NICS check; why no serial #/gun check

Not open for further replies.
Mar 25, 2008
The NICS check threads recently have gotten me thinking. NICS checks approve the individual, but the information taken doesn't check the gun (particularly since most FFL's I've dealt with don't take down the serial or make of the gun until after approval). I know that information is kept with the form at the FFL, but it seems to make some sense to me that when a NICS is called in, the "operator" could also have a second database of stolen firearms that could be checked as well...instantly.....and thus really aid law enforcement in tracking stolen guns sold innocently through FFL's.

So why isn't this done...or at least why haven't I seen it discussed? I understand that I, for one, wouldn't want that information kept "on file", but realistically, an instant check on the firearm would carry the same assurances as our NICS data that the information was not being kept centrally as long as it goes through okay. What am I missing, other than the paranoia over whether the records would truly be deleted or not?
Would it be the proper role of federal government to check for stolen guns, or would that instead be within the States' reserved police powers?
Well, new guns are a nonissue.

My understanding is that NCIC regulations require that use of the system be a part of an active criminal investigation and any check requires a department case number assigned.

Used guns are checked _if_ they're pawnshop fodder, but usually against local hotsheets.

My info may be bad, but that the way it was explained to me by a retired dispatcher several months ago.
Considering the government's track record with respect to that sort of thing, do you really want to give Big Brother any more access to our personal business? Rather than tacking something onto the NCIS process, we should be eliminating the damned thing. As has been said many times though, it's here to stay. I doubt any of us wants to give them the serial numbers of whatever guns we have - too many of us do that when we apply for CCW.
Would it be the proper role of federal government to check for stolen guns . . .
Congress sure thought so.

18USC922(i) and (j)

"(i) It shall be unlawful for any person to transport or ship in interstate or foreign commerce, any stolen firearm or stolen ammunition, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the firearm or ammunition was stolen.

(j) It shall be unlawful for any person to receive, possess, conceal, store, barter, sell, or dispose of any stolen firearm or stolen ammunition, or pledge or accept as security for a loan any stolen firearm or stolen ammunition, which is moving as, which is a part of, which constitutes, or which has been shipped or transported in, interstate or foreign commerce, either before or after it was stolen, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the firearm or ammunition was stolen."
Make all the snide remarks you like, but the fact is 18USC922(i) and (j) were passed by Congress, signed by the President, and have been tested by the courts. All in accordance with the system established in the Constitution.
Congress sure thought [that they have jurisdiction over theft of firearms].

Sort of ... or maybe they know that they have no such jurisdiction, and so they do their usual circumvention of the Constitution, pretending to have jurisdiction over stolen firearms and ammo which have some nonsensical nexus with interstate commerce.

I don't know ... maybe delegated powers are no longer a factor, and if it seems good for the feds to check for stolen guns, then the feds should check for stolen guns ... somehow I thought federal jurisdiction might still be a factor ... maybe it's not.
And 100% of foxes polled think they are ideal henhouse guards.
That sums it up well.

A serial check would require a serial number be given to the feds at purchase. Do you really think that serial number would not be retained even if that was the law?

It would just be national registration of every single gun purchased under the guise of checking for stolen guns.
They may even in fact find a few and highlight those successes, but the abuses would far outweigh any advantage.

The 2nd was created to allow the citizens to fight foriegn invading militaries, and domestic military (which at the time were the federal LEO as well) if the government become tyranical or turned on the people.

Creating a shopping list of gun owners, and not only gun owners, but what type of gun every owner has, which would be a part of the serial number, completely undermines that.

That is partialy already being done in some states that create thier own databases that the feds access and record. It is partialy done in places without that when the ATF visits a store and records the 4473 information, but there is still huge pieces missing in that puzzle.
That is a good thing.

Even a good trustworthy government (if they existed) changes hands. Even if you trust the people in power with that info now, what about 10 or 20 years from now?
What if there really was a massive war, would you want an invading military, or even our own government that declares martial law as a result to know who has what and where?

Katrina was just a sample.

Here is the National Guard doing firearm siezures. The purpose? So the home owners would be helpless victims which would encourage them to leave the area even if they lived in an undamaged area. They would be less inclined to stay in untouched areas if they could not provide for thier own defense and were vulnerable to the criminals.
and the NRA one:

You have private contractors, National Guard, various LEO agencies, and the military itself ready to follow orders. Do you want them with a shopping list?
Here in Pa. the State Police have a illegal registration database that they simply refuse to pull the plug on.
What do you do when the very people sworn to uphold the law break it?

ATF is forbidden by federal law of maintaining any data base other than the NFA class III/title II weapons. Yes, AFT has routinely ignored this more than once and has been brought on the carpet by Congress each time it becomes public. Last time I read about, AFT skirted the law by having one of the liberal left wing universities do the dirty work under the guise of a "study."

AFT does it's traces starting at the manufactuer end. They give the maker the SN model no., etc, and the maker checks their files to see where it was shipped, to who it was shipped and when. Then the AFT pays a visit and "reviews" 4473.

The NRA and others opposed to firearms registration fought long and hard to PREVENT gun information from being part of the Brady Law check.

Anyone who believes that such information would not be retained for universal registration and ultimate confiscation is living on another planet.

The stolen check has been done before you even set foot in the gun store.

Dealers are required to send the make/model/serial # of all used guns they take in (pawn, consignment, purchase) to the local law enforcement authority. That authority then runs the guns though NCIC (National Crime Information Center). NCIC is the national clearinghouse for stolen guns, cars, felony warrants, and other related things. It's run by the FBI.
The percentage of stolen guns that are reported to police and added into the FBI database is probably in the low single digits. I doubt very many people record the serial numbers of their guns so it couldn't be added to a database. So checking such a list would almost never flag a gun even if it was stolen. If you owned a stolen gun that was in such a database there is no way it would ever come to law enforcements attention unless it was confiscated from you as part of a criminal investigation. If you have a receipt from a gun store that says you bought the gun on July 28, 2008 you obviously didn't steal it. The only way you could have trouble would be if you bought the gun in a private sale and there was no proof of when you bought it.

That is correct, but all bets are off you keeping said stolen gun even with the receipt. There was a G&A article on some guy's M1A he pawned and never got back.
Considering the government's track record with respect to that sort of thing, do you really want to give Big Brother any more access to our personal business?

Well, considering that if a gun was stolen, it's pretty much no longer our business.

Rather than tacking something onto the NCIS process, we should be eliminating the damned thing.

NCIC is the database used to catch most felons with warrants, stolen cars, etc. YOu don't get entered in it without a reason.

Got some reason you'd like it eliminated?

As has been said many times though, it's here to stay. I doubt any of us wants to give them the serial numbers of whatever guns we have - too many of us do that when we apply for CCW.

I never had to give anyone serial #'s for my CCW.

Serial #'s are only entered into NCIS if they're stolen. Must be a terrible suppression of one's civil right to have the serial # of a stolen weapon no longer in your control listed somewhere.
Well the individual asked why it was not part of the NICs checks.

Because that would create full scale registration of all firearms tied to the purchaser as the NICs checks are done at purchase.
Thanks Deanf...that's what I was missing. And to the many others; I'm not naive, but if we're going to pretend that the NICS checks data isn't kept, we might as well pretend that the serial #'s and gun makes aren't either :)
Deanf..... I don't know where you heard that particular bit of malarkey, but it's absolutely untrue.
Dealers are required to enter the description of the firearm and its' serial number in their bound book, but there is no federal statute that requires the dealer to report the description of incoming firearms to ANYBODY. Not to local police. Not to state police. Not to federal agencies. Not to ANYBODY.
I currently work at a gun store, and have my own FFL as well. If what you say is true, I'd know about it, and would be complying with it. But it ain't so.
Last edited:
What am I missing, other than the paranoia over whether the records would truly be deleted or not?

Indeed there is much to be said for gun registration. Nevertheless, all other gun owners I've met in the past fifty or so years have been adamantly opposed to it. It's refreshing to encounter someone who isn't.

Paranoia is unreasonable, irrational, delusional, or unfounded thinking. It's a fun word to throw at other people when they know more than you do, understand more, and have much more experience.

Prudence, such as is involved in buttoning your back pocket to make it harder for someone to remove your wallet, isn't evidence of an unreasonable fear.

Owning and carrying guns for self-defense also isn't a sign of paranoia even though that's the belief of many people who don't do it. It's also a core belief of a suprisingly large number of people who do, including numbers of people in this forum. For them it seems to be a kind of role playing game that they turn on or off as the mood strikes. They blur fantasy with reality and create a kind of corned beef hash.

Installing a burglar alarm system isn't evidence of paranoia either, and neither is a recognition that what you want is what sensible gun owners--and even rational people who don't own guns--shouldn't want and don't want.
Watching You


Here's a little thought experiment.

Imagine, just for a moment, that your government has been taken over by people who want to impose what would be called in today's society "slavery" conditions. Imagine that these people do not have your interests at heart. Imagine that these people are all about control and obedience. You will conduct your life according to their planning and permission. You will eat as they say. You will work as they say. You will marry whom they say. You will raise your children as they say. You will not engage in any activity they have not endorsed.

Now consider how much information about you, personally, that you would wish these people to have on the day they took over the government.

If you are utterly convinced that no one will ever corrupt or pervert or seize our government and turn its systems to their own designs, then you should be completely comfortable with any information requested or demanded by the government. After all, whoever is in charge in the future will be as benign as those who are in charge today, right?

If, on the other hand, you are not convinced, then perhaps it is well to push back on this issue.

Remember California. They registered certain firearms, promising that it would never be used for confiscation. Imagine the shock when thousands of law-abiding citizens learned that they had a matter of days to turn in their REGISTERED firearms or be arrested as felons.

So, if some gentle person is trying to persuade you that registration is "for the good of all" you might point them to that "inconvenient truth."

Sadly, the Alamo isn't in California, so no one remembers this particular insult and indignity that was visited upon the citizens.

And it sounds really stupid to yell, "Remember The California Lies!"

'Cuz, after all, which lie would you remember? There are just so many of them.
It's not just the California lies that we need to remember. The New York City Police did the same sort of thing about ten years ago. The NYPD required all owners of semi-automatic rifles who lived in the city to register their guns with the NYPD. Less than two years later, they notified all owners of those rifles that they would have to turn them in to the NYPD or remove them from the limits of NYC.

Janet Reno is quoted as saying, "Registration is just a step. Waiting periods is just a step. Elimination of private firearms is the goal."
Not open for further replies.