Hypothetical: Finding a gun?


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anapex
August 17, 2004, 06:34 PM
Ok so I'm sitting here at work not thinking about work but thinking about the flower bed I get to dig up over the weekend and then my brain mixed the flower bed and guns together. So I was thinking what would I do if when digging I dug up a gun. If it was sans serial number I would probably turn it in but if it still had the serial and was in somewhat decent shape and could be cleaned up... well it'd be a hard choice. What would everyone here do? What kind of laws might there be to govern this kind of situation? For discussion sake let's make it finding a gun anywhere (IE: along side the road, in a wall in your house, on your property somehow but not in a house).

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SLCDave
August 17, 2004, 06:42 PM
I'd say "Cool! New gun!"

Jack T.
August 17, 2004, 07:02 PM
1++;

5ptdeerhunter
August 17, 2004, 07:07 PM
When my parents first bought a house together back in like 1982 or so. My dad found a handgun in the attic. And since I wasn't born yet his interest in guns wasn't all the much so he took it to the police department and turned it in. And that was it. But if I found a gun I would like to keep it.

Daniel964
August 17, 2004, 07:10 PM
I'd say "Cool! New gun!" My thoughts exactly ! !

gbelleh
August 17, 2004, 07:14 PM
Is there some way to find out if it's stolen without asking the cops?

It depends...if I found it in my attic, I'd probably keep it. If it was along the side of the road, I'd be more likely to turn it in.

Average Guy
August 17, 2004, 07:18 PM
I believe I would make some discreet inquiries first, just to be sure it's not the weapon that will break some big case wide open.

I keep asking my wife, a police officer, when she's going to start bringing home some fun toys for me. :evil:

Standing Wolf
August 17, 2004, 08:04 PM
I'd feel nervous about it unless I could be sure it hadn't been stolen.

Tharg
August 17, 2004, 08:14 PM
know a guy who found 3 or 4 guns when fishing (talk about a catch!) the one he kept was a colt single action in 45LC - his brother kept the others. So far as i know - it doesn't have serial or anything on it.. in fact it looks pretty dang rough (it was at the bottom of a river) - but shoots just fine.

I don't see him turning it in....

heh

J/Tharg!

jdkelly
August 17, 2004, 08:23 PM
Yea that's what I'd want, a gun with no known history.

Respectfully,

jdkelly

jcrb
August 17, 2004, 10:07 PM
What percent of working guns that you could find in the woods, or buried your flower bed do you think were lost and what percent were disposed of?

I wouldn't want to discover years later after some minor problem that resulted in the police having a look through my guns that I was in possession of a murder weapon.

Only problem is if you turn it in and it is hot you better hope that the local police like you because its a sure bet you will be number one suspect unless its immediately obvious you couldn't be.

Joey2
August 17, 2004, 10:19 PM
I have found a hand gun, an Ivers Johnson .32 "owls head", I kept it and had it for about 10 yrs. I came from a small town so I made inquires and nobody knew anything about it so I kept it.

Moving around with the USMC somewhere along the line it got stolen.

Back to the subject, yes I would keep a gun if I found it today in a heart beat. That is provided I did not know who the owner was.'

WhiteKnight
August 17, 2004, 10:21 PM
Only problem is if you turn it in and it is hot you better hope that the local police like you because its a sure bet you will be number one suspect unless its immediately obvious you couldn't be.

That doesn't make one bit of sense. :uhoh:

Here officer, I've got a gun I used to kill... *cough* I meant I found in my flowerbed.

:rolleyes:

Would simply turning in the gun not qualify you as "immediately obviously" not the murderer? Then again, I have seen some mindboggling criminals on TV's Dumbest Criminals show.

Combat-wombat
August 17, 2004, 10:33 PM
Y'know, It's really weird you should bring that up, because I was just thinking about that- What I'd probably do, because there is a somewhat high likelyhood of it being a crime weapon, is take it, clean it, make sure it's operational, etc... And then take it to the woods or somewhere remote, and waterproof/bury it. Throughout all this, I'd be sure to keep my fingerprints off of the gun. Hey- I wouldn't want to just give up a gun, but I don't want to have it in my posession and have it turn out to be some criminal's disposed weapon.

whm1974
August 17, 2004, 10:35 PM
Would simply turning in the gun not qualify you as "immediately obviously" not the murderer? Then again, I have seen some mindboggling criminals on TV's Dumbest Criminals show.

Guns used in crimes have been turn in during gun buyback or dropped in those boxes some citys have so people can turn in guns.

-Bill

RJ357
August 17, 2004, 10:48 PM
Would simply turning in the gun not qualify you as "immediately obviously" not the murderer? It is not unusual for perpertrators to report the crime, find a body, etc. There must be many naive criminals that believe this will draw suspision away from themselves.

P5 Guy
August 17, 2004, 11:30 PM
I'd take it to the next "no questions asked" gun buy back.

WilderBill
August 18, 2004, 12:07 AM
Yep, I've wondered about that, too.
Part of me would want to just keep it. Reasoning being that someone didn't want it bad enough to hang onto it, I found it, I'll take better care of it.
Then again, if it were stolen and the thief decided to just dump it and not risk being caught with it in his posession, I think I'd like to see it go back to it's owner.
On the other (third hand?), if it were used in a crime, I think I'd rather not have it and try to explain that, yes, it does have my prints all over it, but I just found it...really.
I suppose a lot would have to do with what it was, where it was, how did I feel about it that day, etc.

Sunray
August 18, 2004, 12:36 AM
"...Is there some way to find out if it's stolen without asking the cops?..." Nope. If you find a stolen firearm and keep it, you are guilty of being in possession of stolen property. If it was used in a crime, you could be charged with that crime. It also means that its legal owner won't get his property back.
"...And then take it to the woods or somewhere remote, and waterproof/bury it..." Hence becoming a partner is whatever crime in which it may have been used. Makes you as guilty as the original criminal.
If you find any firearm, leave it where it is and call the cops. You might just be helping them solve the murder of some kid.
You really think losing ALL your firearms and your right to more is a good idea?

oldfart
August 18, 2004, 01:15 AM
"You really think losing ALL your firearms and your right to more is a good idea?"

It'll happen anyway, sooner or later. Having one or more safely stored away might be very good life insurance. I know people who have large collections of guns, old and new. Almost all of the guns are documented but there are always a few that have no paper trail. If I suggest the owner might be a bit paranoid he just shrugs his shoulders and looks away...

jsalcedo
August 18, 2004, 01:33 AM
I found an old shotgun, cleaned it up and kept it.

I don't think my 1921 break open .410 was used in any crimes.

No serial number (too old) no rifling (smoothbore) It's probably safe.

Red Dragon
August 18, 2004, 01:40 AM
Depending on where I found the weapon, and what kind it was, I would probably copy the serial number down and bring the serial number in to the police to have them run it. There are some circumstances though (i.e. antiques, curio and relic) type of weapons that, when found, it becomes fairly obvious that they aren't stolen or crime weapons, unless the crime was 100 years ago and if thats the case, it doesn't really matter. Cold cases usually don't go back that far. I remember when a friend of mine was helping one of his co-workers fix up an old house and when they busted down a wall, they came across an old revolver that was used by the "regulators" who were hired to come in and control the copper miners when they went on strike in the early 20th century. He cleaned it up and gave it to my brother's father-in-law, a guy who happens to be a police officer and also an avid gun collector. The revolver is now part of that collection. I have heard of the most weapons that are found being war trophies, so I would go through some hoops first, but probably keep the weapon.

Andrew Rothman
August 18, 2004, 01:40 AM
Could you live with yourself if you kept it, it turned out to be the key to solving a crime?

I am sure as heck not a lawyer, but it turns out that "Finders, keepers" is not entirely different from common law.

http://www.artcellarexchange.com/artlaw6.html

Generally, if the true owner cannot be found or is no longer alive, you get to keep what you find. If it's stolen, or evidence in a criminal case, obviously it must be returned to its owner or to the police, respectively.

If you find it on your own property, unless it's stolen-or-evidence, you own it, period. If you find it on another's property, it's his, subject to the same restrictions.

I have no doubt that the local cops will feel otherwise.

While you should be able to tell them you found it, let them check it out, and then keep it if it's not a stolen or crime gun, I'm guessing they'd feel a duty to dispose of it on their own terms.

I guess if I found a gun, I'd call my lawyer, and let her advise me on notifying the police and on protecting my finders-keepers rights.

O.F.Fascist
August 18, 2004, 02:07 AM
If you find a gun wouldnt it work just like if you found anything else.

Turn it in to the lost and found at the police and if no one asks for it in two weeks or so then you get to keep it?

Ian
August 18, 2004, 03:08 AM
It'd depend on the details of the situation. If I found a Lorcin in a bush, then yeah - I'd probably drop it off at the local cop shop. But if I found a .45 Luger in a trunk in the attic, it would go straight to my safe-deposit box. :)

A lady came into the gun shop I worked in last summer with a rusty of thing and an interesting story. She was out hiking, tripped, and fell into a small creek. Her hand came down on something clearly not a rock, and upon inspection is was an old, very rusty revolver. She brought it in, and learned that it was an original Model 3 Schofield. Too far gone to be usable without a LOT of work, so it now resides in a display case.

ENC
August 18, 2004, 03:16 AM
I would make an anonymous call to a police department and ask them to run the serial # if it came back clean I would keep it.

If it came back stolen I would ask for the owners name and address. I would try to return it myself. I am not going to get in any habit of giving weapons in my possesion to LEO'. If I couldn't return the gun it would disapear. One of the perks to having access to a machine shop?

Mixlesplick
August 18, 2004, 03:37 AM
Remember the guy who found marijuana on his property? After reading that I would probably consult an attorney before making any attempt to turn the gun into the police. If I decided to keep it I would find a very good hiding place for it and keep it in reserve for a SHTF situation.

Muzzleflash
August 18, 2004, 05:05 AM
What I'd probably do, because there is a somewhat high likelyhood of it being a crime weapon, is take it, clean it, make sure it's operational, etc... And then take it to the woods or somewhere remote, and waterproof/bury it. Throughout all this, I'd be sure to keep my fingerprints off of the gun. Hey- I wouldn't want to just give up a gun, but I don't want to have it in my posession and have it turn out to be some criminal's disposed weapon.

That's why you turn it into the cops, duh. Unless you like the idea of a critical part of evidence being hidden and a criminal potentially getting away.

jdkelly
August 18, 2004, 08:21 AM
My thoughts on this subject and the actions I'd take are listed below.

If I found a gun I'd report it to local PD so that:

1) An attempt can be made to return it to it's rightful owner. If it's been stolen (or lost) and I keep it without attempting to return it, I'm a theif.

2) The firearm can be checked for use in a crime. If the firearm has been used in a crime and I withhold or destroy this evidence then I'm a criminal.

If after the above actions there is no owner or evidence of a crime found then I would (if I wanted to) attempt to reclaim the firearm with papers from the PD stating stating these facts (to protect myself).

For me, to do less would be wrong.

Respectfully,

jdkelly

ScottsGT
August 18, 2004, 09:31 AM
My brother found one in a night stand at a hotel he check in to one time. He said it was kind of rusty and "didn't trust it's looks" Anotherwords, a responsible person with an absent mind would have taken better care of it. He called the local PD to come pick it up. And he too is a "gun nut" and was afraid of what it might have been used for.

Kharn
August 18, 2004, 09:35 AM
One of my buddies IM'ed me a link to a Thompson that was for sale on SturmGeurwhatever (I cant spell...) a short while back.
It was fished out of a lake/river by a bunch of Boy scouts in the ~50s and amnesty registered in 1968.

The finish was a little pitted and rough (I think it had been reblued without polishing), but the price was pretty low to make up for it. But talk about a story to go with a gun.

Kharn

jobu07
August 18, 2004, 10:05 AM
Years ago my dad put his 30 years in working for UPS. One day, he was delivering a package out in the boonies and low and behold, in the ditch on his way to a house he saw a rifle laying there. He told me he got out, looked at it, foudn it was unloaded, then left it there. He then came back again the next day, delivering another package to the same house. This time he checked and the rifle was still there so he slipped it into the back of his truck. Thing was packed with mud and gunk and dirt and kinda nasty. Turns out it was an nice colt 22 mag single shot rifle. No serial number stamped in it either. He still has it to this day, nearly 20 years later.

Bubbles
August 18, 2004, 12:29 PM
I have heard of the most weapons that are found being war trophies, so I would go through some hoops first, but probably keep the weapon.

Unfortunately a lot of war trophy "bring backs" are class-III firearms. If they were never registered with ATF then they're contraband, as a lot of war widows or their heirs are now discovering when they clean out grandma's attic...

As for what to do with a found gun... it depends on where it was found. If it's in a ditch, I'd call the local LEO's and let them deal with it, simply because I'd lay better than even money that some local gang-banger wanted to get rid of it. If it were in my house or buried on my land... that's different.

Carlos Cabeza
August 18, 2004, 12:56 PM
In another thread I told of finding a glock magazine with live rounds in it. I looked for the weapon for quite some time only because there was a case here in OKC concerning "Murder w/ no weapon". OKCPD had the perp in custody. He killed a man who was washing his car at the carwash. CCTV captured the identity of the assailant who was later captured. Perp told a cellmate he had tossed the gun, celly turned SE and reported the conversation. A massive hunt for the weapon went on and a community lake was even drained but to no avail. The weapon was never found. Due to the savage nature of the attack on the vic, I wanted to see the murderer get what he had coming. :fire: Too bad the vic didn't have his CCW, coulda saved alot of trouble for everybody.

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