumstances.

But if you want to send fish, amphibians, reptiles or even bees, You are lucky.

Of course, there are restrictions in place, so let’s take a look at a couple of them.

For example, if you wanted to mail a small creature in cold blood, you could do so. They should not, however, require any food, water, or care during transport or create “unpleasant odors”.

Or suppose you want to give nature-loving Grandpa Chuck the gift of a bee. Both the Postal Service and UPS allow ground shipping for bees, according to their packaging requirements and pre-eminent disclosure of contents, but if air transportation is required, the Postal Service says it can be a honey queen with up to eight honey bees accompanying. We don’t know why, but it definitely betrays a royal influence.

Or maybe you wouldn’t enjoy anything more than sending a snake (not poisonous of course) to the delight of your beloved weird niece, Elvira. If so, beware: it’s tough. Neither the Postal Service nor UPS would touch snakes of any kind. FedEx is the only carrier that will transport the snakes, but it requires a “live reptile certification” that can only be obtained after completing a series of tests. But be encouraged! There are third-party snake shipping companies like This Those who have already passed the FedEx test and will be happy to quote you.

And finally, a few more things

  • Fragrance is another post-sensitive commodity. There are two types of fragrances – alcohol-based and oil-based – and the Postal Service will not ship alcohol-based fragrances internationally or mail them domestically using air transport. Within the United States, the Postal Service will ship any type via road transport. UPS and FedEx consider fragrances to be “dangerous goods” and will ship them under contract or special measures.
  • The United States Postal Service is the only company to ship cremated remains, but you must follow their strict rules. You should use USPS ‘Priority Mail Express and Burnt residue kit To ensure safe packaging.
  • It is legal for individuals to send medicines or medicines in the mail. Medicines are strictly regulated and controlled substances; Prescription drugs can only be sent by mail through distributors registered with the DEA. Meanwhile, mail senders and shippers alike should know the contents of the package and treat them accordingly.
  • Although hemp has become legal in many states, it is still against the law to mail it – even within a country where it is legal. why? Because pot is still illegal at the federal level and the Postal Service is a federal entity. Private carriers won’t haul fate either.

If you are not sure about the legality of shipping the gift you are considering, it might be a good idea to check the rules established by the postal service and private carriers:

Happy Dedication!

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