running serial numbers

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Juststartingout, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Juststartingout

    Juststartingout New Member

    Apr 7, 2012
    Hi guys, since joining this site I have told a lot of guys at work about it. They all had a lot of questions there asking me. The big question they ask is, how to know if a gun is stolen or not before they buy one private party. Is there any way to do this online? Thanx to all that help!
  2. H-D

    H-D Active Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    Call your local police dept, they will run it for you, best to do it before you buy it though

  3. Danjet500

    Danjet500 Member

    Jun 4, 2008
  4. Juststartingout

    Juststartingout New Member

    Apr 7, 2012
    Thanx guys!! I'll pass it along!!
  5. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Thanks to Danjet500 for the links. Very interesting. This could be a very interesting subject for discussion.

    When ever I buy anything of any real value (typically $100.00 and up) that has a serial number (watch, camera, laptop computer, etc.) I get a bill of sale. {A retail sales or cash register receipt is a bill of sale, even though the serial number may not appear thereon.}

    When ever I buy any firearm, I GET A BILL OF SALE THAT INCLUDES THE SELLER'S DRIVER LICENSE NUMBER, DESCRIPTION OF GOODS, PRICE PAID, AND SELLERS SIGNATURE. It does not matter that I am walking around a Florida gun show, and an elderly Catholic priest wants to sell me his single barrel shotgun made before serial numbers were required, for $50.00; I get a bill of sale or do not do the deal.

    The foregoing is very good legal advice. While I have never been "Admitted to the Bar" in any state, I have never been threatened by the ATF with a vacation at "Club Fed" either.

    US Federal law prohibits the direct sale of any modern firearm between two private (unlicensed as in FFL) persons that are not residents of the same state. Thus, you need to at least see the state driver license of the person that you are buying from or selling to. However, it is better to be able to show law enforcement officers, than it is to tell them, in the event of trouble in the future. Thus, no bill of sale equals no deal, for me.

    Now, a brief comment on stolen goods and the law. In years past, some states (e.g. Michigan) passed laws that protected businesses (like jewelers, pawn shops, and gun shops) that buy and sell second hand goods. These laws treated the business as what is known as "A Holder in the Due Course of Business". The bottom line was that if your stolen property ended up in the showcase of a business (that was required to keep and actually kept proper records) you would have to pay the business what it paid for your property to get your property back. Such laws "fly in the face" of historical common law which holds that one cannot have good title to stolen property. Michigan no longer has such a law, and any state that does is acting contrary to long standing case law precedents on the subject of stolen property.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    All good advice except that there is no nationwide record, anywhere, of stolen property, including stolen guns. Some states that have gun registration keep a record of registered guns that were reported as stolen, and some local LE agencies keep records of stolen property and circulate them to pawn shops, gun dealers and second-hand stores in the area, but the NICS check does not (contrary to a posting a few weeks ago) detect a stolen gun. The NICS check does not even include the make, model or serial number of the gun, only the general type (handgun, rifle, shotgun); it is a check on the buyer, not the gun.

    In general, there is no way to be sure you are not buying a stolen gun, even if you buy it legally from an FFL dealer. A sales slip or a dealer's records will probably prevent a buyer from being charged with receiving stolen goods, but he will have to surrender the goods, and will not be reimbursed for his loss unless the seller will do so, and he has no legal obligation to do so.

  7. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    A sales slip or a dealer's records will probably prevent a buyer from being charged with receiving stolen goods, but he will have to surrender the goods, and will not be reimbursed for his loss unless the seller will do so, and he has no legal obligation to do so.


    Laws can and do vary from state to state. When you buy something from anyone there are certain implied warranties that are hard for the seller to escape. These implied warranties include that the seller has (or can pass) good title, and that the goods are as actually represented for sale (aka merchantability).

    If such turns out not to be the case, the buyer has grounds in some states for a civil action against the seller. Personally, "I have been there and done that" in the case of a item of stolen property purchased from a merchant in Michigan about 10 years ago. The merchant wanted to furnish a similar replacement item. I demanded, and a circuit court ordered, the return of my monies paid plus interest.

    Of course, laws can and do sometimes vary from state to state; and some judges do whatever they want to do, regardless of the law. {Been there seen such, more than once.}

    The bottom line is that it is wise to know your seller, and not pay large amounts of money for things that might have defective titles.
  8. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    When I buy or sell a gun, I get personal info. If they don't want to give it then I don't buy or sell. I know the personal I.D. does not help I.D. stolen firearms but it makes the person on the other end consciencess. And yes, I have had guys not sell me a gun because I wanted their D.L. number so I assumed they were not legit. Fine by me because I do not want to buy a stolen gun.

    Thanks for the great info Jim K.
  9. gvw3

    gvw3 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2011
    Chicago IL Area
    Buying a stolen gun is like buying stolen tools from a working man. Just plain not right. If you get caught you may lose all your guns. Not worth it to me.
  10. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    Stolen guns are listed by make model, caliber and serial number in the National Crime Informaton System (NCIS) Only law enforcement officers have access to this system.
    If a gun is stolen and the owner does not have the SN-it can not be listed as stolen.
  11. twobit

    twobit Active Member

    Sep 15, 2010
    Bill is correct. There is a national database (NCIC) of stolen items. If the serial number was known and it was entered into the database from the police report by law enforcement it will be in the system. An item listed in the database stays there forever until it is removed by law enforcement through the proper procedures.

    This has nothing to do with the similar abbreviation NICS check to see if someone is OK'd to buy a gun. Almost any stolen item with a serial number can be put in the NCIC database by law enforcement, not just guns. Vehicles are listed by VIN.

    Also if the serial number entered by the officer shows to be a stolen gun, the computer system automatically sends a message to the agency that originally entered that gun as stolen and it tell them that stolen gun "x" has just been checked by officer x at department x. These departments might be thousands of miles apart but both the checking agency and the original reporting agency are required to contact each other. The feds (it is an FBI computer system) are flagged that a stolen item has been run. They DO follow up that the item was recovered.

    Thus before a check is run, it is mandatory that the gun (or other item) be able to be seized immediately by law enforcement if it shows stolen. Therefore any officer checking a serial number needs to be able to, at the time he runs the check, physically seize that gun because a follow-up is automatically generated from a federal level to assure the gun is recovered.

    Don't go give one of your officer friends just a serial number for a gun you are curious about and ask him to run it. If he runs it, and it shows stolen, he is obligated to immediately seize the gun and begin the process of getting it back to it's legal owner. Present the actual gun to a department and they will check it.
  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    I stand corrected on the NCIC registry. But the NICS check run by a dealer does not access that information because the dealer does not provide gun information, only the general type.

  13. popgun

    popgun New Member

    Sep 21, 2009
    Enjoy private sales while you can as I belive this will be the next target of the Anti-Gun crowd.
  14. Juststartingout

    Juststartingout New Member

    Apr 7, 2012
    WOW!! A lot of good advice and info here. I let the guys at work know about it and I will try to get them to join TFF so they can put there own two cents in. Thank you to all for the info. It has been very usefull.
  15. ryan42

    ryan42 New Member

    Jan 28, 2012
    marion indiana
    I bought my nephews gun and I had a deputy sherriff run the number and he told me up front if its stolen you have to give it up and I said if its stolen you can have it.It checked out fine so all was good.I trust nobody.
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