Found a gun in MN... questions...


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RoostRider
July 21, 2009, 09:24 PM
A friend of mine found a .380 handgun, unloaded, in a case, with 2 magazines completely full of ammunition in a semi-public place (the common area of the storage area of an apartment building he maintains, under a pile of junk that has been there for years). He is over 21 with no felonies.

What should legally be done about this?

Is there a legal procedure he can go through where he will be allowed to keep this gun?

Is he obliged by any law MN or federal to report this finding?

Again, this was found in the locked common area of an apartment where the storage lockers are.... it's origin is completely unknown.... everything else in the pile was disposed of....

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janedoedad
July 21, 2009, 10:06 PM
Check your MN specific laws.

Beyond any MN law to the contrary, the firearm would be considered abandoned property. Much like a 13" b&w TV or 8-track player the tenant left behind.

So, is the gun a POS or is it a reputable firearm?!? Inquiring minds want to know!

RoostRider
July 21, 2009, 10:21 PM
Its probably a POS..... lol.... a Llama .380 he says..... never heard of it before...

Anyone know about the laws in MN regarding this issue?

thebaldguy
July 21, 2009, 11:13 PM
If you contact the authorities, I'm pretty sure they will tell you to bring it in. It could be legimately misplaced, stolen, or even used in a crime. I don't think that "finders keepers" legally applies to firerms. A call to a lawyer may be in order..

Having an illegal firearm in Minnesota is frowned upon. Really frowned upon. If this firearm was used in a crime, and it's in your hands now, you may have some explaining to do.

I'd call the authorities and find out what to do. I would turn it in if asked.

MovedWest
July 22, 2009, 01:07 AM
Llama isn't a bad firearm, just not popular. If it's in good shape it might be worth keeping, but consider the original owner has reported it stolen. If that's the case it's considered a stolen firearm - and you DON'T want to have it found in your possession. I'd call an attorney if you think it's worth it. If the weapon is in good shape consider it worth about $300-350.

-MW

RoostRider
July 22, 2009, 03:52 AM
Do firearms fall under different rules for abandoned property?

Everything else in the pile was clearly abandoned.....

I got a chance to look at it today.

I think it is highly unlikely that this gun was used in a crime (but how would you know about any gun you bought on the private market either?).... it was found in an area only frequented by people in the building... it was unloaded in a case with 2 completely full magazines, the magazines had obviously been loaded a long time (the top rounds were tarnished, less and less the deeper in the magazine they were)...

I think the police would gladly come and take it..... and no one he knows would ever see it again...

Is there a way to 'run' a firearm without surrendering it to the police?

I researched it and it seems to be one made in the 30'-50's and worth about $200-$300.... a 'mini' 1911.... kinda cool...

THE DARK KNIGHT
July 22, 2009, 04:06 AM
Just call the police, tell them the situation, and go turn it in. $200-300 is not worth the tons of trouble the gun could turn out to be.

TheFallGuy
July 22, 2009, 04:20 AM
I would say a lawyer is in order, but that would quickly cost more then to legally acquire the same gun. Bring it to the cops. Have them run it. They may take it. They may not. The last time I had to deal with abandoned property (no a firearm) I was told that I had to place an ad in a local paper with a circulation of 500 or more for 2 weeks. If no one called, it was mine. However police departments like to keep and destroy guns so good luck.

Of course you could go the illegal route and cross your fingers but again a lawyer will cost more then the gun is worth.

Rmeju
July 22, 2009, 07:11 AM
If you're primarily concerned with keeping the gun, or you want to keep it but stay out of trouble I would talk to a lawyer. I don't know what that will cost in your area.

If you're only interested in staying out of trouble, call the police. Do so with the understanding that they are not lawyers, may not be your friend, and will not necessarily do what is in your best interest. Be aware that a great many of them are just as confused as we are as to the technicalities of what should legally be done in a situation such as this and that there is a good chance that if you ask them, they will do what's simplest for them and tell you to turn it in, quite possibly without ever returning it to you even if they run it and it were to come back clean.

I do not dispariage the police for this, but individual officers vary widely on both knowledge and attitudes about firearms but you should be aware that you don't know which variety will be answering the other line.

Futhermore, and this is important, just because an officer tells you there's no need to turn it in, or if they run it and don't get any hits, you should not consider those responses from the police as free passes in the future if any trouble were to ever come up. This makes the 'just turn it in' option something to consider.

Hope that helps you come to a decision!

M36
July 22, 2009, 10:50 AM
Just call the police, tell them the situation, and go turn it in. $200-300 is not worth the tons of trouble the gun could turn out to be.

I second this. Just because fate as delivered a free handgun into your life does not mean you should keep it as a gift.

It may have come from one of your unknown neighbors houses or at the most, was used in a crime such as a homicide, which may be a long shot, but you don't know.

If it is stolen at the minimum you are taking your chances of being caught with a stolen handgun.

It all boils down to doing the right thing.

BTW, check the MN theft statute for something like not reporting something that is lost or misplaced.

kd7nqb
July 22, 2009, 11:18 AM
Assuming that your state is like Oregon, most gun shops will run a stolen gun check through the same system they run 4473 checks. Of course if it comes back stolen you gotta turn it in.

theotherwaldo
July 22, 2009, 11:26 AM
I've checked with the police about a number of found firearms over the years. I just tell them that I've come into possession of (type of firearm) and I want to make sure that it's not stolen. I tell them the serial number, they tell me that they'll get back to me if anything comes up, and that's the last that I've heard from them.

Even in the cases where I've found the owner and returned the gun!

countertop
July 22, 2009, 11:32 AM
I've checked with the police about a number of found firearms over the years. I just tell them that I've come into possession of (type of firearm) and I want to make sure that it's not stolen. I tell them the serial number, they tell me that they'll get back to me if anything comes up, and that's the last that I've heard from them.

Thats what i would do. I'd call in the serial number and see if its stolen, etc.

If not, I'd consider it lost and/or abandoned. Maybe hold it and put up a notice that a gun was found and if someone lost it (and can describe it) to have them call your friend.

Otherwise, finders keepers

HoosierQ
July 22, 2009, 11:33 AM
You really have got to wonder why someone would abandon what sounds like a halfway decent gun. If you found it in the woods or in a trash can or at the bottom of a lake, you really ought to wonder.

Anyway, given the circumstances as I understand them, somebody didn't want the thing. Why not? About the only reason that I can think of that would mean no trouble for you would be a widow who didn't want her husband's legal gun, had nobody she cared/trusted to give it to, and maybe trusted/liked her neighbors enough that she hoped one of them would be responsible owners, appreciate it, and give it a good home. How likely would that be?

CoRoMo
July 22, 2009, 11:40 AM
Is there a way to 'run' a firearm without surrendering it to the police?

Yes. When you pawn a gun, the pawn shop would obviously want to know if the gun is stolen or not. Call a pawn shop and ask them if they'll run the serial number of the gun. They don't need to be told the whole story of finding the gun because chances are they've been asked to do this when private individuals buy guns through FTF transactions.

That is what I would do. I think it is silly to be afraid of a gun you/your friend honestly found abandoned. Those who'd run full sprint to the nearest LEO and shed the new found pistol, seem fearfully reactionary to me. There's no reason not to try and track the serial number to clear the gun because then it just might become your own. This site contains dozens upon dozens of posts by members who've done exactly that after finding a gun. People lose, forget about, and arbitrarily abandon guns. It happens. If it turns out to be stolen, get rid of it. If it is too cheap to keep, sell it. Just don't get rid of it because your too afraid to do a little research.

hvengel
July 22, 2009, 01:20 PM
Also in most states a gun is like any other property. If you find something of value (think a bag full of money for example) what are you required to do? In most states you turn the found property over to the police and they check to see if it matches anything reported stolen or lost. They keep it for a specified time (on the order of 90 days) to see if anyone claims it and if not you become the rightful owner of the found property. At least this is what most states require for property found in a public location. But the gun in this case was not found in a public location since it was found place only accessible to people living in the apartment complex. I am not sure if this changes what needs to be done.

zxcvbob
July 22, 2009, 01:26 PM
Ownership of gun should revert to the apartment complex owner, once the police establish that the gun is not stolen and it truly is abandoned. I suspect once the police have it, they will destroy it (if it was not stolen) rather than give it back.

CoRoMo
July 22, 2009, 01:37 PM
I suspect once the Minnesota police have it, they will destroy it (if whether or not it was not stolen) rather than give it back.

Why have the police research it if someone else could do that without taking it out of your possession?

Loanshark
July 22, 2009, 01:48 PM
I would have a FFL run the ser#. If it comes back clean I would run an add in the paper. If no one steps forward I might do some homework on the legalities. Or I might just keep records of my efforts and the gun. I'd probably sell it at the gunshow, and put the cash towards something else.

This is just what I might do. It could get you in trouble, so don't blame me if you do the same and get pinched.

Loanshark
July 22, 2009, 01:50 PM
If the ser# comes back stolen, or the like. Off to the popo it goes!

RoostRider
July 22, 2009, 04:14 PM
Thanks for all the advice guys..... I agree that the police probably don't have a 'routine' for this that will allow him to keep the gun.... I had a pretty hard time recovering my own gun, registered to me, that they took from me after a legal self defense shooting... even after the DA told them to give it back to me....

Let me make this clear... If I had good reason to believe the gun was stolen or used in a crime and dumped I would advise him to give it to the police (perhaps anonymously).....

The problem here is that he has very little reason to believe something like that.... It seems highly unlikely that a gun used in a crime would be placed into a case with 2 magazines and left under a pile of leftover tenant junk in a security apartment building...

If he found it in a river or something.... well, yeah, that might seem likely.... but I would guess that the gun was left by a tenant who didn't want it, just like all the other junk in the pile... He was employed to 'throw away' that pile of junk, and told that he could keep anything if he wanted it.... if it were something other than a gun I would question why someone would just dump something valuable like that, but there are plenty of people who just wouldn't know what to safely do with a gun or what it was worth and be unwilling to 'ask around' about it...

Given his building (inner city, mostly single middle class 20-30 year olds), the conditions, and the gun in question, my guess would be a girl whos dad/boyfriend gave her a gun when she moved into 'the big city'.... she never used it, never understood why she should have it, perhaps a little scared of it, kept it in her storage locker, went to move and just decided to dump it....

He has no desire to give the police a gun that could rightfully be kept, and I wouldn't want to advise that.... He is not into guns at all, but he's not the kind of fool to give away valuables either...

I think I will look around on his behalf and see if I can have the gun checked out without bringing it in.... keeping records of the search for the rightful owner is a great idea....

I understand that this is just net advice, but I think it was all good advice, even though some of it contradicts others take on it....

Glad I asked you guys.....

Any other ideas are welcome (some great ones here).... and if anyone could quote me statute pertaining to this that would be great....

OurSafeHome.net
July 22, 2009, 04:29 PM
I had a pretty hard time recovering my own gun, registered to me, that they took from me after a legal self defense shooting... even after the DA told them to give it back to me....

Do tell!

jimmyraythomason
July 22, 2009, 04:50 PM
If you turn it over to LE,consider it theirs and move on. The chances of you ever getting it back ain't in your favor.

RoostRider
July 22, 2009, 05:32 PM
The short of it- My house was being robbed and I used this gun to defend myself and my family from the intruder. The police took the gun as evidence and logged it as so. The burglar was caught after fleeing. I testified against him in court. He sentenced to prison for 14(?) years (was on parole for manslaughter at the time.... reduced from murder in plea)....

I spent months writing letters and getting 'permission' to get my gun back after the trial (no more need for 'evidence').... including talking to just about every cop on the force, permission from the chief of police and the DA in writing to return the weapon... it was finally returned to me after being 'tested', 'cataloged', 'printed' and all the ammo kept by the police.... (of course I still had to go get it from the department and it was covered in finger print dust)

I was told by a long time vetran of the force, who happened to be the lead detective in the case, that he had never seen a gun returned in all his time on the force (St Paul PD)... but even he told them to give me back my gun..... in fact, I think he was likely the one that 'got it done' so to speak...

So yeah, I seriously doubt they would return this gun, no matter what.... at least without a LOT of hassle...

pharmer
July 22, 2009, 06:04 PM
In the projects, everyone knows where the "public" gun is. Take it and use it, put it back. Could be what he found. Joe

CoRoMo
July 22, 2009, 06:22 PM
If I were a betting man, I'd place a dollar to your dime that the gun was not stolen or involved in a crime; simply based on the way it was found and what was with it.

Of course, if the previous owner completely forgot where they last left it, they may have reported it stolen just because they really have no idea what happened to it.

If you ever have the final notes to this gun's history, please post back here when your friend finds out all the info.

leadcounsel
July 22, 2009, 06:25 PM
The circumstances surrounding the location and storage of the gun bring serious question to the nature of the firearm. I can think of no legitimate reason for the gun to be stored there.

First, the gun is of relatively low 'street' value and hence common type and caliber among thugs (or at least that's my opinion). One also found in low income areas, probably owned by a small statured person that owns 1 or few handguns (kept it in the case, under his/her bed or in her closet). A novice owned it because there are two loaded magazines, but the gun was empty.
Probably about $100 on the street. Found unloaded with 2 full magazines, all in the case.

The most likely answer is that someones' home was burgled and this gun was the 'loot' found under some unlucky person's bed, or in her/his closet, etc. The thief put the gun here until he could find a buyer because he doesn't want to get caught with a gun, and a hot one at that. And your friend found it.

Maybe the victim was unharmed, or maybe strangled. We don't know. Maybe the victim came home and reported the gun stolen. Maybe she has insurance or maybe not. Maybe the gun will be replaced, or the person can't afford to replace it.

But the handgun has nearly no value, maybe a couple hundred bucks tops.

The greedy thing to do would be to keep the weapon without running any checks. Bad karma.

The semi-ethical thing is to run the checks through NICS using a FFL to see if it's hot. If it's not hot, keep it.

The ethical thing is to contact the police and explain the situation and get them to agree to turn it over to your friend if after a reasonable waiting period nobody claims it.

The friend may also inquire as to whether there have been any breakins in the area - although that may be a wild goose chase in some neighborhoods.

Also, keep in mind there is someone that probably stole it and may come looking for it and your friend may be a likely target because he works there as the maintenance guy.

RoostRider
July 22, 2009, 06:42 PM
In the projects, everyone knows where the "public" gun is. Take it and use it, put it back. Could be what he found. Joe

Not likely, considering it was behind the locked security door of the building, through the locked laundry room door, and then through the locked storage area door, under a pile of junk left by former tenants.... pretty hard to get access to on any regular basis...

It is the inner city, and it is possible that it is stolen or used in a crime (city or not), however unlikely (based on it's location)... I could see a former tenant leaving it behind because he knew it was hot perhaps.... but not just some criminal breaking through 3 locked doors to stash a hot gun in a secure place where it is likely to be found by a tenant of the building and unlikely to be recovered easily...

It is clearly going to require a little more thought.... thanks again for all the input.... you guys have some really good thoughts on it.... some I hadn't even considered.... the one place where net advice is useful... lol.... when you want a lot of speculation....

send2r
July 22, 2009, 07:21 PM
true story

the guy is a carpet installer and is friends with his landlord he was asked to put carpet in one of the units in his building when the tenant moved out. this was good for a months rent so the guy always did this for his landlord. as usual when the tenant left he would go check the place out anything that was left was his for the taking. well he. after 3 years of doing this he had found just about everything under the sun and i mean Everything there are some sick people out there. any way the day comes he finds a ruger 44 black hawk it was a presentation piece for something i don't remember . any way he calls the landlord and ask about it. the landlord an old guy says help yourself. the landlord still had his service pistol from Korea. he did not need another weapon in the house. the carpet guy called the sheriff's department said asked if the gun was stolen. the cops said no it was not on the list of stolen guns. so the carpet installer wants to trade the firearm for a loran for his boat. so he meets a guy at the marina who is willing to make a trade. the guy at the marina decides he does not want to trade so the carpet installer gets in his car and drives back across town on the way he gets ambushed by the cops who charge the carpet installer with possession of a stolen firearm.after doing 30 months in the state prison. he gets out with a criminal record and a loss of his civil rights

it is now 25 years later last year his right to vote was restored and he has applied to get his right to own a firearm restored. that carpet installer was me . now i was not an angle before or after but that whole thing sucked.
you can take what you want from this but rest assured it is all true there are Court documents to back it all up.
true story

HKUSP45C
July 22, 2009, 10:58 PM
true story

the guy is a carpet installer and is friends with his landlord he was asked to put carpet in one of the units in his building when the tenant moved out. this was good for a months rent so the guy always did this for his landlord. as usual when the tenant left he would go check the place out anything that was left was his for the taking. well he. after 3 years of doing this he had found just about everything under the sun and i mean Everything there are some sick people out there. any way the day comes he finds a ruger 44 black hawk it was a presentation piece for something i don't remember . any way he calls the landlord and ask about it. the landlord an old guy says help yourself. the landlord still had his service pistol from Korea. he did not need another weapon in the house. the carpet guy called the sheriff's department said asked if the gun was stolen. the cops said no it was not on the list of stolen guns. so the carpet installer wants to trade the firearm for a loran for his boat. so he meets a guy at the marina who is willing to make a trade. the guy at the marina decides he does not want to trade so the carpet installer gets in his car and drives back across town on the way he gets ambushed by the cops who charge the carpet installer with possession of a stolen firearm.after doing 30 months in the state prison. he gets out with a criminal record and a loss of his civil rights

it is now 25 years later last year his right to vote was restored and he has applied to get his right to own a firearm restored. that carpet installer was me . now i was not an angle before or after but that whole thing sucked.
you can take what you want from this but rest assured it is all true there are Court documents to back it all up.
true story

What state was this in?

RoostRider
July 22, 2009, 11:12 PM
send2r- If your point is that it doesn't matter who you ask about it, they could be wrong and you could get tagged with a very serious crime, the point is well taken.... thanks for telling your story as it relates....

BettyFM
July 22, 2009, 11:31 PM
WHY are PDs so reluctant to return legitimately owned firearms to law-abiding citizens? I had two revolvers stolen by a burglar some years back. One was recovered, held as "evidence" for 18 months, and then I was asked to jump though all kinds of hoops to get the gun returned to me. I only finally got it back because the detective working the case saw that I was being jerked around, and stuck his neck out a bit in returning it to me. I asked at the time how often they returned firearms and he said they were usually just destroyed.

Question is WHY? I don't get it.

Sorry to be a little off topic.

jimmyraythomason
July 22, 2009, 11:49 PM
I was told by 3 Birmingham Police Officers ,when my Ruger P90 was stolen out of my truck,that even if it was recovered that I would not get it back because "we don't give guns back".

send2r
July 23, 2009, 12:03 AM
this happened in Florida, the cops around here are not sure if moonshine is legal on not so its a little crazy. i also found out that a roa is illegal for convicted felon but a 1858 Remington replica is legal. but the cops don't know what is what its very scary. you really need to know the law and if you don't know you need to look it up. in Florida, a bow and arrow and a spear gun are considered fire arms and a pietta 1858 Remington is not. i suppose they can all kill you just as dead, but the roa is the most fun to shoot. or so i am told

RoostRider
July 23, 2009, 05:39 AM
WHY are PDs so reluctant to return legitimately owned firearms to law-abiding citizens?

I think it might be because they are afraid of the media frenzy if they give back a gun that is used later in a crime, or to someone who shouldn't have it....

hydraulicman
August 3, 2009, 08:33 PM
yikes i would not want that pistol

glock36
August 4, 2009, 12:04 AM
You could always google the serial # and see what comes up
I have done this with one of my firearms and the result was make and model
not sure if there is more it would tell but worth a try. Good luck

IdahoLT1
August 4, 2009, 12:17 AM
I can tell you first hand that it sucks to lose a firearm or have it stolen. That said, i would turn it in to the authorities. It might be a gun used in a crime, but at the very least, it will make a gun owner very happy to see his property returned to him. Ive always believed in Karma.

withdrawn34
August 4, 2009, 12:24 AM
Is there blood on the muzzle? I kid.

I'd be careful. Maybe it wasn't as innocently "lost" as it appears. You nor your friend has any idea what the history of the gun is. The serial number may already be reported as lost, stolen, or perhaps on a crime report for some crime.

The "right" thing to do would be to give it over to LE. I have no idea what the police in that area is like, but mostly likely, that will be the last time you ever see it. Sorry man.

hvengel
August 4, 2009, 11:32 AM
The serial number may already be reported as lost, stolen, or perhaps on a crime report for some crime.

Even worse there might be a bullet and/or casing from this gun sitting in an evidence locker related to a crime committed with the gun. If someone is found to have such a gun they will have lots of explaining to do.

CoRoMo
August 4, 2009, 12:44 PM
so the carpet installer wants to trade the firearm for a loran for his boat. so he meets a guy at the marina who is willing to make a trade. the guy at the marina decides he does not want to trade so the carpet installer gets in his car and drives back across town on the way he gets ambushed by the cops who charge the carpet installer with possession of a stolen firearm

Something major is missing in these statements.

Where did the authorities get the idea that the handgun was stolen?
You attempt to make a private transaction and somehow the cops instantly swarm you?
You weren't able to use the inquiry with the sheriff in your defense?

I'm not calling BS on you, but without further info, it just doesn't smell pretty IMHO.

rainbowbob
August 4, 2009, 01:43 PM
Isn't ANY firearm that you don't know the history of as likely to be stolen as the one in question here?

Does everyone here suggesting it be turned in to the police run a stolen firearm check before completing a private purchase?

Yellowfin
August 4, 2009, 03:10 PM
It very well might be someone's pocket gun and it casually fell out. Is there an anonymous way to inquire about SN's so if it's not stolen or used in a crime you don't have to give it up?

rainbowbob
August 4, 2009, 05:29 PM
It very well might be someone's pocket gun and it casually fell out.

From the OP:
...a .380 handgun, unloaded, in a case, with 2 magazines completely full of ammunition...

CoRoMo
August 4, 2009, 05:53 PM
Two weeks later, I wonder if Roost has gotten anywhere with this pistol's history.

send2r
August 4, 2009, 05:55 PM
i can only answer one of your questions that one is the last the records of all recordings are kept for two weeks it took a little longer time asking around for someone to take it in trade i was going to keep it but really wanted a loran for my boat more. i lived 30minutes from the sea buoy out side the east pass in destin. spent every spare minute fishing in the gulf of mexico. the guy at the marina was someone the guy from the bait shop gave me his number i called him and arranged a meeting between his schedule and mine it took a few days any way he was an off-duty policeman. plus i am trading a 400.00 gun for a two hundred dollar loran. remember the gun was free to me and i really wasn't in to shooting but fishing at the time.

Jim K
August 4, 2009, 06:50 PM
I have to rate this whole thread as a bunch of crud. If you find a gun and don't know to whom it belongs or there is no obvious place to turn it in (such as a range officer if a gun was left on the range), turn it in to the police. In fact, it is better not to even touch it, simply call the police to come and get it. If it turns out to be a crime gun, you don't want your prints all over it. Try to get a receipt from the police; in some states it would be like any other found item, and would be yours if no one claims it. In other states, it would be illegal to even pick it up as you would then be "in possession" without the proper papers.

Jim

rbernie
August 4, 2009, 06:52 PM
I can see no value in keeping it open.

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