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Old December 25, 2010, 10:33 AM   #1
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Finding out if a hand gun is stolen prior to purchase?

On a national and state ( PA ) level , is there a way to find out if a hand gun has been reported stolen / who the prior owner is / was ? ( without causing trouble for the person making the inquiry. )

The theoretical situation being a gun is found tucked away in a long abandoned location with no way of determining who the owner is / was. Lets also assume the gun is post 70 national control act so no C & R or grandfather clause would apply.

PA has a pseudo hand gun registration with the state police, but something like that requires a seller to be on the paper work along with a buyer during the check and transfer.

A LGS didn't know what to do in that type of situation and suggested don't ask, don't tell target use. Others suggest running away.

Please keep state laws to PA only as not to cloud the issue.
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Old December 25, 2010, 10:42 AM   #2
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The simple answer is there's no real way for a civilian to find out.
The LGS when buying a used gun usually runs it past the LEO's to check.

Here in Florida we have no registration and FTF sales are perfectly legal.
I have asked a few of my cop buddies if they can run a serial number before I buy the gun and the answer was NO.
After I buy it and they have it in their hand they can run it. But only on the Florida database. If it turns up stolen I lose it.

I only buy from people I know. I only sell to people I know. I never do paperwork.

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Old December 25, 2010, 05:26 PM   #3
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I would tell the seller you want to have it registered and run for legitimacy. The reaction you get should be telling. If you aren't going to go by the book on your side as far as proper registration you better know the person you are buying it from.

I had a cop friend run a .44 Auto Mag for me to see if it was clean. He told me if it came up hot he was going to have some esplainin' to do. I was holding the gun while I had it checked and it was my intent to say it was a street purchase that I wanted legitimized. I was prepared to tell the guy selling it to me he had lost his stolen gun and be glad I didn't turn in his name. I wouldn't want a stolen gun, too risky if anything ever came down and you are held for having stolen property.
Fiction is harder to write than the truth, fiction has to make sense, the truth can be unbelievable.
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Old December 25, 2010, 07:17 PM   #4
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AFS, you can check the Florida database yourself - although I don't know how detailed it is or if it is really picky about serial number formatting with regards to letters, numbers, dashes, etc.
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