18 U.S. Code § 1717 - Letters and writings as nonmailable

Every letter, writing, circular, postal card, picture, print, engraving, photograph, newspaper, pamphlet, book, or other publication, matter or thing, in violation of sections 499, 506, 793, 794, 915, 954, 956, 957, 960, 964, 1017, 1542, 1543, 1544 or 2388 of this title or which contains any matter advocating or urging treason, insurrection, or forcible resistance to any law of the United States is nonmailable and shall not be conveyed in the mails or delivered from any post office or by any letter carrier.
Whoever uses or attempts to use the mails or Postal Service for the transmission of any matter declared by this section to be nonmailable, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years or both.
Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§ 343, 344, 345, 346 (June 15, 1917, ch. 30, title XII, §§ 1–3, title XIII, § 1, 40 Stat. 230, 231; Mar. 28, 1940, ch. 72, § 9, 54 Stat. 80).

Section consolidates said sections 343345 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed. The provision as to opening letters was incorporated in paragraph (c).

Venue provisions in said section 345 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., were omitted as covered by section 3237 of this title.

Section 346 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., defining “United States” was omitted. It is incorporated, however, in section 5 of this title.

References in text to other sections do not include definitive sections. Only those susceptible of violation are cited.

Mandatory punishment provision was rephrased in the alternative.

Minor changes were made in arrangement, translation, and phraseology.

Editorial Notes

1994—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $5,000”.

1990—Pub. L. 101–647 struck out “; opening letters” after “nonmailable” in section catchline.

1970—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 91–375 struck out “of the United States” after “Postal Service”.

1960—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 86–682 struck out subsec. (c) which related to the opening of letters.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
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 1960 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 86–682 effective Sept. 1, 1960, see section 11 of Pub. L. 86–682, Sept. 2, 1960, 74 Stat. 708.