United Parcel Service Inc. has told the gun industry that it will no longer allow ground deliveries of handguns, a move the Atlanta-based company said is intended to help keep guns from getting into the wrong hands.
UPS will only provide Next Day Air delivery of handguns, a decision area gun dealers said leaves them scrambling to find other ways to get handguns to market and is certain to raise the cost of shipments throughout the industry.
The policy shift poses another hefty financial burden for the gun industry, which already faces mounting lawsuits by municipal governments and individuals over the cost of gun violence.
Many in the gun industry were skeptical of UPS' motives, with some suggesting the move was political and others wondering whether the world's largest package delivery company is just looking for a way to make more money.
UPS said the decision was made to protect the company and help reduce crime.
"This issue is really about making sure that we do everything we can to protect the public," said UPS spokesman Tad Segal.
UPS said it has had problems in the past with some of its ground package handlers stealing parcels containing handguns. But Mr. Segal would not say how large the problem was.
Gun industry representatives said the policy change, which takes effect on Monday, is certain to raise the cost of handguns since UPS handles more than 75 percent of the gun-delivery business.
Currently, most companies take delivery of handguns through UPS' ground service, which can take up to five days. In that time, Mr. Segal said, a parcel of guns can be handled by several UPS employees, increasing the risk of theft.
UPS' next-air service, gets packages to their intended location much faster and with fewer people involved. But overnight shipments can cost up to $25 more per gun, according to industry estimates.
UPS will continue to accept ground shipments of long guns, shotguns and rifles, which are harder to conceal.
Some in the industry question UPS' motives for making the change, and area gun dealers said they will have to pass the increased cost on to customers. …