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How can I check a serial number to see who owns a pistol?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Smiley, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. Smiley

    Smiley Well-Known Member

    Is there any way to check a serial number against who owns a pistol? I hope not since that seems like a lot of info to be able to get on someone however I am intersted in to see if there is a service (maybe online) and what it would say about me.
  2. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Well-Known Member

    Guns are not registered in the United States ... and its against the law (1986 FOPA) for the Federal Government to maintain a registry or list of gun owners.

    So there really isn't a single repository of firearm serial numbers cross referenced with names.

    Is Connecticut one of those states that registers guns? If so the state AG's office might have that information available.
  3. Steelharp

    Steelharp Well-Known Member

    Well... find out from the manufacturer what distributor they shipped it to, check with the distributor to find out what FFL it was delivered to, then check with the FFL. They should have the buyer logged in their book. That will get you to the original purchaser, anyway.
  4. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    If the pistol was reported stolen and the serial number put on the national crime computer data base the police would find the owner for you, and take the pistol too. A firearm is one thing (along with an automobile) you can get back if the police recover it, other valuables, even if you have the serial numbers will not be returned in my experience, esp. if they've crossed state lines.
  5. Mizzle187

    Mizzle187 Well-Known Member

    This gets back to the topic where a national database where you can check SN#'s to see if a gun is hot might come in handy. Im not for or against that just saying.
  6. roscoe

    roscoe Well-Known Member

    As long as the serial numbers were only for stolen guns, OK. And those numbers were removed when the guns were returned to thir owners.
  7. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Well-Known Member

  8. isp2605

    isp2605 Well-Known Member

    "As long as the serial numbers were only for stolen guns, OK. And those numbers were removed when the guns were returned to thir owners."

    Already have that, and have had that since the late 60s. NCIC. Entry is removed as soon as the stolen gun is recovered.
    If something stolen has a unique, identifiable number it can be entered into NCIC. You just have to make sure you have the serial number some place so it can be entered.
  9. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Well-Known Member

    Stolen goods including guns are listed on the
    NCIC system maintained by FBi since the 1970s.
    That's stolen or "hot" guns only.

    Some dealers check used guns against the NCIC.

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    Well my 3 stolen pistols weren't recovered and I recived word that they were being removed from NCIC list after 6 mo.That they didn't keep on file after that time.
  11. isp2605

    isp2605 Well-Known Member

    "they were being removed from NCIC list after 6 mo.That they didn't keep on file after that time."

    That sure isn't NCIC policy. They'll stay in there forever if the PD just keeps the update which doesn't take much effort. We've recovered guns that have been in NCIC 25+ yrs. One of our guys had a 2.5" Mod 19 stolen from his house in the early 70s. It was just recovered and he got it back, a bit worse for wear, but still functional.
  12. gewehr44

    gewehr44 Well-Known Member

    In CT, the law currently requires State Form DPS-3-C to be filled out whenever a pistol is transferred from dealer to permit holder as well as private sales permit holder to permit holder. Copies of the form are sent to the Dept. of Public Safety (state police) as well as the local police in the town of the purchaser. There is a toll-free number that is called to get a transaction # to put on the form.

    So yes, CT knows who all the 'legal' pistol owners are in the state & what they have. Pistols owned prior to '93 are not in the database (assuming it's computerized, which it may not be). Most dealers also insist on filling out the form for long arms as well, even though it is not required. Apparently, the DPS scares them enough that they don't want to take the chance. :mad:

    Oh, forgot one portion of your question. There is no way for a civilian to check that database, AFAIK. I believe it's only for government use.
  13. Malapai

    Malapai Well-Known Member

    I have had two pistols stolen from me a few years ago. How do I check to be sure they are still in the NCIC?
  14. gewehr44

    gewehr44 Well-Known Member

    If you know the serial #'s, ask a cop to check for you.
  15. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    A manufacturer, distributor or dealer will NOT (or at least should not) provide trace information to anyone but BATFE. Even LE has to go through BATFE to trace guns to the purchaser.

    A number of states have registration, although some call it background check or something else. (MD has a state police "check" that actually involves registration.) AFAIK, those registration and stolen gun lists are accessible only by police and federal agents. They are not public records and we would not want them to be (police access is bad enough, as corrupt police have been known to sell information).

    A nice list of firearms and their owners would be a great prize for thieves.

  16. deputydon

    deputydon Active Member

    I had some guns stolen in '89. Local PD calls about every 5 years to see if
    they have been recovered or are still missing. In fact they called last month to see if they should still be on NCIC. I got one rifle back in about '92... nothing since. :mad: -Don
  17. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Well-Known Member


    1. Stolen and lost gun records will remain on file until action is taken by the originating agency to clear or cancel the record.

    2. Recovered guns will remain on file for the remainder of the year entered plus 2 years.


    A portion of the Gun File records will be validated monthly as described in the Validation schedule in blah blah blah.... each gun record that has not been validated within the last 90 days and has a Date of Validate Request older than 30 days will automatically be retired.

    Basically what all this says is that a gun can only be removed from NCIC 1) by the agency that entered it when it is recovered and 2) automatically if NCIC has sent a message to the agency and they didn't do their job by responding in a timely manner. Michael T, I'd take up your problem with the agency and with the FBI if you have to, there's no good reason that your guns should have been removed from NCIC after 6 months.
  18. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...Guns are not registered in the United States...and its against the law..." Tell that to your ATF. All those required ATF forms is defacto registration. That's how they knew where and by whom a .223 rifle had been purchased when those criminals were shooting up the DC area.
  19. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Well-Known Member

    I believe the rifle you are referring to was stolen from the dealer. It was traced (after it was recovered) by asking the manufacturer who they shipped it to. The distributor was asked who they sold it to and finally the dealer was asked who they sold it to (but it was determined to be stolen).

    If the rifle had been sold in a face-to-face transaction (legal in many states) sometime after it legally was sold by a dealer, it is likely that the trail would have gone cold there because would be no paper trail. The ATF paper trail stops at the first buyer. State requirements may mandate some sort of record keeping at subsequent sales but not the ATF.
  20. MadMercS55

    MadMercS55 Well-Known Member

    I have worked an NCIC\Clean terminal for many years. I'm in PA mind you, so this may very from state to state. But here you can run the gun's serial number and get back current owner's info, date\location of purchase, etc. Same goes when running a person for current firearms ownership. You can generally see all the weapons owned by the particular person. Sometimes there are gaps and lack of record updates though, so it isn't perfect. This is for handguns though, not rifles.

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