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Illegal to own a gun without a serial number?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by FIVETWOSEVEN, Dec 30, 2009.

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  1. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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    I heard that you can't own a gun without a serial number on it, i can understand in a state where you have to register your guns but this is NH.

    is it illegal?
     
  2. highorder

    highorder Member

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    Not as far as the Federal government is concerned.

    Many guns made before 1968 do not have serial numbers. If its a post '68 gun and the number has been defaced, that's a problem. If it's granddads .22 from the '30's, you'll be fine.
     
  3. Stophel

    Stophel Member

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    This serial number thing seems to just terrify some people to the point of absolute hysteria. I have read on other boards where someone inherited an old Colt P.P. from his grandfather, and the serial number had been removed, and it just terrified him. He actually destroyed the gun... :banghead:

    Another wanted to buy an old S&W Hand Ejector that had the serial number on the bottom of the grip frame removed and was just totally fear-stricken that the ATF would SOMEHOW find out and bust in his door in the middle of the night...


    For cryin' out loud.

    What they don't know, can't hurt you.
     
  4. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    I don't know about NH, but highorder is right. Older guns won't always have a SN, and if you build a gun yourself, it won't have a SN unless you decide to stamp one on the frame. I've got an old .22 that doesn't seem to have a number as far as I can tell. My dad and brother 'built' their own 1911s, and neither have a SN.
     
  5. jhco

    jhco Member

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    If it was manufactured with no serial number than its legal.
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    But, if it was manufactured after the 1968 GCA with no serial number, then it is not legal.

    rc
     
  7. Stophel

    Stophel Member

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    Guns post 1968 had to be made (sold) with serial numbers. Before then, there was no requirement, HOWEVER, according to the Federales, if it was made (sold) with a serial number, no matter the date, it must retain that serial number. If it has been removed, no matter the date, it is now contraband. But again, why would they have to know?


    And, no, I don't own any of these "contraband" guns...never had the opportunity to acquire one, but honestly, if it was something I wanted, and it wasn't a "psst...hey, buddy...wanna buy a gun?" situation, I don't think it would bother me at all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  8. Oro

    Oro Member

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    Here are a few scenarious that should make one pause and consider that:

    1) Because someone breaks into your home and it's used in self defense. Or secured by officers when they arrive.

    2) Perhaps stolen, then recovered by the police.

    3) You are taking it to a range, get in an automobile accident and end up in an ambulance. Then the car is towed and the items secured.

    There are lots of legitimate scenarios that if one is in possession of an illegal weapon, it can be revealed. The bottom line is not to be in possession of an illegal weapon. If the gun's serial number has been obliterated or altered, you are running a real risk of a serious federal felony charge.
     
  9. wishin

    wishin Member

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    Since some pre-68 guns did have serial numbers, the key is to not have any indication whatsoever of a possible removal. Absent that, something from the manufacturer or a credible source that the gun never had one, I would think. On the other hand, you would expect a reasonable person to surmise that a number was never imprinted.......maybe not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  10. FRJ

    FRJ Member

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    I had a gunsmith that at one time was in possession of a 1911 that had been welded back together after it was cut in half and scraped. The front half was not from the same frame as the rear half and therefore the serial numbers were altered. He got five years in Federal Pen. Lost hundreds of firearms and can never own a firearm again. His solution was a 9mm thru the brain. There are penalties for having altered serial numbers and the ATF is happy to enforce them. FRJ
     
  11. RONSERESURPLUS

    RONSERESURPLUS member

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    Hello all, RON L here

    Yes, I will agree with many here that Stated that many Pre-1968 Firearms did not have a SN# in othjer cases like Home manufactored Guns do not have to have a SN#! The Real Rubber meets the Road at those folks that remove a SN or alter it or try to obiderate it/ The Metod used by Gangsters in the know is to drill out the Digits as any Buffing, Sanding or Milling of the stamped #'s is possible to restore using acid and a buffing agent! Best thing is if you get one of these turn it in or better yet destroy it, as losing your Gun rights, and Voting Rights is hardly worth it! Use your heads folks, Most know whats right and whats wrong and need to act accordingly!

    RON
     
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I have seen pictures of some very neat removals, you would think there had never been a number there.
    The problem is, it is fairly well known which guns had serial numbers and which did not.

    A lot of servicemen, mostly from WW I and WW II, got worrried about the FBI tracking them down for theft of government property and deleted the US Property stamp and serial number from their pilfered service pistols. Some of them did a pretty good job of it. These tend to come down in the family and a grandson finds himself inheriting an unnumbered 1911 or 1917 and starts asking questions on the internet. He gets told that this is a no-no. This leads to a lot of wishful thinking about "Lunchbox Specials" stolen from the factory before the number was applied. This is hard to sustain in the face of final inspector's marks on military weapons.

    A friend of mine worked in a pawn shop that was about 2/3 gun business. He took in a S&W with the serial number filed off the butt. He gave the guy a few bucks and called the cops and Feds as soon as he left the store. My knowledgeable friend showed the lawmen the other serial number locations which meant that the original owner got his stolen gun back and the crook still went to jail for removing the main number.

    Y'all be careful, now, you hear?
     
  13. divemedic

    divemedic Member

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    If I made a gun myself tomorrow, it does not have to have a serno.
     
  14. Stophel

    Stophel Member

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    Not until you sell it.
     
  15. deadin

    deadin Member

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    And pray tell, where did they get an unnumbered frame? Or did they just file one out of a chunk of steel themselves?
     
  16. Kurt_D

    Kurt_D Member

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    If I'm not mistaken there are 80% frames available, just like there are 80% forgings for ARs, flats for AKs or hell anybody with a clue and a CNC. Perfectly legal to complete and build your own firearm.
     
  17. RP88

    RP88 Member

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    as said, post-GCA guns must be serialized.

    However, is it possible to have a gun re-serialized or to restore a partially defaced number? Would there still be legal grey areas regarding that?
     
  18. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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    thats one thing i have been wondering, what if you inherit a gun made after 1968 with a filed number?
     
  19. thebigc

    thebigc Member

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    if the sn if filed restamp it or you can get it acid etched and restamped its going to cost you and the atf will let you restamp no need to get rid of it but pepole only realy file things for shady reasons so you might want to just get rid of the offending item via a torch getting caught with a defaced sn is a crime.

    my state has registration and when you buy something thats so old that it dosent have a sn they just put down no serial number in the box and if the cops check it in the computer it pops up that you have x model gun no sn,
     
  20. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    So I guess you'd be willing to bet your future on not being found out. Sounds like a lousy bet to me. May be long odds of getting caught, but what's at stake is huge.

    Ah well, it's not my problem.

    IMO you've got a serious problem. I would either find a way to turn the gun in or I'd consult a firearms lawyer to confidentially contact the BATF to see if the gun could be issued a new serial number. BATF used to do that sort of thing. I don't know if they still do.

    But I would not engage in conduct which is a federal felony in hopes I don't get caught.
     
  21. evan price

    evan price Member

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    Some guns which might have the main serial number defaced or damaged have the serial number in other places- such as inside the side plate.
    If this is the case, it is perfectly legal to have the correct, assigned serial number re-applied to the frame using letters/numbers at least as big as the originals. You can even move it somewhere else on the frame as long as it is legible and not likely to be damaged or deliberately defaced easily.

    This happens all the time for example when a gunsmith has to polish down a rusty frame and then reblue it. Or a High Power when they checker the front strap.

    Heck, I think BATFE has a procedure for those old war-trophy guns that had the US PROPERTY marks and serials ground off where you can apply for a new serial number.
     
  22. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    Kurt D beat me to the answer. It was a couple 1911 kits that they bought from a dealer out of Arizona. The frames were 60% or 80% finished, I don't remember. They just had to finish some of the machining themselves. Fairly simple process actually because it was just a matter of drilling holes and milling out slots, etc. so that all the parts fit together. Although the bluing is poor and they are not all that attractive otherwise, those two guns operate impressively well. I shoot them every chance I get and am always amazed that those two guys could put these things together in their garage and come out with such well functioning pistols. My dad's is bone stock from the day he finished it, but my brother has continued to improve his bit by bit in a number of areas.

    These type kits are still available today, the last time I looked around for one.
     
  23. Stophel

    Stophel Member

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    Assuming honest sellers (again, no back alley car trunk deals) or a handed down family gun, it's just not something I'd worry about. I quit worrying about such things some time ago. Besides, I'm pretty much ready to go anyway.
     
  24. Bubbles

    Bubbles Member

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    Not necessarily. A Type 07 or 10 FFL (manufacturer) must mark all firearms made with the serial number, manufacturer name, city, state, etc. A non-FFL who makes firearms for personal use and without the intent to sell them doesn't have to put any markings on the gun. These guns can legally be transferred, sold, traded, gifted, inherited, etc.

    There are plenty of non-serialized guns still in circulation. When they come into the shop for transfer we just mark "NSN" for the serial number in the bound book.

    Since posession of such a firearm is a crime (altering or defacing the number is a separate crime), I would strip the parts for re-use, and destroy the receiver.
     
  25. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Some of us might not be "ready to go", so it's a completely different question.
     
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