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Senators demand gun shipment stats from trucking, rail companies following shootings

Carriers’ lax security could be contributing to gun violence epidemic, Democratic lawmakers say

Lawmakers say carriers must protect against stolen guns. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Five Democratic U.S. senators have asked 22 trucking and logistics companies and the country’s six Class 1 railroads to divulge firearms shipment data out of concern that security loopholes are contributing to rising gun violence.

In a letter sent on Thursday to the freight and parcel carriers — including J.B. Hunt, U.S. Xpress, Landstar System and UPS — the lawmakers, led by Ed Markey, D-Mass., said that gun sales and shipments have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic as a result of exemptions provided to firearm manufacturers and dealers, also known as Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs).

“Over the past two years, gun sales have skyrocketed, in part because the Trump administration declared that FFLs were essential businesses and therefore exempt from many pandemic restrictions,” the Senators wrote.

“This decision allowed dealers to sell more guns than ever before. To meet this demand, firearm manufacturers and dealers shipped guns across state lines in huge numbers, providing new opportunities for criminals to exploit the weak regulation and lax security measures in the shipment process.

“For these reasons, we are concerned that [carriers] are not taking the necessary steps to protect firearm shipments and do their part in addressing the gun violence crisis facing this country.”

The senators point out that just days after two deadly mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Laguna Woods, California, new federal data released this week shows gun production tripled in the U.S. since 2000.

They also cited a recent Los Angeles Times report that found criminal gangs had sold guns that were traced back to a stolen shipment of 36 handguns, and a shipment of 46 shotguns was linked to a theft at a Southern California railyard.

“Although government statistics on stolen firearms are incomplete, these stories suggest that firearm shipments are a particularly weak link in a secure firearm supply chain,” they asserted.

Markey, along with Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., want the carriers to provide information on the following issues by June 9:

  • An explanation of each company’s policies and procedures regarding the transport and delivery of packages containing firearms.
  • The number of packages containing firearms each company transported between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Any additional security measures each company takes when transporting packages containing firearms to ensure safe delivery to the intended recipients.
  • The type of records each company maintains about lost or stolen shipments and packages containing firearms.

The letter was sent to the following companies:

Trucking and logistics

  • Crete Carrier
  • Daseke
  • J.B. Hunt
  • Knight-Swift Transportation
  • Prime
  • Schneider National
  • Southeastern Freight Lines
  • TFI International
  • U.S. Xpress
  • FedEx
  • XPO Logistics
  • ABF Freight System
  • Yellow Corp.
  • Estes Express Lines
  • Saia
  • R+L Carriers
  • Old Dominion
  • UPS
  • Werner Enterprises
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • CRST International
  • Landstar System


  • BNSF
  • Canadian National
  • Canadian Pacific
  • CSX
  • Union Pacific
  • Norfolk Southern

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.