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Old July 9, 2010, 11:20 PM   #1
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Florida police asking gunshops for info

Just heard this on the car radio tonight, Orlando police are asking central FLA gunshops for the name, address and phone # of people who bought .40cal S&W Sigma series pistols during 2004-05. They are trying to catch a serial killer.

This brings up a whole lot of questions, including the legality of the requests. The tone of the report suggested that they are seeking voluntary cooperation, not demanding records.

Your thoughts?
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Old July 9, 2010, 11:27 PM   #2
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I could be wrong ......however it's my understanding that gun shops aren't compelled by law to let a local law enforcement to just come in and comb through sales records. However I think ATF can inspect sales records and dealers are compelled by law to cooperate with ATF examinations.
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Old July 9, 2010, 11:30 PM   #3
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We have and always will seek information, from multiple sources, while investigating specific crimes. To me this is a world apart from gathering information, just for the hell of it, on citizens engaging in constitutionally-protected activity.
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Old July 9, 2010, 11:35 PM   #4
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They're asking for a specific make, model and caliber sold during a specific time frame in a specific area of the state. It appears to me that they have obtained credible evidence that could likely lead them to a serial killer. If I owned a gun shop, I would cooperate. Their request seems perfectly reasonable.
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Old July 10, 2010, 01:25 AM   #5
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It seems an invasion of privacy to me.
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Old July 10, 2010, 01:48 AM   #6
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Curious... in order for them to be asking this question, they need to have a witness or evidence of some sort that says the gun used was a .40 cal Sigma and something definitive about the year(s) it was made.

The big question is how the date range was determined. Did someone hear the guy say something about the gun? Or was there something about the ballistic markings (number of lands/grooves, twist rate, case markings) that pointed to a limited production time-frame at S&W?

And the gun may have been purchased elsewhere in the state or even out of state and brought into Florida in the intervening years.

If a lot of shops cooperate, they'll have quite a large list to weed through.

I don't think there's a problem with asking for voluntary cooperation and/or the public's help. I'd be more concerned, however, if some gun shop that's been in business since the 60's was suddenly denied a license after they didn't provide any information. That would be distressing.
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Old July 10, 2010, 02:23 AM   #7
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Do Sigma's have a distinctive firing pin? or something like that? All the info on the radio said was 3 prostitutes killed, with apparently the same weapon. The case is also about 6 years old. The reason the police believe it is a .40 Sigma was not given.

Seems like they are looking for a gun they figure was bought around the time of the first murder, but that is just speculation on my part.

According to the host, there is a law prohibiting the police from compiling info on gun owners, but I think, in this case, since they appear to be asking, and not ordering, it may not apply?

Quote:
I think ATF can inspect sales records and dealers are compelled by law to cooperate with ATF examinations.
IIRC, the ATF can only inspect records a certain number of times per year, and this includes unannounced inspections. However, if they are conducting an investigation, that is a different matter.
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Old July 10, 2010, 01:22 PM   #8
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It may well be that the Sigma has a unique and specific lands/grooves pattern and/or extractor or ejector marks that make it quite clear to them that's the type of firearm responsible for the killings.
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Old July 10, 2010, 01:32 PM   #9
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[1] The police can ask anyone anything. You or I could ask anyone anything. That doesn't mean either the police, or you or I, would be entitled to an answer.

[2] If they are asking a specific crime and appear to have a good reason, and if the person asked is not under a legal obligation to preserve the confidentiality of the information sought, it may be reasonable to answer the questions -- especially if the information could help catch a murderer.
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Old July 10, 2010, 01:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
the type of firearm responsible for the killings.
Guns have brains now? :barf:
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Old July 10, 2010, 02:00 PM   #11
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44 AMP I live in the greater Daytona Beach area and it is the Daytona Beach PD asking for the info.
Personally, in my opinion the local PD can go and pound sand. If memory serves me right shouldn't they be contacting the BATFE and letting the BATFE do the leg work? I know from fact after a gun I sold privately was used in a robbery that is how they found me. Arresting PD called ATF who called the manufacturer who told them which dealer received the gun for sale and through the selling dealer going through the 4473's and WA-la they found me.
It's a 4 victim serial killer they are looking for and since the murders occurred this is the first time a gun has been mentioned in the news. They have been keeping the gun part under raps until now. Hopefully none of the gun stores will cooperate regarding this. They will wind up with TOO MUCH info and isn't this one of the battles the NRA fought so hard about?
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Old July 10, 2010, 02:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Their request seems perfectly reasonable.
And now they have a record of ALL the Sigma owners locally. I don't think so it's not right.

I should have included this thought in my post above. What makes them think the gun was purchased locally? If nothing came about from there request would it be reasonable for them to EXPAND there request to near by counties and then state wide and then near by states and then nation wide.

Pure and utter BULL CRAP IN humongous letters.

Where would the search end. NO NO NO ABSOLUTELY NOT
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Old July 10, 2010, 02:14 PM   #13
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I would happily cooperate

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Old July 10, 2010, 02:19 PM   #14
Don P
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Quote:
I would happily cooperate
Again Wild where would it be appropriate to stop asking for the info? Locally, state wide, nation wide?
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Old July 10, 2010, 02:25 PM   #15
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This could get tricky as on the one hand and as a customer, I would say that I would not want my dealer to provide my name. I say this only because you really do not know what their agenda might be and it would set a procedence.

If I were a dealer and in case only, I would phone my Sigma customers and get their permission. Another option woud be to request that the ATF get involved and yes, I too understand that they can come in any time and review transactions.

This is not an easy call as I just love it when bad guys fall. ....


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Old July 10, 2010, 02:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don P
Quote:
Originally Posted by baldeagl1
Their request seems perfectly reasonable.
And now they have a record of ALL the Sigma owners locally. I don't think so it's not right.
Don, they already have that, remember? Every gun purchased in a gun shop is registered in the FBI NCIS database.

In other words, they won't have anything they don't already have access to.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don P
I should have included this thought in my post above. What makes them think the gun was purchased locally?
We don't know that, so it's useless to speculate. If anything, we can speculate that they have credible information that leads them to believe that the gun was purchased in central Florida.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don P
If nothing came about from there request would it be reasonable for them to EXPAND there request to near by counties and then state wide and then near by states and then nation wide.
No, but why would they? Police don't chase dead ends in their investigations. If the investigation produces nothing useful, they'll be disappointed, but they would have no reason to expand the search unless other credible information led them in that direction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don P
Pure and utter BULL CRAP IN humongous letters.

Where would the search end. NO NO NO ABSOLUTELY NOT
So you would handcuff the police to protect an illusion of privacy that you have? Seems rather unreasonable to me.
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Old July 10, 2010, 02:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baldeagl1
Every gun purchased in a gun shop is registered in the FBI NCIS database.
The make and model is not called in on a NCIS check, just the type of firearm. Some states are not required to do a NCIS check.
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Old July 10, 2010, 02:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahoo
This could get tricky as on the one hand and as a customer, I would say that I would not want my dealer to provide my name. I say this only because you really do not know what their agenda might be and it would set a procedence.

If I were a dealer and in case only, I would phone my Sigma customers and get their permission. Another option woud be to request that the ATF get involved and yes, I too understand that they can come in any time and review transactions.

This is not an easy call as I just love it when bad guys fall. ....
Assume for the moment that the police have a credible lead that could help them find a serial killer. Your solution is to notify him that the police are looking for him? Not only that, but you would burden the gun dealers with the duty of calling every customer they have to ask for permission?
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Old July 10, 2010, 02:46 PM   #19
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Don, they already have that, remember? Every gun purchased in a gun shop is registered in the FBI NCIS database.
This is inaccurate. What is listed in the NCIS database if the gun owners info. NCIS does not know what model s/n etc was purchased by John Doe, all they know is if it was a hand gun or long gun. The problem is they know the gun, not the owner. The only database collecting info on the gun is if it was entered as a stolen weapon.
What is possible, and legal, is if the police have a suspect, they can then give that to NCIS and they will contact the dealer and the dealer has 24 hrs to produce the 4473 with the requested info. That is the only way to determine if John Doe bought a Sigma in 2004.
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Old July 10, 2010, 02:47 PM   #20
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I've done a number of these inquiries, all related to a specific crime, usually related to specific suspect and often related to a specific gun.

No, the fuzz don't waste time following 'leads' leading anywhere other than to the solution of a crime, nor do we 'expand' investigations toward anything other than the solving of crimes. The lawful purchase and use of firearms is not one.

Ask your dealer not to divulge your purchase info? Good luck with that. It is easily obtained by local LE via three methods- investigative subpoena, ATF trace request or the tried and true method of shoe leather on the street between points and persons likely to produce results.

...and I'll say this one more time... only toward the purpose of solving a specific crime.
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Old July 10, 2010, 02:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
Again Wild where would it be appropriate to stop asking for the info? Locally, state wide, nation wide?
Wherever they need to ask.

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Old July 10, 2010, 02:58 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don H
The make and model is not called in on a NCIS check, just the type of firearm. Some states are not required to do a NCIS check.
Every firearm transferred in the US is supposed to be reported to the FBI, both long guns and hand guns. Some states do not cooperate, in part or at all, but in those states that do not cooperate, the FFL is required to fill out the form.

And yes, they do not have make, model or serial number in the NICS database, but they do know the name and address and type of gun (long gun or handgun) of every registered firearm transfer.
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Old July 10, 2010, 03:01 PM   #23
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baldeagl1
You are correct and like I said; It can be tricky !! ....

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Old July 10, 2010, 03:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baldeagl1
Every firearm transferred in the US is supposed to be reported to the FBI, both long guns and hand guns.
In many states, private party transfers are not required to be reported, just transfers through an FFL. There is no federal law requiring reporting of private party transfers.
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Old July 10, 2010, 03:26 PM   #25
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Quote:
Every firearm transferred in the US is supposed to be reported to the FBI, both long guns and hand guns. Some states do not cooperate, in part or at all, but in those states that do not cooperate, the FFL is required to fill out the form.
Untrue. Many states allow private-party sales, and those are not reported. If the transfer goes through an FFL, a 4473 is required. The requirement that FFL's do the 4473 is Federal, and is required in all states.

Quote:
And yes, they do not have make, model or serial number in the NICS database, but they do know the name and address and type of gun (long gun or handgun) of every registered firearm transfer.
Nope. NICS only knows the type of weapon (handgun, long gun, or "other"). They do not ask for make, model or serial number. Furthermore, the buyer's address is not recorded.

As for the investigation at hand, it's the dealer's call as to whether or not to respond. If law enforcement has the gun in hand, then it's easier to simply do a trace request through the BATFE, in which case the dealer's participation is mandatory.
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