Turning in a Stolen Gun

Turning in a Stolen GunOver the years I have bought, sold, traded, and carried a number of firearms. Some of them I purchased from gun stores and other deals were done through private parties. About 8 years ago I started checking serial numbers before taking possession of any firearms, however, what I didn’t do was consider checking the S/N’s of any of the others I already had. I know I should have been doing this all along and if I had, I would have avoided this situation along with the risks involved with it.

Sometime between November of 1996 and November of 1999 I purchased a handgun from a guy who I had met as a regular customer in an establishment I used to shoot pool in. I didn’t really know the guy but others who frequented the joint and worked there did and they all said he was “cool.” I went to the guys house, handed him the cash, and walked out the door with the gun. Being the naive youngster that I was, the thought never crossed my mind to check anything.

(Fast forward 10-14 years)

The gun in question has been sitting in a vault in another state for a number of years. It was just brought to Vegas where I promptly decided to register it for a blue card and was considering selling it. At this point I realized I had never checked the S/N and decided to do so. This is where things got interesting…

I called the County Sheriff where the gun had been obtained and stored and asked them to check the S/N. The reply I got was not the one I expected:

“I’m sorry sir but I can not discuss what we have on file about this firearm. What I can tell you is that if you know where it is or can put us in touch with who has it, we would appreciate it.”

They would not confirm that it was stolen but what else could it be? I thanked her for her time and hung up.

“WTF do I do now?” That’s the question that nagged at me so I decided to search Google to see what others, in the same situation, had done. Truth be told, I could find no solid procedure for turning in a potentially stolen gun. What I did find were a number of stories where people were arrested for possessing them. As a person who is trying to do the right thing, this did not exactly make me feel comfortable about showing up at the Police Station with a gun that is most likely stolen.

The way I see it, turning in a stolen gun is better than risking being “caught” with a it.  I put the gun in a case and headed to the police station.

As it turns out, turning in a stolen gun is a very easy and risk free thing to do as long as you have the right to possess a gun in the first place.  They ran the gun in question and it was stolen so away it went along with my investment.  They then asked me to fill out a “Voluntary Statement” detailing how I received the firearm.

I’m not all that concerned with the financial loss as I chalk it up to a valuable lesson learned. If anything, I’m very relieved to be rid of the gun, without being charged with a felony, and happy to have the opportunity to share my experience with others.

As I mentioned towards the beginning of this entry, I’ve been vigilant in checking S/N’s for the past several years. I’ve also made sure to have written receipts and such for any and all firearm purchases/trades and encourage everybody to do the same to avoid potential problems that could cost you your right to own a firearm and/or your freedom.

Here is a Bill of Sale form that you can use to keep track of things and collect info on who you obtain firearms from or trade/sell them to.

Overall I am happy with the outcome of this situation. I’m posting this information in hopes of reassuring others that, if you find you have a stolen firearm in your possession, it’s OK to turn it over to the police. If it were my gun, I would hope somebody else would do the same as I have done. Not only as a form of closure but also so I could possibly recover the firearm and know that it is not “out on the streets” being used to commit any crimes.

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4 Responses to Turning in a Stolen Gun

  1. mason1128 April 25, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    I just wanted to thank u for posting this! This just happened to my husband yesterday! He had bought a gun off his daddy and his daddy had bought it from a neighbor they both trusted it wasn’t stolen! Well my husband decided to take it to get it looked at cuz one if the holes was stopped up and the bullet wouldn’t go in ad of course they had to run it first and it came back stolen! But my husband just grabbed it and left and said he was taking it to the police and they didn’t stop him! Well we’ve been debating all day what to do because we were scared somehow we would end up in trouble! So I started asking questions on ask.com and it pulled ur post! So my husband felt more comfortable about going and turning it in cuz we didn’t want nothing to do with a stolen gun or anything stolen for that matter! And I just thought I’d let u know that you brought comfort to someone by posting this!! And he just called and he’s on his way home so everything went fine except we’re out $150 but its worth it in the long run not to have to worry about it! Thanks so much!

    • 702Shooter April 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      Thank you for posting your story. It’s nice to know when my posts make a positive difference. :)

  2. Chris Griffin November 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    That’s good to know, I was just found innocent on a stolen one. Cost was well worth the lesson. I still trade them, the post helped answer my question.

  3. Jim O July 28, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    I have found myself in a similar position, having recently purchased a gun that I now suspect might be stolen. Before reading this I was reluctant to go to my local dealership or police station and get it checked for fear of prosecution. Now that I have read your story, I have peace of mind and will take it to get checked out here in the very near future. If the firearm I possess, is in fact stolen, I will feel much better with it being returned to its rightful owner and if it is not I will be able to enjoy my new firearm knowing that its rightfully mine. Its a win win. Thank you for sharing.

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