Seller doesn't want to disclose serial #.


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mikecu
June 7, 2009, 01:44 PM
I had a seller respond to a WTB post that I made.

I asked the seller for the serial # of the firearm, so that I can call the manufacturer to check for updates since the production of his, recalls, date of manufacture, etc.

I also said that I wanted to check the serial # on the FDLE web site.

http://pas.fdle.state.fl.us/pas/item/displayGunSearch.a


The seller is telling me that he bought it new from a dealer and does not want to disclose the serial # prior to purchase.

What do you guys think?

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rbernie
June 7, 2009, 01:47 PM
Many people are uncomfortable revealing the complete serial number of their firearms, based upon privacy concerns. You can ask for all but the last three numbers, and revealing that does seem to be convention.

Frank Ettin
June 7, 2009, 03:06 PM
First, I think you're entirely reasonable to want to verify that the gun is not, or at least has not been reported, stolen. And while he claims to have bought the gun new from a dealer, you could reasonably ask for verification of that. Either way, he would necessarily have to reveal the complete SN to you.

In business, it is often reasonable and necessary to disclose information that you would otherwise want to keep confidential. If I want a loan or credit, I will probably have to disclose my SSN and other private financial information. If I want to buy life insurance, I may need to disclose my medical history. If I want to sell someone a gun, I should reasonably expect to have to disclose the complete serial number.

It's completely up to you of course. You need to decide how much you're willing to trust the seller. Personally, I wouldn't do business with him. Your request is reasonable. You should be entitled to perform your due diligence, and the seller should expect you to want to do so.

Burrhead51
June 7, 2009, 03:37 PM
If I was interested in a firearm for sale on the net I'd be careful also. What you could do is to make an offer and stipulate that the sale is hinging on you receiving the full serial number for you to do your own check before finalizing the purchase.

Lone_Gunman
June 7, 2009, 04:01 PM
I would not disclose the serial number to a potential buyer either. If that is a problem for that buyer, that is fine, there are lots of buyers out there, so who cares?

Ala Dan
June 7, 2009, 04:05 PM
this is customary; not too reveal a firearms COMPLETE S/N~! :eek:

I don't do it either, for fear of security concerns. ;)

Superpsy
June 7, 2009, 04:09 PM
I would not disclose the serial number to a potential buyer either. If that is a problem for that buyer, that is fine, there are lots of buyers out there, so who cares?

same here. rbernie's suggestion is usually what I do.

Animal Mother
June 7, 2009, 08:12 PM
I would not disclose the serial number to a potential buyer either. If that is a problem for that buyer, that is fine, there are lots of buyers out there, so who cares?

I'm also in that camp. It is a very common practice to either obscure or only reveal a partial serial number. If you look at any published letters to the staff of any gun magazine, the last few digits of any gun are X'd out. Many photos online of people's personal collection are obscured.

deadin
June 7, 2009, 09:04 PM
If that is a problem for that buyer, that is fine, there are lots of buyers out there, so who cares?

There's also a lot of sellers out there that aren't quite so paranoid.:p

You also could offer to use an escrow service.

NotSoFast
June 7, 2009, 09:34 PM
Maybe you could negotiate a deal. Maybe he could take it to a legit. dealer that he trusts and that you know is legitimate and have them verify it, then send you the results. Then look up that dealer's phone number and call them back to double check. That way you get it verified and he doesn't disclose it to you.

If it isn't a legitimate FFL, you should be able to tell just by the way they answer the phone. And if he doesn't want to do that, find another seller.

Odd1
June 7, 2009, 09:43 PM
What security concerns exactly?

I mean someone has a serial number of a firearm, they report it stolen, then all of a sudden you are a criminal?

I mean if this was to happen, the firearm could be traced from the FFL holder to you (if you were the first person to buy it).

Or you may have a reciept. Or they may need those things to prove it was thier weapon first.



Either way, not really sure what can happen that is all that bad and could not be cleared up even if some one did have a diabolical intention.

If I am ignorant please enlighten me.

rbernie
June 7, 2009, 09:57 PM
Either way, not really sure what can happen that is all that bad and could not be cleared up even if some one did have a diabolical intention.

If I am ignorant please enlighten me.You're probably right. But if you never get the full serial number, there's no way for you to START to make mischief, now is there? :)

ScotZ
June 7, 2009, 10:07 PM
I have many many guns in my safe that were my fathers. No reciept, no transfer record. Why would I want someone else to have those serial numbers? I guess I am "old school".

Frank Ettin
June 7, 2009, 10:18 PM
I'm also in that camp. It is a very common practice to either obscure or only reveal a partial serial number. If you look at any published letters to the staff of any gun magazine, the last few digits of any gun are X'd out. Many photos online of people's personal collection are obscured.That's completely different. One isn't selling the gun.

Be that as it may, if a buyer wants the full serial number to do proper due diligence and to specifically identify the gun he's buying (redacting the last three digits only identifies the gun as one of 999), I congratulate him on his prudence. (Just as if I were buying a used car I'd insist on having the VIN so that I could establish the car's history through one of the available data bases.) And if the buyer forgoes buying a gun because the seller declines to provide the complete serial number, I'd congratulate the buyer on his prudence.

If the seller doesn't want to disclose the serial number and finds a buyer who is willing to buy the gun without that information in advance, more power to him. That's what the free market is all about.

Ala Dan
June 8, 2009, 03:48 PM
All a dishonest person would have to do, it find a "local youcal FFL" (also very
dishonest. and needing too make a fast buck); to backdate an invoice (prior
to your stolen report), and say that he had said firearm stolen from him~! :eek:

nofishbob
June 8, 2009, 05:35 PM
I have heard both sides of the "keep your serial numbers secret" debate, and it seems like something that MAY cause a problem, but what are the odds?

Does anyone know of a documented case where somebody attempted fraud on a stranger using the serial number on a firearm?

It would seem that the downside of forging documents by an FFL, filling out a false police report, etc, would make this scam really unattractive.

Bob

SaxonPig
June 8, 2009, 05:40 PM
I personally have no qualms about revealing a serial number although I have never felt compelled to request it, either. After buying roughly 500 guns in my life only one turned out to be hot and that one came from a storefront FFL.

This discussion sort of evolved into a #43.

Hiding serial numbers in photos?

43. 1. Privacy. Some folks just don't like giving out anything. 2. Paranoia. The old saw about someone reporting your gun as theirs will require filing a false police report which is felony. The cops take a very dim view of people doing this so you may expect to be prosecuted. I do not personally know of it ever happening and certainly not actually working. 3. Paranoia II. Some people try to conceal the fact that they own guns in case the government ever comes to confiscate them all. Good luck on that. I never had a problem caused by revealing serial numbers and neither have others I have spoken with who do it routinely. If you are uncomfortable doing so then don't. But it's highly unlikely that anything would ever come from doing it.

harmonic
June 8, 2009, 06:33 PM
The whole idea of hiding the serial number is supposed to prevent someone from reporting your gun as stolen, so we hide all but the last three digits.

But when the subject comes up, nobody can ever quote a source where such a thing has ever happened. Much ado about nothing.

I notice, however, that a lot of dealers over on gunbroker don't worry about it.

http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=130510170

http://pics.gunbroker.com/GB/130510000/130510170/pix1210985343.jpg

Ruggles
June 8, 2009, 07:27 PM
I also see no reason to worry about posting the serial number. As it has been said the records of who purchased the firearms are easily obtainable. Of all the stories posted on gun forums I never remember one that started

"So this scumbag got my serial number off of my picture post and he......"

Seems to me I would have read about at least 1 incident. Just my .02.

Lone_Gunman
June 8, 2009, 09:47 PM
There's also a lot of sellers out there that aren't quite so paranoid.

You also could offer to use an escrow service.

So buy from one of the non-paranoid sellers.

If its my gun, the terms of sale are up to me.

ants
June 8, 2009, 10:05 PM
Each person sets his own threshold. Each person sets his own rules.

You set yours, he set his. If the two of you don't see eye to eye, walk away from each other.

Gunfighter123
June 8, 2009, 10:14 PM
I will not disclose a full serial number to ANYONE over the internet.

If I sell a firearm on ANY of the Net gunboards , there is a straight line back to me if it should turn up stolen etc. ----- either thru my local FFL holder or in the case of longarms , thru the US post office where I have shipped the firearm from.

To those that say " well,i've nothing to hide" ------- I say the same thing I'd say to any Police Agency asking if they can have the right to search my home or automobile -- "SURE , if I can come over to your house first and search your wifes underware drawer"

mongo4567
June 8, 2009, 10:25 PM
I would view the request for a serial number as very out of the ordinary. While I'm not particularly paranoid, I would view the request as strange/suspicious. I have found that once any transaction starts heading towards something unusual it only gets worse later.

SaxonPig
June 8, 2009, 10:28 PM
G123- That's your choice and you obviously feel very strongly about it. You'll get no kick from me.

I just realized after giving it lots of thought (I never do ANYTHING without thinking about it first) that I really couldn't see any harm that could come from making a serial number on a gun that I legally own public. Like someone noted, nobody seems able to find anyone who has actually experienced any grief from revealing a serial number.

If anyone cares to bother, a magnifying glass will enable you to read the serials on these. Doesn't really worry me.


http://www.fototime.com/603B30DC55E03E1/standard.jpg


http://www.fototime.com/A5FEE7C0F084410/standard.jpg

sernv99
June 9, 2009, 06:39 AM
Revealing a SN doesn't open you up to any "security concerns".


All a dishonest person would have to do, it find a "local youcal FFL" (also very
dishonest. and needing too make a fast buck); to backdate an invoice (prior
to your stolen report), and say that he had said firearm stolen from him

ATF makes a bing stink about a FFL not dotting his "i" and crossing his "t" in his/her log book, so forging a fake invoice and having to log it in their book and committing a fraud like the scenario you described is not ever likely to happen.

I would suggest the OP take his money elsewhere and make sure to tell the buyer he lost a sale.

mgkdrgn
June 9, 2009, 08:06 AM
All a dishonest person would have to do, it find a "local youcal FFL" (also very
dishonest. and needing too make a fast buck); to backdate an invoice (prior
to your stolen report), and say that he had said firearm stolen from him~! :eek:

Oh ya, there are hundreds of FFL's ou there willing to falsify their records and risk federal prison for the price of a transfer fee ...

Lone_Gunman
June 9, 2009, 08:19 AM
I would suggest the OP take his money elsewhere and make sure to tell the buyer he lost a sale.

LOL like that will matter. Whenever I have sold off one of my guns, I have had multiple offers. If one buyer wants to be difficult, I will just sell to the next. I am not a business, and I am not Wal Mart. I don't care if I lose one person's business. Its my gun until it is sold, and will be sold with my conditions, not the buyers.

Oh ya, there are hundreds of FFL's ou there willing to falsify their records and risk federal prison for the price of a transfer fee ...

You somehow think there is not a single bad FFL out there? There are quite a few. The ATF is pretty good at finding them, but they can do a lot of damage before they are caught.

sernv99
June 9, 2009, 10:06 AM
Whenever I have sold off one of my guns, I have had multiple offers. If one buyer wants to be difficult, I will just sell to the next. I am not a business, and I am not Wal Mart. I don't care if I lose one person's business.

like you represent the entire population of gun owners selling their guns. :rolleyes: there are plenty of sellers who are anxious to sell something right away and will eventually think differently when their gun isn't selling in the time frame they want to.

Lone_Gunman
June 9, 2009, 10:17 AM
like you represent the entire population of gun owners selling their guns.

Ahh... so I cannot make blanket statements about gun owners, but its fine to make blanket statements attesting to the legitimacy of all FFL holders.

Anyway, of course their are more anxious sellers than me, and perhaps you can coerce them into divulging information I would not.

If you want the serial number of my gun to check and see if it is stolen, then I should be able to run a background check on the potential buyer to make sure he is not a felon or other prohibited person.

In fact, if a buyer was willing to let me have all his personal info and do a background check, I would be willing to let him have the gun's serial number, but I doubt few buyers would be willing to do that.

The best way to handle gun trading is the old fashioned way. I tell you the gun is not stolen. You tell me you are not a felon. You give me the money. I give you the gun. We shake hands. We then never see each other again.

deadin
June 9, 2009, 10:34 AM
All a dishonest person would have to do, it find a "local youcal FFL" (also very dishonest. and needing too make a fast buck); to backdate an invoice (prior
to your stolen report), and say that he had said firearm stolen from him


And then the "dishonest FFL" would need to make sure that whoever is logged into his book in the "received from" column is in on the fraud and will verify that they sold the gun to the FFL in the first place. and so on, ad infintum.

Isn't paranoia a fun thing? :neener:
(I sometimes think that paranoia and "gun ju ju" go together. :rolleyes:)

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2009, 10:57 AM
...If you want the serial number of my gun to check and see if it is stolen, then I should be able to run a background check on the potential buyer to make sure he is not a felon or other prohibited person....Not really. If you sell a gun to a prohibited person, you're only in trouble if you knew or should have known that the buyer was a prohibited person. You have no legal duty to do a background check.

If I buy a stolen gun, whatever else happens, the gun is going to be confiscated. I'll be out the gun, and I'll also be out what I paid unless I can find the seller and get the money back from him.

....I tell you the gun is not stolen. You tell me you are not a felon. You give me the money. I give you the gun.....Trust is nice. But I've still got a gun that may or may not have been stolen, and you've got real money. In any case, there's a limit on how far I will trust you, a complete stranger. And there should be a limit on how far you should trust me, a complete stranger.

I notice that you're not proposing to accept my promise to give you the money tomorrow for the gun you give me today. Why shouldn't I also be able to verify your title to the gun before I give you the money (and you give me the gun)?

Lone_Gunman
June 9, 2009, 11:02 AM
Why shouldn't I also be able to verify your title to the gun before I give you the money (and you give me the gun)?

How does checking to see if a gun has been reported stolen verify that I have title to the gun???

markfh
June 9, 2009, 11:37 AM
So you don't want to supply the serial number to a prospective buyer. That's your choice.

The guy that bought my STOLEN AR swore he'd never buy another one without checking to see if the gun was stolen.

The time and money he spent proving he wasn't the one that stole it would have bought him a number of guns and ammo to go with them.


If you don't want to give me the serial number so I can verify it isn't stolen then I'll buy from someone else that will.

Good thing about guns, they usually make thousands of most models that I'd be interested in and I can wait to avoid all the legal trouble.

:neener:

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2009, 11:58 AM
How does checking to see if a gun has been reported stolen verify that I have title to the gun?It doesn't completely. But if it has been reported stolen, then you don't have title to the gun (or it's at least what we call a cloud on your claim of title).

Lone_Gunman
June 9, 2009, 01:45 PM
But if it has been reported stolen, then you don't have title to the gun (or it's at least what we call a cloud on your claim of title).

I bought a stolen revolver from an FFL once. Obviously, at the time, neither of us knew it was stolen. I got a receipt. It was later determined to have been stolen. The ATF took the gun, and the FFL refunded my money. However, I technically had title to the firearm (ie, I had a reciept which proved I had purchased it from an FFL).

Even if a stolen gun is returned to its legal owner, it has been known to stay in the data base as stolen indefinitely.

It doesnt really matter though. There is no way to be 100% sure any gun you buy from an individual is not stolen.

maskedman504
June 9, 2009, 02:10 PM
If someone reports a gun stolen will they not be asked to provide a receipt for purchase?

What about when I present my receipt?

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2009, 02:17 PM
I bought a stolen revolver from an FFL once. ... I got a receipt. It was later determined to have been stolen. ...I technically had title to the firearm (ie, I had a reciept ...)....Nope, legal title doesn't work that way.

As a mater of law one can't acquire title to stolen property, even by a good faith purchase. The stolen gun was never the FFL's to sell, and it was never yours -- receipt or no receipt.

maskedman504
June 9, 2009, 02:20 PM
How can the other party prove ownership besides simply having the serial number?

Mike Sr.
June 9, 2009, 02:23 PM
"The seller is telling me that he bought it new from a dealer and does not want to disclose the serial # prior to purchase."

========================

DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS SELLER!

ArmedBear
June 9, 2009, 02:25 PM
If the buyer and seller can't agree on the terms of the transaction, then the transaction doesn't need to occur. You decide what you want, he decides what he wants to give.

He can sell it to someone else, and you can buy from someone else.

No problem.

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2009, 03:37 PM
...There is no way to be 100% sure any gun you buy from an individual is not stolen. ...True BUT--

[1] If it's not in the data base as reported stolen, that increases the chances that it is not.

[2] If it is in the data base as reported stolen, that increases the chances that it is.

Since if the buyer is found to have bought a stolen gun, at best he will have to give up the gun. He will also be out the money unless (1) he can find the seller; and (2) the seller is willing to give him the money back. (Of course, if he finds the seller and the seller won't refund the money, he can sue the seller, but that's more hassles and expense.) In addition, our buyer may be in for some uncomfortable time while the authorities try to figure out whether he stole the gun himself or at least knew it was stolen.

So the possible downsides to innocently buying a stolen gun suggest to me that a buyer is wise and prudent to at least to whatever he can (like check a data base using the entire serial number) to be able to increase his confidence level that the roscoe he'd buying isn't hot.

Lone_Gunman
June 9, 2009, 03:46 PM
Actually as this conversation has evolved I have decided that it would be reasonable to give a potential buyer a serial number before the purchase if the buyer will provide:
1. name
2. address
3. DOB
4. sworn statement that he does not own, nor has he ever owned or reported stolen, the gun in question, and agrees that he will not reveal the serial number to any third party other than law enforcement, and then only for the purpose of checking to see it it has been reported stolen.

Would most buyers be willing to provide this? I am not sure, but if so my concerens about revealing the SN before the sale would be quelled.

shooter429
June 9, 2009, 03:49 PM
Negotiate. Or set up a ftf meeting in a neutral location-like a city range. You check out the gun and his proof and he you. Remember too, that a seller can get burned by an unscrupulous buyer as well as the other way around. So try to understand both positions. Offer to exchange CPL/FFLs and IDs. Write a transfer agreement with copies of the licenses, date and a witness, if you both want.

If you are both honest, law-abiding citizens, neither should have a problem with working something like this out, IMHO.

I have bought and sold a few guns Online. If the seller does not want proof of who I am or proof of his legal ownership or the buyer is sketchy, I just abort, and move on. But I must say that I have only been burned one time since I turned 21, (I was a 21 YO newb) and that was many moons ago. After that, I decided on only selling to someone whom with I was comfortable doing business.

Hope this helps

Oh, I almost forgot to say check the boards for his reputation. Both buyers and sellers can give reports on gun transactions. A seller or buyer who burns people is not going to be able to do so for very long in a community setting.

Shooter429

Frank Ettin
June 9, 2009, 03:57 PM
Actually as this conversation has evolved I have decided that it would be reasonable to give a potential buyer a serial number before the purchase if the buyer will provide:
1. name
2. address
3. DOB
4. sworn statement that he does not own, nor has he ever owned or reported stolen, the gun in question, and agrees that he will not reveal the serial number to any third party other than law enforcement, and then only for the purpose of checking to see it it has been reported stolen....FWIW, I think this would be a reasonable compromise. Although I'd suggest that you might consider settling for a "signed" statement instead of a "sworn" statement. It would have the same legal effect; and getting a properly sworn statement would require finding a notary who was authorized to administer an oath.

Personally, I would provide this information to a seller in connection with the purchase of a gun from him, as long as he provides me with the serial number and the chance to check it out.

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