CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — Reports of new UPS and FedEx policies surrounding the purchase of firearm products and parts in addition to the firearms themselves have a group of attorneys general worried.

According to a press release from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office, the Montana Attorney General has received several reports from citizens that the companies are requiring Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders to ship separately and track firearms, firearms parts and firearm products so that gun purchases can be tracked, as well as retain documents about what items specifically are included in shipments.

The attorneys general are concerned about the privacy implications of the policy, specifically that if documents of these purchases are retained, it could allow federal agencies to obtain the information from those companies, bypassing warrant requirements which are normally protected by the Fourth Amendment.

Those citizen reports allege that the companies are requiring FFL holders to create three separate shipping accounts: one for firearms, one for firearm parts, and one for all other
firearm-related products, making it so that they can’t mix and match shipments, revealing whether they are shipping a gun, gun part or a gun-related item.

Gun store owners have also been told they must retain documents about what specific items those shipments contain and make that information available to FedEx and/or UPS upon request, according to the attorneys general.

This comes amid concerns about government entities using Twitter for “censorship by surrogate” to circumvent the First Amendment following the release of “The Twitter Files”, as reported in Nexstar’s national affiliate The Hill.

A group of 18 state attorneys general sent a letter to the companies asking the following questions:

  • Did UPS/FedEx enact these policies with the goal of information sharing with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) or any other federal agency?
  • Did UPS/FedEx enact these policies at the request of officials in ATF, a different federal agency, or on its own initiative?
  • If UPS/FedEx implemented these policies at the request of a federal agency, please identify that agency, the officials who made that request, the nature of that communication, and any legal authorization cited by those officials.
  • If UPS/FedEx changed its policies on its own initiative, please explain why it made those changes.
  • Did UPS/FedEx communicate or coordinate with each other in making these changes?
  • Did ATF or other federal agency employees help draft the updated shipping agreements?

This also follows concerns after credit card companies, including Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and American Express Inc. announced they intended to create a separate merchant category code for gun shops in order to flag “suspicious activity.”

The attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, in addition to West Virginia, signed the letter.

Click here to read the letters.