Are major shippers like FedEx and UPS tracking gun sales and giving that information to the Biden administration? That is what a group of attorneys general, including New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, wants to find out.
Formella signed off on two letters from Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R) to FedEx President and CEO Raj Subramaniam and UPS CEO Carol B. Tomé regarding new policies which allow the companies to track sales of firearms “with unprecedented specificity.”
Federal firearm license (FFL) holders across the country are reporting the two shipping companies now require them to create three separate shipping accounts: one for firearms, one for firearm parts, and one for all other firearm-related products, the attorneys general wrote. “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.
“In addition to creating three distinct shipping groups, FedEx now apparently demands that gun store owners retain documents about what specific items those shipments contain and make that information available to FedEx upon request. These demands, in tandem, allow FedEx to create a database of American gun purchasers and determine exactly what items they purchased,” the AGs said.
The letters were signed by 18 Republican attorneys general, who asked the nation’s two largest shippers if their new policies were coordinated between the two companies. The AGs also want to know if the companies plan to gather and share data from these FFL holders with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) or any other federal agency.
Gov. Chris Sununu told NHJournal he supports Fomella’s actions.
“The federal government is once again trying to find a loophole to track who owns firearms and effectively create a national gun registry,” Sununu said. “That effort is unconstitutional and another example of big government overstepping their boundaries and peering into the lives of everyday Americans.”
While some describe Sununu as a moderate because of his pro-choice stance on abortion and willingness to criticize former President Donald Trump, the GOP governor is a solid Second Amendment supporter. In his first year in office, he signed the state’s “constitutional carry” legislation into law.
The attorneys general also have the support of the National Rifle Association. “We share their concerns regarding the data collection provided for in UPS’s and FedEx’s new firearm policies, and we support their effort to ensure that the privacy of firearm owners is not compromised in violation of federal law,” the NRA’s Amy Hunter told New Hampshire Journal.
This is not the only fight gun-rights supporters are waging in the Granite State.
In September, local Second Amendment attorney Sean List sent FedEx a cease-and-desist letter warning the company that its new policy violates Granite State law. Specifically, it is illegal in New Hampshire for any individual to scan and retain personal information from a driver’s license without authorization from the state Department of Public Safety.
“When FedEx makes delivery of firearms, delivery drivers have instructed FFLs that, pursuant to a new company policy, the recipient of any firearm package must produce a driver’s license to be scanned by the driver using a handheld electronic device. Such a practice is in direct violation of N.H. RSA 263:12(X). See also N.H. RSA 260:14, et al. Therefore, FedEx must cease and desist the practice immediately,” List wrote. [emphasis in original]
“I have already confirmed with the Deputy Director of the New Hampshire Department of Safety that no record exists indicating that FedEx received appropriate government permission to scan or make electronic copies of driver’s licenses.”
Second Amendment advocates have grown increasingly concerned about private-sector efforts to undermine gun owners and their rights. Anti-gun activists have urged banks to refuse to do business with gun manufacturers or retailers. On Wall Street, supporters of the so-called “ESG” investing movement (“Environmental, Social, and Governance”) have pressured large investment funds to keep firearms companies out of their portfolios.
As a result, said Cam Edwards of the Second Amendment news site Bearing Arms, it is important that companies like FedEx and UPS face scrutiny when their actions could endanger fundamental rights.
“It’s incredibly concerning to think that private companies may be helping to establish a database of gun owners and allowing the ATF and DOJ to do an end-run around the federal law expressly prohibiting any sort of gun registration lists,” Edwards said.
The attorneys’ general letter also references reports the new policy includes a “gag clause.”
“Specifically, your company allegedly instructs gun store owners that the agreement is ‘confidential and shall be held in strict confidence by both parties and may not be disclosed unless required by law,’” the AGs claim.
It all adds up, List says, to a private-sector attack on personal freedom.
“It appears that FedEx and UPS have fallen in line with the anti-gun lobby’s efforts to pursue gun control by suffocating the firearms industry. In an Orwellian twist, the new policies posture toward the creation of an illegal de facto gun registry. I commend Attorney General Formella for joining in the inquiry sent to these carriers.
“The letter bluntly asks questions that Americans are entitled to receive answers to, ‘Why are you doing this? Who put you up to this? Was Biden’s DOJ or ATF involved?’”