serial numbers and stolen guns

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by 38 special, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    If you ever bought a used gun,you know it could be stolen unless you know the complete history of the gun. Even if you buy it from the most reputable dealer, He could be (unknownst to him )selling a stolen gun.
    I assume that is why most people dont like to give out serial numbers.They are afraid someone who had a gun stolen will see it and know its their gun. If they have proof then what happens? Must you give them gun with no compensation even though you bought it from a major gun dealer with all the correct paperwork and transfer?
    I always wondered why the secrecy with serial numbers-I guess that's it.
    Has this ever happened to you. You buy a gun used from a mainstream,national dealer and sometime later you go to sell gun and someone looks at it and says "that's my gun that was stolen 10 years ago."
    He then produces his evidence and a cop comes and verifies that He did report this gun, with this serial number, stolen, say 10 years before.
    Do you ,the inncoent collector, have to give up the gun without getting any compensation then, even though you bought it perfectly legally and you are completely innocent of any wrongdoing? Just curious how that would work.
    Just curious if this has ever happened to anyone and if this is the reason why people are secretive about showing entire serial number.
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    I believe that is what happens, and that SHOULD be what happens. You bought a gun, in good faith. Unfortunately for you, the gun you bought was stolen. Possibly the cops could trace it back to the thief (you say you bought it at Joe's Guns, and Joe says he bought it, used, from Frank Smith, and Franks says he got it from Dan's Pawn, and Dan says Robert Brown hocked it, and Mr. Brown hocked it two days after it was reported stolen), and you could get some money back from him. But if it was stolen from me, it is my gun, and it does not matter how many hands it has gone through since then, it is still my gun, and I deserve to get it back.
  3. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how dealers in CA are suppose to respond when they take in a used gun but I thought pawn shops are suppose to check out each gun to determine if it is stolen. I think police make regular visits to pawn shops to verify their gun log books (???).

    I think whomever sold the stolen gun to you needs to give you your money back. Then that seller needs to go to the guy that sold it to him and so on. If a dealer sold me a stolen gun I would expect him to reimburse me. PERIOD! He has the capability to verify that a gun is stolen or not whereas I have no such sources. I have never heard of the scenario you suggest from anyone I know. I just assumed that whenever a gun goes through a FFL dealer that he verifies that a gun in his display case was not stolen. Am I too trusting??

    A friend was parting out a motorcycle and a guy bought the frame with the title. Seems the guy bought a motorcycle and got it successfully licensed through the CA DMV. Some months later the cops arrive telling him the motorcycle was stolen. All they wanted was the VIN marked frame. He got to keep all the rest. That's why he needed my friends frame and title. The point: just because the government's paper work goes through does not mean you have legal title to anything. That may apply to guns too?????

    LDBennett
  4. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    i have a gun that i believe was stolen. the last digit is an 8, and if you look at it closely you can see it has been changed to an 8 from a 3. it has a persons social security number scratched on the butt. i figure that someone stole the gun and then changed the number with a little chisel then pawned it, then i bought it. if i could find the person that it belonged to i would give it back to them. but calling the cops wont help any, all they will do is confiscate the gun and it will end up in the sheriff's closet or something.

    but you're pretty much at a loss if you have a stolen gun and the person can prove it was theirs, they get it back and you get nothing. one problem might occur is if you traded within your "circle" of friends and you had proof you bought a gun, but willingly traded it off, then called the cops and said it was stolen. the cops will believe you because you have paperwork and the other person just has his word.

    i guess there is two or three ways to look at everything, probably why it isnt a crime to possess a stolen handgun , atleast in kentucky. since it's so hard to prove it was stolen.

    no telling how many guns i have bought on paper and traded to people and then them trade it off. half the ones i have i got off record, and .... er i mean....guns what guns?
  5. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

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    That would mirror my feelings as well. Let the retailer you purchased it from refund all monies and worry about getting their own money back from where they purchased it from. If they refused then I would tell them I was going to contact ATF and report them for selling stolen guns. If that didn't work I would do so and then file a small claims court suit against them to recover my monies. That would PO me to the point I would use the system to be made whole again.
  6. olehippy

    olehippy New Member

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    How 2nd, 3rd or whatever generation stolen guns are dealt with varies quiet a bit state-to-state. Generally though, the liability follows the same chain, if you have a legally acquired weapon (or other property in most cases) that turns out to be stolen, the person that sold you that property has a liability to you. This generally goes up the chain of custody i.e. if the seller purchased it from someone else he than can go after that person, on and on. In many cases, these situations are actually settled in small claims court (or whatever your jurisdiction call them).

    As far as ATF, they rarely deal with single gun stolen reports, they have enough ‘freedom’ to pick and choose their cases (I know, saying freedom when referring to ATF is an oxymoron, but wont go there. . .) . Pretty well the same with local authorities, they are interested in property recovery and going after the thief, recovering your losses are civil matters to them.

    As to the more original question, I for one don’t share or release serial number of my weapons because I’m worried about one of them turning up stolen, more because those numbers can be used to turn hot weapons into sellable ones.

    The example Johnlives gave depicts a rather amateurish modification of a serial number, but there are ‘dealers’ that can easily and very realistically change serial numbers on weapons. If someone knows what serial numbers are legit, and even who has owned that number, its makes the weapon more valuable on the black market. Not to mention when a law enforcement officer comes knocking, stating your weapon has been used in a crime.

    Again, thanks to dear sweet ATF, (from the govt, here to help you!) almost anyone can chase serial numbers anyway so I’m probably being too careful, but oh well.

    Miles
  7. gazzmann

    gazzmann New Member

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  8. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

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    I bought a model 700 at a yard sale. The guy said is was in an abandoned car on the side of Mt Rainer.

    I arc welded the numbers, ground it smooth, then filled it with all metal.:eek:

    Now that its coated, all it says is, "Model 700"

    Dont know where it came from, it will take CSI hours to get any of the numbers.

    Its new to me :D
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  9. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    possessing a firearm that has been defaced is a crime... although it is just a misdomeaner (spellin)
  10. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying you removed the serial numbers? Bragging about committing a Federal crime, on the internet?:confused:
  11. olehippy

    olehippy New Member

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    Now you might think about dumping that gun back on the side of Mt Rainer!

    Owning a defaced firearm is a misdemeanor, but modifying or removing the serial number is not, that is a damn good way to meet Mr Madeoff in person! It is a federal felony, and your big brothers at ATF would look into that one!
  12. kingchip

    kingchip New Member

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    Just move to Montana.
  13. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    I have traded in guns when buying a different one from a dealer. These are all legitimate businesses. I notice when they take the gun from me they just write down on a receipt -received from .... and the make and serial number of gun.Then they give me receipt. That's it. Then they put it up for sale.So if it was stolen I dont think they can really know- I mean it could have been stolen a few hours before.
    So I guess if you buy used guns, there is no sure way to know if they are stolen whether you buy from a store a big as Cabellas or a local gun shop.
  14. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

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    That was many years ago, and that piece is long gone

    The proof would be in the pudding, and the pudding has been eaten, and the bowl has been washed.

    Beside if Mr ATF were to come to my door, Ill let him in, let him search all he wants.

    There are no firearms stored at my place.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  15. 38 special

    38 special New Member

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    I guess the safest thing is to just buy brand new guns. But that kinda sucks if you are a collector or if you aren't wealthy.
  16. Gun Geezer

    Gun Geezer Well-Known Member

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    Since moving to FL. ten years ago a heretofore unknown business called pawn shops has piqued my curiosity. Especially since about 12 expensive rods and reels were stolen from my boat a few years ago. According to FL. law, if you find stolen property at a pawn shop and can prove it belongs to you, you still have to pay the pawn shop owner his asking price to get it back and he is under no obligation to help you get compensated from whoever pawned it. That's Good Ole Boys politics at its finest. Welcome to Florida!
  17. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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