View Full Version : D.O.J Says cannot sell handguns without serial #

January 25, 2000, 12:12 AM
I called cali DOJ Firearms division and that is what they said, only if they are anitques.They told me to call the manufacturer, that is convienient as there are no marking on frame beside couple of letters, called colt because the parts and slide are colt. They tell me it aint their frame, all their frames had serial numbers, "call the NRA" they said "or ATF if NRA cant help." Talk about a lot of run around, does anyone know of any law saying this. I only pursue this because the whole 1911 is only 200 dollars.

George Stringer
January 25, 2000, 08:35 AM
Oberkommando, what the DOJ is saying is essentially true. I'm going to do a little research on this to make sure that I am not giving you bad advice and I will post what I find later today. George

January 25, 2000, 01:32 PM
Thanks George, I just called ATF and they said they would pick up gun to have seen to their lab and see if they can raise a serial number and if for some reason is stolen they said it would be destroyed (dont know why they cant return to owner?) If it appears made without a number they will decide if they will issue a number for it and if so the FFL is responsable for engraving it or stamping dont know how deep it has to be? Could not get a hold of NRA ILA offices even though it is normal hours? 1-800-392-8683.
Thanks again George. BTW ATF was very friendly. Then again getting their hands on serial-less gun would make them happy ;)

James K
January 25, 2000, 01:53 PM
All this for a $200 gun? Talk about self-imposed punishment!


Ed Brunner
January 25, 2000, 02:49 PM
Put a number on it.

Better days to be,


George Stringer
January 25, 2000, 11:15 PM
I spoke with the ATF today also. The inspector's advice was to pass it by. He said it would be a lot more trouble than it's worth to go through what you're doing but I think he may be a little biased. If it isn't going to cost you anything and you still get the pistol for $200 sounds like a deal to me. George

January 26, 2000, 03:27 AM
Thanks again George, ATF said there is no charge so I will see what the FFL says about this. Though they did say it might be a long waid depending on what the lab has to do before they can get to this frame. If my FFL cant sell it, might as well give it to them to see if they will issue a number.

ED, If I were in charge of the situ I would just do it the way all of us feel it should be done. Actually there are 3 alpha numerics on it H,G, and a 7. I figured these could be used, but my dealer will not accept that plan.

January 26, 2000, 05:10 AM
George here is what the NRA museum staff said.
Thank you for your inquiry to the National Firearms Museum.

First - are there any other/manufacturers markings on the
Colt products usually include their Hartford, CT markings.
We do have a list of all manufacturers.

Here's the situation you are in right now.

A. You are looking at a frame with a removed serial number.
Federal felony to possess.

B. You are looking at a receiver stolen from a manufacturer
prior to SN stamping. Again - federal felony to possess.
Toolroom/experimental frames all had special markings and
these sometimes turn up - really doubt this is what you've

Any good gunsmith can look at the area where the serial number
be and tell you whether any metal has been removed. More
- any law enforcement agency through metallurgical processes can
quickly determine if a serial number was once there.

Your best option may be to pass on this receiver. Bear in mind
ATF will allow restamping of a receiver, but this is usually only
by a manufacturer. Tell your "FFL" friend that has one to be real
careful - he's flirting with disaster with that receiver.


Museum Staff

James K
January 26, 2000, 12:26 PM
For future reference:

Run, do not walk, away from an illegal gun.

If you are stuck with one, deep six it.

Except for older guns, a gun without a serial number is illegal and can get you in trouble. Why risk prison and losing your right to own guns just to save a couple of bucks?


January 26, 2000, 02:19 PM
Jim, I dont own gun the dealer does and they didnt realize until checking records that the gun had no number. Someone off the street came in with the gun to have work done on it or trade in for parts dont know could have been 30 years ago for all I know. Only reason I kept inquiring is because of responses here saying you can sell gun w/out serial numbers. ATF say they run across this all the time, they didnt sound too concerned, but....

John Lawson
January 28, 2000, 04:20 PM
Are those two letters and single digit in the position normally used for a serial number? If so, you have an early Ranger frame that was custom serialized for a buyer and the serial number is legit. If it is in another position, it is anybody's guess.
At one time I had Ranger's frame with a two digit number and nobody would believe it.