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CITE

    18 USC Sec. 1716                                            01/05/2009

EXPCITE

    TITLE 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
    PART I - CRIMES
    CHAPTER 83 - POSTAL SERVICE

HEAD

    Sec. 1716. Injurious articles as nonmailable

STATUTE

      (a) All kinds of poison, and all articles and compositions
    containing poison, and all poisonous animals, insects, reptiles,
    and all explosives, hazardous materials, inflammable materials,
    infernal machines, and mechanical, chemical, or other devices or
    compositions which may ignite or explode, and all disease germs or
    scabs, and all other natural or artificial articles, compositions,
    or material which may kill or injure another, or injure the mails
    or other property, whether or not sealed as first-class matter, are
    nonmailable matter and shall not be conveyed in the mails or
    delivered from any post office or station thereof, nor by any
    officer or employee of the Postal Service.
      (b) The Postal Service may permit the transmission in the mails,
    under such rules and regulations as it shall prescribe as to
    preparation and packing, of any such articles which are not
    outwardly or of their own force dangerous or injurious to life,
    health, or property.
      (c) The Postal Service is authorized and directed to permit the
    transmission in the mails, under regulations to be prescribed by
    it, of live scorpions which are to be used for purposes of medical
    research or for the manufacture of antivenom. Such regulations
    shall include such provisions with respect to the packaging of such
    live scorpions for transmission in the mails as the Postal Service
    deems necessary or desirable for the protection of Postal Service
    personnel and of the public generally and for ease of handling by
    such personnel and by any individual connected with such research
    or manufacture. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall be
    construed to authorize the transmission in the mails of live
    scorpions by means of aircraft engaged in the carriage of
    passengers for compensation or hire.
      (d) The transmission in the mails of poisonous drugs and
    medicines may be limited by the Postal Service to shipments of such
    articles from the manufacturer thereof or dealer therein to
    licensed physicians, surgeons, dentists, pharmacists, druggists,
    cosmetologists, barbers, and veterinarians under such rules and
    regulations as it shall prescribe.
      (e) The transmission in the mails of poisons for scientific use,
    and which are not outwardly dangerous or of their own force
    dangerous or injurious to life, health, or property, may be limited
    by the Postal Service to shipments of such articles between the
    manufacturers thereof, dealers therein, bona fide research or
    experimental scientific laboratories, and such other persons who
    are employees of the Federal, a State, or local government, whose
    official duties are comprised, in whole or in part, of the use of
    such poisons, and who are designated by the head of the agency in
    which they are employed to receive or send such articles, under
    such rules and regulations as the Postal Service shall prescribe.
      (f) All spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented, or other
    intoxicating liquors of any kind are nonmailable and shall not be
    deposited in or carried through the mails.
      (g) All knives having a blade which opens automatically (1) by
    hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle of
    the knife, or (2) by operation of inertia, gravity, or both, are
    nonmailable and shall not be deposited in or carried by the mails
    or delivered by any officer or employee of the Postal Service. Such
    knives may be conveyed in the mails, under such regulations as the
    Postal Service shall prescribe -
        (1) to civilian or Armed Forces supply or procurement officers
      and employees of the Federal Government ordering, procuring, or
      purchasing such knives in connection with the activities of the
      Federal Government;
        (2) to supply or procurement officers of the National Guard,
      the Air National Guard, or militia of a State ordering,
      procuring, or purchasing such knives in connection with the
      activities of such organizations;
        (3) to supply or procurement officers or employees of any
      State, or any political subdivision of a State or Territory,
      ordering, procuring, or purchasing such knives in connection with
      the activities of such government; and
        (4) to manufacturers of such knives or bona fide dealers
      therein in connection with any shipment made pursuant to an order
      from any person designated in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3).
    The Postal Service may require, as a condition of conveying any
    such knife in the mails, that any person proposing to mail such
    knife explain in writing to the satisfaction of the Postal Service
    that the mailing of such knife will not be in violation of this
    section.
      (h) Any advertising, promotional, or sales matter which solicits
    or induces the mailing of anything declared nonmailable by this
    section is likewise nonmailable unless such matter contains
    wrapping or packaging instructions which are in accord with
    regulations promulgated by the Postal Service.
      (i)(1) Any ballistic knife shall be subject to the same
    restrictions and penalties provided under subsection (g) for knives
    described in the first sentence of that subsection.
      (2) As used in this subsection, the term "ballistic knife" means
    a knife with a detachable blade that is propelled by a spring-
    operated mechanism.
      (j)(1) Whoever knowingly deposits for mailing or delivery, or
    knowingly causes to be delivered by mail, according to the
    direction thereon, or at any place at which it is directed to be
    delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, anything declared
    nonmailable by this section, unless in accordance with the rules
    and regulations authorized to be prescribed by the Postal Service,
    shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one
    year, or both.
      (2) Whoever knowingly deposits for mailing or delivery, or
    knowingly causes to be delivered by mail, according to the
    direction thereon or at any place to which it is directed to be
    delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, anything declared
    nonmailable by this section, whether or not transmitted in
    accordance with the rules and regulations authorized to be
    prescribed by the Postal Service, with intent to kill or injure
    another, or injure the mails or other property, shall be fined
    under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
      (3) Whoever is convicted of any crime prohibited by this section,
    which has resulted in the death of any person, shall be subject
    also to the death penalty or to imprisonment for life.
      (k) For purposes of this section, the term "State" includes a
    State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any
    commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

SOURCE

    (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 781; May 8, 1952, ch. 246, 66
    Stat. 67; June 29, 1955, ch. 224, 69 Stat. 191; Pub. L. 85-268,
    Sept. 2, 1957, 71 Stat. 594; Pub. L. 85-623, Sec. 5, Aug. 12, 1958,
    72 Stat. 562; Pub. L. 91-375, Sec. 6(j)(25), Aug. 12, 1970, 84
    Stat. 779; Pub. L. 92-191, Sec. 1, Dec. 15, 1971, 85 Stat. 647;
    Pub. L. 99-570, title X, Sec. 10003, Oct. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 3207-
    167; Pub. L. 103-322, title VI, Sec. 60003(a)(7), title XXXIII,
    Sec. 330016(1)(H), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1969, 2147; Pub. L.
    104-294, title VI, Sec. 607(g), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3511; Pub.
    L. 107-273, div. B, title IV, Sec. 4002(b)(2), (6), Nov. 2, 2002,
    116 Stat. 1807; Pub. L. 109-435, title X, Sec. 1008(d), Dec. 20,
    2006, 120 Stat. 3261.)

HISTORICAL AND REVISION NOTES

      Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Sec. 340 (Mar. 4, 1909. ch.
    321, Sec. 217, 35 Stat. 1131; May 25, 1920, ch. 196, 41 Stat. 620;
    Jan. 11, 1929, ch. 53, 45 Stat. 1072; June 19, 1934, ch. 650, 48
    Stat. 1063).
      Reference to persons causing or procuring was omitted as
    unnecessary in view of definition of "principal" in section 2 of
    this title.
      The maximum of "twenty years" was reduced to "ten years" as more
    consistent with such comparable sections as sections 111 and 1113
    of this title.
      Minor changes were made in phraseology.
                                AMENDMENTS
      2006 - Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 109-435 inserted "hazardous
    materials," after "explosives,".
      2002 - Subsec. (g)(3). Pub. L. 107-273, Sec. 4002(b)(2), made
    technical correction to directory language of Pub. L. 104-294, Sec.
    607(g)(2). See 1996 Amendment note below.
      Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 107-273, Sec. 4002(b)(6), designated first,
    second, and third undesignated pars. after subsec. (i) as pars. (1)
    to (3), respectively, of subsec. (j) and, in par. (2), substituted
    "under this title" for "not more than $10,000". Former subsec. (j)
    redesignated (k).
      Subsec. (k). Pub. L. 107-273, Sec. 4002(b)(6)(D), redesignated
    subsec. (j) as (k).
      1996 - Subsec. (g)(2). Pub. L. 104-294, Sec. 607(g)(1),
    substituted "State" for "State, Territory, or the District of
    Columbia".
      Subsec. (g)(3). Pub. L. 104-294, Sec. 607(g)(2), as amended by
    Pub. L. 107-273, Sec. 4002(b)(2), substituted "any State, or any
    political subdivision of a State" for "the municipal government of
    the District of Columbia or of the government of any State or
    Territory, or any county, city, or other political subdivision of a
    State".
      Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 104-294, Sec. 607(g)(3), added subsec. (j)
    at end.
      1994 - Pub. L. 103-322, Sec. 330016(1)(H), substituted "fined
    under this title" for "fined not more than $1,000" in first
    undesignated par. after subsec. (i).
      Pub. L. 103-322, Sec. 60003(a)(7), in last par., struck out
    before period at end ", if the jury shall in its discretion so
    direct, or, in the case of a plea of guilty, or a plea of not
    guilty where the defendant has waived a trial by jury, if the court
    in its discretion, shall so order".
      1986 - Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 99-570 added subsec. (i).
      1971 - Subsecs. (a) to (g). Pub. L. 92-191 designated existing
    seven paragraphs preceding the penal provisions as subsecs. (a) to
    (g), respectively.
      Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 92-191 added subsec. (h).
      1970 - First par. Pub. L. 91-375, Sec. 6(j)(25)(B)(ii),
    substituted "officer or employee of the Postal Service" for "letter
    carrier".
      Second par. Pub. L. 91-375, Sec. 6(j)(25)(A), substituted "Postal
    Service" and "it shall prescribe" for "Postmaster General" and "he
    shall prescribe".
      Third par. Pub. L. 91-375, Sec. 6(j)(25)(A), substituted "Postal
    Service" for "Postmaster General" in two places, "prescribed by it"
    for "prescribed by him", "antivenom" for "antivenin", "necessary or
    desirable" for "necessary or advisable", and "Postal Service
    personnel" for "Post Office Department personnel".
      Fourth par. Pub. L. 91-375, Sec. 6(j)(25)(A), substituted "Postal
    Service" and "it shall prescribe" for "Postmaster General" and "he
    shall prescribe", respectively, and struck out the comma after
    "veterinarians".
      Fifth par. Pub. L. 91-375 Sec. 6(j)(25)(B)(i) substituted "Postal
    Service" for "Postmaster General" in two places.
      Seventh par. Pub. L. 91-375, Sec. 6(j)(25)(B)(i), (iii),
    substituted "Postal Service" for "Postmaster General" in three
    places, and "officer or employee of the Postal Service" for
    "postmaster, letter carrier, or other person in the postal
    service", respectively.
      Eighth to tenth pars. Pub. L. 91-375, Sec. 6(j)(25)(B)(i),
    substituted "Postal Service" for "Postmaster General".
      1958 - Pub. L. 85-623 inserted paragraph prohibiting mailing of
    switchblade knives except in connection with Armed Forces or other
    Government orders.
      1957 - Pub. L. 85-268 reduced penalty from two to one year for
    mailing nonmailable articles; increased penalty from ten to twenty
    years for mailing nonmailable matter with intent to kill or injure
    another or injure the mails or other property but where death does
    not result; and provided death penalty or life imprisonment for
    mailing nonmailable matter resulting in death.
      1955 - Act June 29, 1955, inserted paragraph to permit the
    transportation in the mails of live scorpions for certain purposes.
      1952 - Act May 8, 1952, inserted fourth paragraph to extend the
    Postmaster General's authority as it relates to the transmission of
    poisonous drugs through the mails for scientific purposes.
                     EFFECTIVE DATE OF 2002 AMENDMENT
      Pub. L. 107-273, div. B, title IV, Sec. 4002(b)(2), Nov. 2, 2002,
    116 Stat. 1807, provided that the amendment made by section
    4002(b)(2) is effective Oct. 11, 1996.
                     EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1986 AMENDMENT
      Amendment by Pub. L. 99-570 effective 30 days after Oct. 27,
    1986, see section 10004 of Pub. L. 99-570, set out as an Effective
    Date note under section 1245 of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.
                     EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1971 AMENDMENT
      Section 3 of Pub. L. 92-191 provided that: "The amendments made
    by this Act [amending this section and section 3001 of Title 39,
    Postal Service] shall become effective at the beginning of the
    third calendar month following the date of enactment of this Act
    [Dec. 15, 1971] or on the date section 3001 of title 39, United
    States Code, becomes effective [July 1, 1971] pursuant to section
    15(a) of Public Law 91-375 [set out as an Effective Date note
    preceding section 101 of title 39], whichever is the later."
                     EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1970 AMENDMENT
      Amendment by Pub. L. 91-375 effective within 1 year after Aug.
    12, 1970, on date established therefor by Board of Governors of
    United States Postal Service and published by it in Federal
    Register, see section 15(a) of Pub. L. 91-375, set out as an
    Effective Date note preceding section 101 of Title 39, Postal
    Service.
                     EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1958 AMENDMENT
      Amendment by Pub. L. 85-623 effective on sixtieth day after Aug.
    12, 1958, see Effective Date note set out under section 1241 of
    Title 15, Commerce and Trade.
                           HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES
      Federal Hazardous Substances Act as not modifying this section,
    see Pub. L. 86-613, Sec. 17, July 12, 1960, 74 Stat. 380, set out
    as a note under section 1261 of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.
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