serial number check


March 18, 2012, 08:12 PM
Is there any way to check the serial number of a gun to see if its stolen? I come across guns at gun shows id like to buy from privet sellers but id like to know what im buying . I dont want to get in trouble or be out money if somethong turns out to be stolen

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March 18, 2012, 08:16 PM
You can get a cop to run the number through the NCIC database if you ask nice.

But most sellers would take a dim view of you calling a cop to call the Feds to check their honesty.


March 18, 2012, 08:28 PM
Just a hint. Dont buy from a privete seller if you are worried about it. I only buy from dealers that run nics reports so there is paper work saying i bought it so one will say otherwise.

March 18, 2012, 08:52 PM
If you are in FL you can check here:

Otherwise... not so much.

March 18, 2012, 08:58 PM
Been buying and selling and trading guns for nearly forty years. Iíve only bought two new guns in my life and everything else has been private sales, ie, no paperwork. I just donít worry about the provenance of guns. If you buy a used car from an individual do you check if it was used in an armed robbery? Ever bought an antique and researched if itís on a hot sheet? How about power tools? A TV at a garage sale? The whole stolen gun concern is really much ado about not much.

The Lone Haranguer
March 18, 2012, 09:01 PM
The odds are very low. It seems unlikely that anyone would fence a stolen gun at a place where hundreds of people would see him. :p In any event, the database(s) you need to access aren't generally available to private citizens.

March 19, 2012, 01:48 AM
I think it would be a nice feature to have access to. In today's world of smart phones and almost instant internet access, it would be quite easy to look at a gun, go wander off to "think about it" and look up to see if it's hot, and then head back to the table to make the purchase.

But most folks at gun shows are not going to have stolen guns on their table.

March 19, 2012, 10:33 AM
I try to avoid back alley sales and buy from those I know or from classifieds or other more public venues if not from an FFL. I think that eliminates a pretty big chunk of the direct contact with a gun theif but there is always the possibility of the one or more times removed situation in which the police might get a hit if they run your serial number.

March 20, 2012, 01:42 AM
My understanding from several LEOs is that it is unlawful for them to inquire about a serial number for other than official purposes, and in the event they get a positive response on a weapon, they had better be ready to advise the listing agency of the location of the weapon in question. In other words, they need to have it in their possession.

Can someone who is a LEO confirm this? I was told this by two separate LEOs but you never know.

March 20, 2012, 09:56 AM
The above only makes sense but I have seen statements that contradict it. In todays world everything is recorded and documented and my guess is so are gun checks.
Can't think of many LEO that would do this independently with the chance that their query might get a hot response, especially on a regular basis.
If they are doing it as policy I guess the same would hold true.

March 20, 2012, 01:38 PM

March 20, 2012, 11:43 PM
I did ask my officer friend about this once. He said he could run a number for me ...but...he had to have the gun in his hand. If it came up stolen, he HAD to keep it. I would be money out. :fire: And I would looking for the seller!


March 21, 2012, 01:12 AM
Unless they have legal justification brought upon by extremely obvious articulate reasonable suspicion to be investigating the gun as part of their official duties, they are not allowed to use NCIC for personal purposes, such as running a serial number for friends. Now that doesn't necessarily mean they don't do it, but they aren't supposed to. But we all know that cops ALWAYS do what they are supposed to, right? :rolleyes:

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