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Old January 7, 2013, 09:22 PM   #1
jip40
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Stolen Rifle

Hey everyone. I had a rifle stolen and supposedly recovered by the ATF. The rifle was stolen from a gunsmith that I paid to do some work on it. He had it for 5 months and called to tell me it was ready the day before his shop was robbed. Over 10 guns were stolen and I believe only 2 were recovered roughly 5 months later, including my rifle. The gunsmith and I were having issues before the theft, a buddy of mine took his there and had it back in less than 2 months. I made the mistake of paying in full up front. After the theft, the gunsmith claimed that he didn't have insurance and he was only paying the people back who's guns were not recovered. He has continually given me excuses and said he will reimburse me when he gets the money. I spoke to the ATF, who got involved b/c of the number of guns stolen. They told me that they recovered my gun, but it may take "years" till I get it back. I filed a summons with the county magistrate against the gunsmith to reimburse me for the rifle and work that was supposedly done on it. Right now, I'm out of $1900(rifle+gunsmithing work) and afraid I will not see my rifle again for "years" if ever. I would appreciate input from any forum members that are knowledgeable or have experience in these matters. Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance fro any assistance.
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Old January 8, 2013, 12:06 AM   #2
Willie Sutton
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You an opinion from a lawyer who practices in your jurisdiction, not lay-opinions from an internet forum.


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Old January 8, 2013, 11:39 AM   #3
JimDandy
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In his place, I'd want general guidance from a lawyer that while jurisdictions vary, generally speaking you can expect A, B, and C. In most jurisdictions this will take approximately XY hours, and you may or may not end up paying more for the lawyer than the gun, or it should or should not etc....

I'd be looking for some broad generic options with enough disclaimers to CYA, that will still give me an inkling of what I'm in for, and what results I can reasonably hope for, from peeing into a strong wind, to getting everything I want.
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Old January 8, 2013, 12:45 PM   #4
Tom Servo
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Who did you speak to at the ATF?

What were the circumstances of the recovery? Usually, the gun is recovered by local law enforcement, and they retain custody of the weapon, not the ATF.

Do you have the serial number and proof of purchase for the rifle?
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Old January 8, 2013, 07:34 PM   #5
jip40
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From what I was told, ATF caught the accused in a sting operation. The county sheriff's department is prosecuting them, but the victim advocate for the county solicitor's office said that there may be a federal case following the local law enforcement case. ATF has failed to return my calls for further details. After reading about all the guns they lose, I'm afraid it will just get lost in the system or stolen from them. I have proof that I paid the gunsmith for the rifle work. I'm going to get the serial number from the store that I purchased it from. JimDandy, thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for. With regard to getting a lawyer, I'm afraid that if I get one involved I will end up spending more money than the rifle is worth. Right now, I'm just going with the magistrate b/c the summons fee was only $80 which the gunsmith will have to pay if the judge finds in my favor.
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Old January 9, 2013, 12:59 AM   #6
kilimanjaro
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Definitely have a sit-down with an attorney, he can also assist in recovery of the rifle from the feds. If you can add his fees on the restitution amount, I'd go for it, there is no excuse for a business to not be insured for this sort of thing. File liens on his pickup truck, house, paychecks, whatever it takes.
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Old January 9, 2013, 12:15 PM   #7
JimDandy
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Magistrate? Solicitor? Are you visiting over here from the other side of the pond, or in a very traditional jurisdiction of some kind?
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Old January 9, 2013, 12:21 PM   #8
MLeake
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They have magistrates in NH, too.
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Old January 9, 2013, 12:32 PM   #9
JimDandy
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Hence the possibility of a traditional jurisdiction.
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Old January 9, 2013, 07:13 PM   #10
jip40
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The magistrate is basically the county judge.
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Old January 9, 2013, 09:43 PM   #11
Daugherty16
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Free Consultation

Welcome to the site.

I suggest you contact your local or state Rifle/Pistol Association, who may have links to, or be willing to provide a referral to, an attorney experienced in matters related to firearms and 2A. Most attorneys will give you a free consultation, hear the basic facts of your situation, provide you an estimate of success, and an estimate of the time and cost involved in pursuing your case. You may be VERY surprised at how much the situation improves once you get an attorney involved.

Lesson here: every single time you buy a firearm, whether or not you schedule it with your insurance company,always keep a copy of your paperwork complete with serial number and bill of sale. Doesn't help you here/now, but for the future. Your gun safe is an excellent place to store your accumulated records. Several companies make excellent products that hang on the door, conserving space and usually also provide document pockets and a pistol rack.

This is a shame. Good luck with it.
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Old January 15, 2013, 08:24 PM   #12
jip40
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thank y'all for your responses
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Old January 15, 2013, 09:06 PM   #13
Battler
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Out of interest - if you have a gun that you bought legally etc.; but lost track of the receipt - but it's in your possession - what means can be used to proactively build some evidence or claim of ownership. . . Photos of the gun up close (serial number) and the box and your ID? Some notary or guarantor that's respected in this situation?
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