Five U.S. Democratic senators have called on 22 trucking and logistics companies and the country’s six Class 1 railroads to release data on gun shipments, fearing security flaws could contribute to the rise armed violence.
In a letter sent Thursday to freight and package carriers — including JB Hunt, US Xpress, Landstar System and UPS — lawmakers, led by Ed Markey, D-Mass., said the sales and shipments of weapons to have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic following exemptions granted to manufacturers and dealers of firearms, also known as Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL).
“Over the past two years, gun sales have skyrocketed, in part because the Trump administration has declared FFLs to be essential businesses and therefore exempt from many pandemic restrictions,” they wrote. .
“This decision has allowed dealers to sell more guns than ever before. To meet this demand, gun manufacturers and dealers have been shipping firearms across state lines in large numbers, providing new opportunities for criminals to exploit weak regulations and lax security measures in the shipping process.
“For these reasons, we are concerned that [carriers] failing to take the necessary steps to protect gun shipments and doing their part to resolve 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, Calif., new federal data released this week shows gun production has tripled in the United States since 2000.
They also cited a recent report from the Los Angeles Times which found that criminal gangs had sold firearms that traced back to a stolen shipment of 36 handguns, and a shipment of 46 shotguns was linked to a theft in a Southern California rail yard.
“While government statistics on stolen firearms are incomplete, these stories suggest that firearms shipments are a particularly weak link in a secure firearms supply chain,” they asserted.
Markey, as well as Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, DN.J., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., want carriers to provide information on the following issues by June 9:
- An explanation of each company’s policies and procedures regarding the transportation and delivery of packages containing firearms.
- The number of packages containing firearms that each company transported between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2021.
- Any additional security measures taken by each company when transporting packages containing firearms to ensure safe delivery to intended recipients.
- The type of records each company keeps on lost or stolen shipments and packages containing firearms.
The letter was sent to the following companies:
Trucking and Logistics
- Crete Carrier
- J.B. Hunt
- Knight-Swift Transportation
- Schneider National
- Southeast Freight Lines
- TFI International
- United States Xpress
- XPO logistics
- ABF freight system
- Yellow Corp.
- Estes Express Lines
- R+L carriers
- Old Dominion
- Werner Enterprises
- US Postal Service
- CRST International
- Landstar system
- Canadian National
- Canadian Pacific
- Union Pacific
- South Norfolk
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FREIGHTWAVES’ Top 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes FedEx (#1), UPS (#2), Knight-Swift Transportation (#3), JB Hunt (#4), Yellow Corp. (#5), Landstar System (#6), Schneider (#7), XPO Logistics (#8), Werner Enterprises (#10) and Estes Express Lines (#12).