Can u have a serial # put back on a firearm

Discussion in 'Legal and Activism' started by wieseman71, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. wieseman71

    wieseman71 New Member

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    I gave a friend of mine a TEC 9 in 1996 as a partial payment towards the money I owned him for my honeymoon. He recently took his life and the family wants to give me his firearms. For some stupid reason he scratched off the SN. I know it's not stollen or used in a crime, and it was last registered to me. Can the firearm be made legal or should it be turned in to LEO. I have not taken possession of it and the family is counting on me to help them do what's right and legal. Thanks


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  2. KG7IL

    KG7IL Well-Known Member

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    Great Question and you are applauded for posting.

    Let me put it this way. If the serial number was purposely scratched off and made illegible , then someone violated a law. If the serial number can be recovered by etching or other means, then, while it may have been obliterated, it may still be there. . . ... See. touchy subject huh. . .

    Would a 'simple' restore job recover the serial number accurately. Would it take a forensic group some time, expertise and special acids?

    These questions are rhetorical and I expect no answer from you.

    I would assume that the serial number is still there, and if it was not readily made legible, I would approach a trusted LEO and see if they need the gun for training in forensics, then return it to you when it has been restored.

    Wild Idea. . . worth a try.
     

  3. wieseman71

    wieseman71 New Member

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    I have not seen it so I don't know how bad he scratched at the SN. I just don't want his family to suffer any legal problems or get my self in trouble by taking possession of it.


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  4. mountainman13

    mountainman13 New Member

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    I would recommend having it decommissioned. Scratched off serial numbers are going to raise eyebrows.

    better judged by twelve than carried by six.
     
  5. BillDeShivs

    BillDeShivs Member

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    If you have the original number, it can be reapplied.
     
  6. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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  7. JWagner

    JWagner New Member

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    Is this addressed on the BATF web site?
     
  8. wieseman71

    wieseman71 New Member

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    Thanks for the reply's guys, I didn't expect to get a easy answer. I guess I'll talk to my local sheriff.


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  9. wieseman71

    wieseman71 New Member

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    Thanks nightstalker!!!! With that info I'll have the family call the police so they can go get it from his home. I want nothing to do with anything illegal.


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  10. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    As Nitestalker pointed out, it is a heavy duty Federal felony to obliterate a firearm serial OR to possess such a firearm.

    There IS a mechanism in place to apply to the BATFE for a new serial number to be stamped on the firearm, very limited circumstances.

    Not to be a gun snob, but would not go thru that for a Tec-9. Maybe for an original 1928 Thompson.

    Best thing is to arrange with LEOs to surrender the gun for destruction.
     
  11. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    My personal choice is to always avoid such things. My freedom to own firearms is very important to me. Committing a Federal Fire arms violation would suspend or void my rights. :eek:
     
  12. wieseman71

    wieseman71 New Member

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    Thanks c3
    I will contact the family tomorrow, all the firearms are still at his house. I'm surprised the police didn't look for more when they found him and he had shot himself.


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  13. mountainman13

    mountainman13 New Member

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    Consider the gun he used history, aside from that the rest really aren't their concern.

    better judged by twelve than carried by six.
     
  14. KG7IL

    KG7IL Well-Known Member

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    I'll concede that if the serial number is not discernible at all, then it falls into the obliterated category.

    If it is 'registered' to you, and you have paper work and serial number, you may want to disclose that at the time of forfeiture.

    Serial numbers are recovered regularly, and I would guess that they would process it and recover the serial number anyway.

    Dang shame to have your item destroyed by someone else, then leaving you on the hook.
    Perhaps those better informed on the subject than me could offer their opinions on what you should do.

    The serial number isn't gone for ever, and it was in your name. tough spot to be in.
     
  15. WillWork4Ammo

    WillWork4Ammo New Member

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    Without giving legal advice,all I can say is let the Sheriff or law enforcement retrieve it from your friends family and go from there.
     
  16. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member

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    And please don't get advice from an LEO. If you really want CORRECT legal advice, hire an attorney.

    If the firearms don't have any real value, let the family turn them over to the local police dept for disposition.
     
  17. SmallCaliberGuy

    SmallCaliberGuy New Member

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    I would question why the serial number was scratched off, and what was done with the gun while in his possession.

    I would let law enforcement "come get it", then they will decide if you have legal ownership of it.


    Personally, I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. ;)
     
  18. KG7IL

    KG7IL Well-Known Member

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    The biggest problem the OP has, is that it IS 'registered' to him. Too late even for the 10 foot pole.

    I'll clarify any opinions that are perceived recommendations to another party, but the law was never intended to stop a legal owner from possessing his gun.

    The following is hypothetical and is meant to make you think
    If a shotgun were stolen and the barrel sawed off, why not have a gunsmith fit a new barrel.

    The OP most likely has paperwork with a serial number and description. He is not in possession of the gun physically, but is the owner because of the paper trail. Are we to support a law that would make him a criminal?

    If a state limited magazines to 10 or 7 rounds, would you not support a recall of politicians and a end to the law. I understand, and agree, with not doing anything illegal, but protests must be launched and laws must be turned around.

    There was a push in Washington State..... now silencers are legal when following the federal law.
    we also have a push to 'legalize' SBR's. ... wouldn't happen if everyone rolled over.

    I hate to see everyone roll so easy.. I don't think a Tec 9 is worth it, but challenging the law is worth it.

    A person in this situation would need assistance from the NRA ILA or other deep pockets.
    but would you feel differently if it was your gun and if it were $4000 ?

    Would you feel that the law is justified or righteous. Would you roll over?

    Ok, off my soapbox. . . . .bad gun.... bad gun....
     
  19. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Just to clarify what I said-

    Have a good friend that lost a collectable pistol to a burglary. When recovered, the punk that had it had ground the serial number off. Well, so much for collector's value!

    However, my friend DID want to keep the pistol. He applied to the BATFE for a replacement SN, backed up by the police report. They issued him a NEW serial number. Ground up portion of pistol was buffed, new SN stamped by a smith in a NEW location, gun reblued.

    Yes, a ground off SN can be recovered- but that is not the legal process to deal with this. The process is usually used for a collectable gun that the SN is going-going-gone due to wear or refinishing. And I would question whether it is worth jumping thru the hoops for a relatively low dollar gun.

    But yes, there IS a process where an innocent owner can have a serial restored. But it is NOT a D-I-Y project.

    Bottom line- do not ever possess a gun from which the SN has been removed, obliterated or altered. VERY bad ju-ju. This is the Federal law covering this:

    § 478.34 Removed, obliterated, or altered serial number.
    No person shall knowingly transport, ship, or receive in interstate or foreign commerce any firearm which has had the importer's or manufacturer's serial number removed, obliterated, or altered, or possess or receive any firearm which has had the importer's or manufacturer's serial number removed, obliterated, or altered and has, at any time, been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.


    Here is an example of a gun that had SN obliterated, and replaced by the ATF-

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/2...r-made-federally-compliant-will-be-auctioned/
     
  20. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    I agree with C3. Not worth any possible trouble for a Tec 9.

    Please keep us informed as to what happens.

    A few years ago a friend of mine had an old revolver that had been destroyed somehow (might have been over-charged ammo or something) and he forged the barrel into a garden spade, retaining the serial number intact on the frame to keep it legal. It actually won several prizes as blacksmith art. Had he removed the serial number in making it he would have committed a felony.