Gun Rescue


April 8, 2008, 03:50 PM
What a mess. A friend called me to ask for some advice on the following issue.

His great uncle (91 years old) lives in NYC but was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and it has been progressing rapidly to the point that the family in FL has laid down the law and the great-uncle has now moved to FL to live with the rest of the family.

So they have to come up to NYC and clean out the apartment.

The problem.

In one of his lucid times the great-uncle divulged to my friend that he has two "unregistered" (his words) pistols in the apartment in NYC and my friend is trying to figure out what to do about it so he called me asking for advice.

Here's the part that'll make you sick.

One is a -near pristine- US Issue Colt 1902 Alaskan in .45 LC (worth about $3,000 as far as I could determine).

The other (I just want to cry) is a Smith & Wesson Registered Magnum with box and papers, also in basically pristine condition but for a small chunk out of the bottom of one grip.

I couldn't, for the life of me, come up with a legal way for the family to get these guns out of NYC and down to Florida so I'm calling for a THR brainstorm on how to save these guns.

(We HAVE to keep it legal, my friend won't do it any other way.)

If you enjoyed reading about "Gun Rescue" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Len S
April 8, 2008, 03:57 PM
Florida does not have a registration law that I know of. There is no law keeping the uncle from bringing his guns to Florida and then giving them to a relative since they are now both in the same state.


April 8, 2008, 03:59 PM
I agree with Len, and as long as it his personal property I would move it, I would not assign a value or worth because as long as they are within NYC they are worthless.

April 8, 2008, 04:00 PM
Great-Uncle, not grandfather. And the problem with that is the Great-Uncle won't be traveling again (probably ever) and is "non compos mentis" at this point so he can't (as I understand it) legally do ANYTHING anymore.

April 8, 2008, 04:04 PM
I am sure if he has been found to not to be in control of either his mental or physcial faculties then the court has assigned a caretaker. If I were the caretaker I would take his personal property to his state of residence. If you are looking for a can they be transfered to a dealer in NYC I think the short answer is no and you may as well call NYPD and turn them over to them because they have no worth or value under those conditions.

April 8, 2008, 04:06 PM
If the Great Uncle gifted them to your friend they are his personal property mearly go get them and drive them home, easy enough.

General Geoff
April 8, 2008, 04:08 PM
Get them out of NYC as discreetly as possible.

April 8, 2008, 04:11 PM
Get them out of NYC as discreetly as possible.

And as soon as possible.

April 8, 2008, 04:20 PM
Without researching for hours in the New York State Code and NYC ordinances, I would say you are going to have to contact a good, gun friendly lawyer. And that is coming from me, of all people!

If it were me, they would go in a very generic cardboard moving box that is the first box loaded way in the front and bottom of the uhaul van with all the other belongings. Once they are out of New York State, you have no legal problems at all, as long as either Great Uncle's residency has changed to Florida, or the property was assigned to a caretaker whose residency is in Florida.

DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT call the NY State police or NYC PD. Although I am sure a certain person on this board will advise you to call them and the ATF.

April 8, 2008, 04:23 PM
if he has been found to not to be in control of either his mental or physcial faculties then the court has assigned a caretaker
This would be my friend's older brother.

DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT call the NY State police or NYC PD

No worries there. As a former NY'er myself I strongly warned my friend to keep his mouth tightly shut until I'd done some research for him.

I already told him I'd wrap 'em up in socks at the bottom of a foot locker packed in the middle of the truck and in the worst case scenario you could say "oh hell, we just brought stuff out and put it in the van, we never even looked inside". My friend didn't think much of that idea though.

April 8, 2008, 04:26 PM
You may find an answer in this thread ... :)

April 8, 2008, 04:28 PM
As I read it the only problem is that the guns are physically in NYC and have not been properly registered there.

If, theoretically of course, those guns were removed from the boundaries of NYC, there'd be no problem. There is no registration here in FL.

Having an unregistered firearm in NYC is a crime and it would be foolish to act without consulting a lawyer before doing anything and that includes calling the police.

Are you sure these guns aren't registered?

April 8, 2008, 04:31 PM
Are you sure these guns aren't registered?
Beats me. As far as I know there isn't a whole lot of dependable information coming out of the Great Uncle anymore.

Art Eatman
April 8, 2008, 04:46 PM
Unless somebody is an attorney who's familiar with New York gun laws, we're probably better off not speculating--and particularly better off not advocating what might be legal no-nos.

April 8, 2008, 04:50 PM
Check with a real lawyer first. Get them on retainer so you have attorney-client privilege of course.

April 8, 2008, 05:07 PM
I've been researching the NYC statutes. Even if the guns were legally registered and Great Uncle had the proper permit for possession, nobody else without a permit issued by NYC could move those guns. And to move those guns through NYC requires a special movement permit as well. I think the only way to retrieve these guns legally would be to obtain a court order from a judge with jurisdiction in NYC and I can pretty much guess what the answer would be on that one. You might as well be asking for Great Uncles stash of coke to be turned over to the estate caretaker!

To sell a hangun in NYC, as a permit holder, you have to contact the NYPD before the sale as well. I think the only LEGAL thing for you to do is turn them over to NYPD, and by that I mean call them and have them come get them, I wouldn't touch them, if I were going to handle it strictly legally (and I am not saying that I would!)

Ignorance is bliss, too bad he knew about this ahead of time and didn't just move a box with the contents unknown....

April 8, 2008, 06:41 PM
Pack them with the rest of the belongings and take them to Florida. By the time you're out of the state it's no longer New York's concern and you're traveling peaceably in accordance with Federal law.

Involving the law here would likely get the weapons seized and some innocent person prosecuted.

April 8, 2008, 06:50 PM
From my limited understanding, there is no LEGAL way for anything to be done about these guns, other than call the cops to have them taken away and destroyed.

*sigh* there comes a time in a man's life where he has to choose between what is LEGAL and what is RIGHT. It sounds like you and your friend have arrived at that crossroads.

It is most likely not LEGAL to stuff them in socks in the bottom of a box or trunk and move that box or trunk along with 57 others exactly like it down to the U-haul pickup you have rented for the day, and drive it out of state. Nope, probably not legal at all. But would it be right? I don't think anyone can make that call for you - and good luck with the choices you make in life - sometimes courage is rewarded, sometimes it is punished, but sometimes we have to take some risks to follow our conscience. I trust you will make choices that you can live with.

April 8, 2008, 07:15 PM
I think we've all made our point.

He's got two choices. It's up to him now. I hope he does the right thing. ;)

April 9, 2008, 12:24 AM
Well I pointed my friend to this thread so he can read it. That's it for me I'm bowing out.

Thanks for the help folks!

April 9, 2008, 03:47 AM
Do you think that the NYPD is going to magically know that you have two unregistered ( maybe) guns in your U-Haul?

God I'm glad I live in Colorado

April 9, 2008, 07:09 AM
I never read this post.

(And I would do whatever I could to rescue them)

But, mostly, this conversation never happened.

April 9, 2008, 08:51 AM
Could they be transferred to a dealer in New York state (outside of NYC)?

April 9, 2008, 10:41 AM
I'll merely observe that turning the guns over to the NYPD is exactly like taking five crisp new thousand-dollar bills and throwing them into a shredder.

Once the guns are out of NYC, they can be kept for heirs or sold to raise funds to cover medical expenses.

April 9, 2008, 10:51 AM
Ok I'm sorry but this thread.... it boggles my mind.

Go to New york. Get the Guns. go to Florida.
What's the problem?

If these guns are worth that much, I'LL GO GET THEM AND TAKE THEM HOME, because i sure as heck don't want to see them just left there to be taken by some schmoe that moves in after he leaves.

April 9, 2008, 11:07 AM
Let me put different spin on this for you, if they were never registered then they were never there. Where I work if you bring a problem to me I am required to do something about it and I have been known to ask if you really want to bring me into this. New York City doesn't have a problem with these firearms until you alert them about your situation.

Grizzly Adams
April 9, 2008, 12:40 PM
Nothing legal. Just what I would do!

Box them up and get out of NY as fast as I can!

mortdooley expressed as well as anyone!

April 9, 2008, 12:58 PM
Like everyone else has said just move them. I do not see a moral dilemma because:

1) The guns are legally either his or yours if he has given them to you.
2) He is moving to another state.
3) If the uncle did not register them, technically by the very letter of the law it has been bent and/or broken.
4) By moving them to another state, you are making a movement to be in accordance with the law. After all, you found an illegal situation and removed contraband from the city right ;).

In my opinion, I find the whole gun situation in New York City to be illegal and unconstitutional. I do not lightly advocate doing what must be done, but like the gentleman above said, "Do you want to do what is right or what it legal?"

If I found myself in this situation, getting the law enforcement involved is going to turn out bad for everyone. The guns will be confiscated and the new owner will not have two very nice distinctive, collectible guns. The uncle will not have his wishes carried out with regards to his property (and which I might add are pretty reasonable to give someone property items that are rightfully his). Lastly, the uncle could/might end up in legal trouble due to having unregistered handguns. It would be doubtful that NYC police would pursue this last possibility, but I would not discount it due to basically outright banning most guns.

Do what you must do. Every person must make their own decision and live with their conscience. I would not feel that I broke spirit of the law if I did it. As a defense you can claim ignorance and just say that you thought you were doing the right thing. After all, after is it over you will be in accordance with federal law right?

Mr. James
April 9, 2008, 01:11 PM
"When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law."

—Frederic Bastiat

Or, as a rugby mate once said: [Welsh brogue]"Sometimes a man's got ta doo what a man's got ta doo."[/Welsh brogue]

April 9, 2008, 01:16 PM
‘Gun Rescue’ indeed. This reminds me of an East Berlin/West Berlin story from the Cold War: trying to smuggle refugees from an oppressive, totalitarian regime to freedom.

I’ll just say I hope these classic guns make it here to Florida to be cherished by a new owner.

Me! :D

April 9, 2008, 01:25 PM
Found this here:


A non-resident citizen may possess a rifle or shotgun in New York, as long as it is unloaded while being transported. No person may carry, possess or transport a handgun in or through the state unless he has a valid New York license. New York does not issue licenses to non-residents nor does it recognize licenses issued by other states. (A provision of federal law provides a defense to state or local laws which would prohibit the passage of persons with firearms in interstate travel. If a person is traveling from any place where he may lawfully possess and transport a firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and transport such firearm and the firearm is unloaded and in the trunk. In vehicles without a trunk, the unloaded firearm shall be in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console. Necessary stops, e.g., gasoline and rest, seem permissible.)

I'm guessing the parenthetical remark is a reference to FOPA '86.

A local attorney could tell you if someone from out of state, returning to another state would be considered under the "travelling" protection of FOPA.

He owns it, he's taking it out of state in a locked container in the trunk. IANAL and all that.

The people running that site might have some more detailed info as well - I can't imagine this has never come up before.

April 9, 2008, 01:37 PM
why all the fuss, pack them up with some of his belongings and bring everthing to FLA and then it will be chrismas in April, Remember this is still America in most of the states

April 9, 2008, 01:41 PM
Nothing to worry about. He doesn't have two unregistered/illegal PISTOLS in NY. :rolleyes:

April 9, 2008, 01:48 PM
Well, some smartacre is going to say it eventually, so I might as well:

How can you have an unregistered registered magnum?

'Of course it's registered, officer - says so right here on the box. The other? That's an antique. Have a nice day!'

<insert I'm joking IANAL disclaimer here>

Brian Williams
April 9, 2008, 01:52 PM
Legal, illegal,
2 choices; 1, get them out of NYC in a box or 2, hand them over to authorities.
Either has a problem, we are discussing doing something illegal, Not very high road.

April 9, 2008, 02:00 PM
IANAL, but I read up on this once. :)

When he dies, the guns will pass to his heirs (intestate, or somethintg like that, if he has no will) and it becomes their property. If they are residents of another state, they can legally transport them out and N.Y. has little or nothing to do about it -- unless you stupidly involve them.

Gotta go to a meeting...

April 9, 2008, 04:05 PM
Another thing to think of. Will NYC go after the great uncle for having these unreg. firearms.

Even if he is in another state NYC does have a point of pushing thier gun laws pretty hard.

April 9, 2008, 04:27 PM
I don't see what the problem is here. Get the guns, disassemble them down as far as you need to make it more than obvious they aren't capable of being fired. Lock them up in a hard case. Just drive out of the city and STFU.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
April 9, 2008, 05:02 PM
Get in the car. Drive. Get guns. Put in trunk of car in locked container. Drive back to Fla. Don't break any traffic laws on the way.

Am I missing something?

April 9, 2008, 05:21 PM
So, we're talking about guns that are illegal in NYC, but not NYS, right? And, to make things messier, you are going to be transfering them to someone who is not a resident of NYS, but Florida?

1. Remove them from the city. You just solved your major problem. AFAIK, removing them from the city is no more illegal then sitting there wringing your hands about having them. So, just remove them.

2. Now, how would you sell them to someone living in Florida? This is something that is done, literally, every day. Proceed normally.

This is not that complex.

Also, if one of the relatives, who is currently a resident of NYS and is moving to Florida, wants the guns, your problem is even more simple.

Simplest of all is the case of the uncle keeping the guns for himself. If he has not been ajudicated mentally incompetent, the guns are his. So, he's moving to Florda, right? They're his. Pack them up and go. We all understand that he should not have possession of them unsupervised, but legally they are his, just like his shoe trees and boxes of nicknacks from the Great Depression.

Pack them up and go. The only law you're breaking, maybe, is NYC's law banning possession of the guns, and you're removing them from the city. It's not like you're smuggling them in. Put them in the U-haul and haul.

IANAL and all that, and this is not legal advice.


Caleb Longstreet
April 9, 2008, 05:27 PM
Couple of phrases for you:

Delta: They are ready when you are....
Air Tran: GO, there is NOTHING stopping you....

Rent a car, make the 2-day drive, enjoy the guns forever....

Ironically, it would be a crime to turn them me, the NYC police department would probably rathern NOT have all estates, the stuff you remove while he is alive, no one will notice.....

If the person really, really cares, go get them. If they are really worth what you say, the ROI is a no-brainer.....

Just my thoughts....

April 9, 2008, 06:01 PM
You could do a cop to cop if they were legal. When I moved to FL, from NY, 15 years ago, I just took my guns to the queens central booking, and they sent them to a chief of police friend in Jupitar, then I just drove up and got the guns. But I had a permit. If you had something showing that he at least owned the guns, you should be able to do something, but hireing an attorney is going to cost more than the guns are worth. Ask a buddy or a friend of the family who is on the job, this has to be a pretty common problem, although I wouldn't want to give you bad advice.

April 9, 2008, 06:03 PM
God, I would NEVER voluntarily turn my guns over to the police!

April 9, 2008, 11:59 PM
At this point, I believe the legalities have been hammered out. Now all the OP has to decide is what, specifically, to do.


If you enjoyed reading about "Gun Rescue" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!