question regarding firearm private sale
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  1. #1

    Question question regarding firearm private sale

    When you purchase a new firearm at a gun store or dealer you buy the gun is the serial # attached to your name?

    Another question if you sell it to another person and they commit a crime with that firearm is the serial # going to come back to the original purchaser or the new owner?

    I ask because i want to know how the gun is tracked by law enforcement to see the real owner of the weapon.

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  3. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Usa007 View Post
    When you purchase a new firearm at a gun store or dealer you buy the gun is the serial # attached to your name?

    Another question if you sell it to another person and they commit a crime with that firearm is the serial # going to come back to the original purchaser or the new owner?

    I ask because i want to know how the gun is tracked by law enforcement to see the real owner of the weapon.
    When LEO wants to trace a gun, they request the tracing info from the ATF. The ATF then takes the serial number of the gun and inquires of the manufacturer which retailer that gun was delivered to. The ATF then goes to that retailer and requests a copy of the "Over the Counter Transaction Form", commonly known as the form 4473 for that gun. The retailer then provides the copy of that form which tells to whom that gun was sold. The ATF then provides the information to the requesting LEO agency that the gun in question was sold to Joe Citizen on 29 FEB 2004 by Tom's Gun Shop.

    In a state such as Florida, that information is completely worthless to police unless they have evidence to place Joe Citizen at the scene of the crime in question because Joe Citizen could have legally sold or given that gun to any one of multiple thousands of other residents of Florida with no paperwork required.

    Here's the form to request a trace:
    http://www.atf.gov/forms/download/atf-f-3312-1.pdf
    Anyone who says, "I support the 2nd amendment, BUT"... doesn't. Element of Surprise: a mythical element that many believe has the same affect upon criminals that Kryptonite has upon Superman.

  4. Edit: See NavyLCDR, his answer is better.

    Federally, background checks are not registrations. Depending on the gun store, it is POSSIBLE that the store sends your information to the manufacturer for warranty registration, but none I've been to do that.

    In some states, guns are registered, which means that when you buy a gun, it is positively linked to your name. But this is not a federal thing, and is state-specific. In Oregon, there is no such registration. I suppose it's possible (I've never asked an Oregon officer) that even a non-registration state would check with registration-state's databases.

    For non-registration states, the police could ask the manufacturer where the gun was sold, which may be a distributor or it may be the actual store. Then they could contact the store and get the store's record. But it's not a simple "type it in and get a result in 10 seconds" like on TV.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Hurtley View Post
    In some states, guns are registered, which means that when you buy a gun, it is positively linked to your name.
    For handguns purchased from dealers, Washington state skips a few steps. Dealers are required to complete a Washington state pistol transfer form which has all the info regarding the handgun and purchaser on it. That form is then sent to the Washington State Department of Licensing. The DOL maintains a database which links all the person's information, including driver's license number, CPL number (if possessed), and the firearm serial number. This only applies to handguns sold in Washington state by FFL dealers, though.

    Any LEO in the state can almost instantly call in any one of the pieces of info above and get all the other pieces. But again, that only "registers" the inital sale of the handgun by an FFL. Private firearms sales are not required to be documented in Washington state.
    Anyone who says, "I support the 2nd amendment, BUT"... doesn't. Element of Surprise: a mythical element that many believe has the same affect upon criminals that Kryptonite has upon Superman.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    washington state
    Posts
    817
    Hey NavyLCDR I read a few years ago that the actual state(Washington) pistol transfer forms had to be kept for I think it was 4 or 6 years and then destroyed. But correct me if Im wrong but I have a hunch the state probably enters the information on a computer and there it stays forever. As my retired computer programmer wife would say 'welcome to the computer age'.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    SE Florida
    Posts
    1,880
    I've bought and sold firearms via private sale on several occasions. I always insist on the following whether I'm buying or selling:

    1. A receipt with the make, model, and serial # of the gun.
    2. A photocopy of the other party's picture ID.
    3. Signature of the other party.
    4. Signature of a witness.

    Once I get home I scan the paperwork into my computer and file the hard copies.

    You can't be too careful with private gun sales. It may seem like a lot but your butt will be covered if anything negative happens.
    (Insert random tough-guy quote here)
    "See my gun?? Aren't you impressed?" - Anonymous sheepdog
    The hardware is the same, but the software is vastly different.

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