Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen claims shipping companies UPS and FedEx are helping the Biden administration skirt laws that prohibit the federal government from creating a national gun owner registry, according to a letter sent to the companies Tuesday.
The letter, obtained by The Washington Free Beacon, claims 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."
Signed by Knudsen and 17 other state attorneys general, the letter says the new guidelines force licensed firearm dealers to provide detailed information about their customers who are receiving purchases through the mail. While the letter does not have undeniable proof the companies are feeding information to federal agencies, it references conversations between state officials and firearm dealers who claim they were forced to comply with such regulations.
State officials are requesting UPS and FedEx provide them with information about any recent regulation changes that might give "federal agencies a workaround to normal warrant requirements."
Knudsen said sources who spoke with his office indicated the Biden administration's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) "told [the companies] they have to do this."
"This, to me, looks like another back alley attempt to get around specific legislation and laws so ATF can say, 'We're not keeping track; it's these companies keeping track,'" Knudsen said. "We see this over and over again from this administration: When they can't pass legislation, they turn around to their buddies in private business and try to get their agenda done that way."
The attorneys general allege UPS and FedEx require federal licensed firearm dealers "to create three separate shipping accounts: one for firearms, one for firearm parts, and one for all other firearm-related products. Under this three-tier system, gun sellers cannot mix and match shipments, which reveals to your company whether they are shipping a gun, gun part, or a gun-related item."
Sellers are also reportedly required to keep paperwork on the specific items they shipped and to provide that information to the shipping company when requested.
According to the letter, both UPS and FedEx have agreed to comply with information requests from law enforcement and other government agencies, even if those requests are "inconsistent with applicable laws, rules, and regulations."
A FedEx spokeswoman told the Free Beacon the company implemented a "firearms shipping compliance program" in September 2021 that requires that licensed firearms dealers send packages containing firearms from a specifically designated account and only to those with a federal firearm license.
The state officials are asking UPS and FedEx to provide them with internal communications and documents about the alleged regulation changes within 30 days.
Knudsen said it "sure looks and smells to me like they're trying to get around the Fourth Amendment," which prohibits unlawful searches and seizures.
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