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Found handgun in Wyoming
I stumbled onto a handgun in Wyoming, in the middle of the woods. It’s in almost perfect shape so I’m guessing it hasn’t been there long.
Just found it Wednesday night. If I can’t find the owner, I will likely turn it into law enforcement? I’m really not sure what else to do?
So if you can describe it, tell me where you lost it, or serial number, I’ll get it back to you.
Might want to post this on the WY state forum -
years ago, a friend of mine found a rifle outside of Cody. He turned it into the Sheriff Dept, and they did some paper work on it. Later after about a few months, the rifle was his.... even then he kept trying to find the owner, and funny he never did.... isn't that odd.....................
The person who lost it should report it to the Sheriffs Dept. You turn it in and they will get it back to the legal owner. I had a pistol somehow come off me in a National forest in NM and reported it a few weeks ago. I’m hoping someone finds it and turns it in instead of keeping it.
The pistol has a serial number on it. Call the manufacture. Or call the FBI an tell them you found the pistol and where you found it. Give them the serial number. They have the background check information. If the FBI tells you to take it to your local police department, do so. BUT, make sure that you carry it in a clear plastic bag so it can be seen. Then tell them the story about it an that you contacted the FBI. The other thing. Take the serial number an go to you local gun dealer. Don't take the gun, just the number. They should also be able to help.
Boris, does the background check include the serial number of the firearm? I never heard that before and I heard plenty of calls into NICS. The paperwork for registration is held by the state but I imagine that’s searchable federally as well.
The serial number of my firearms had better not be registered federally to me. I thought this was America!
Here in Michigan I had to take a little postcard with the pistol info down to the local police dept and give it to them after I picked up the pistol. The FFL provides that postcard.
WRT to the OP's situation, I would definitely take a pic of the gun and the serial number down to the local sheriff office/PD and let them know the story. I would make them give you advice on what to do for the simple fact if it turns out to be a stolen pistol, you want to make sure you get it out of your possession. There might even be a state law on what folks should do when a firearm is found. At the end of the day, it's only a pistol that you found and not worth any legal headaches.
I could tell your from back east when you said make sure that you carry it in a clear plastic bag so it can be seen. Guns are not a big bad booger man out west. Unless you look like some wacked out drug head.
From npr story about what happens when you buy a gun from a retired ATF agent-
CHIPMAN: Basically, what you're putting on that form is the same information you'd have on your state or government-issued ID. It'd be your name, date of birth, address. It does give you the option of putting your Social Security number on there, which isn't mandatory, but it does help if your name's similar to other people and there might be some confusion.
BLOCK: It also asks a bunch of questions, though, that would prohibit me from buying a gun, right? Am I a felon? Am I fugitive? All sorts of things like that.
CHIPMAN: Right. Different items that would make it unlawful and actually a 10-year federal felony for you to possess a gun.
BLOCK: OK. So I fill this out at the dealer, and what happens to it then?
CHIPMAN: Then what the dealer does is that he or she takes that information and calls the FBI, and they compare that information to a list of people who shouldn't have a gun. And as long as you don't match any of those names, the dealer is allowed to proceed, and that's what happens in over 90 percent of the cases. And it actually happens in a matter of moments, quicker than it will take you to buy a cup of coffee.
BLOCK: What happens to this form at that point?
CHIPMAN: That form is always kept in paper form in the dealer shop, and there are about 60,000 dealers all across the country. And it's an agreement that these forms be kept in a manual fashion to make sure that there could be no computerized registry of these records.
BLOCK: And the NICS information, the instant background check information, what happens to that?
CHIPMAN: Well, it depends at what happens with the check. If you're part of those over 90 percent of the people who passed the check, that information that you even had your name called in is destroyed in 24 hours.
BLOCK: It has to be, by law, correct?
CHIPMAN: By law.
And lord knows our government would never break the law.
Go to the local PD and tell them where you found it. If nobody claims it you will be able to take ownership of it. Once found a s&w 28 and I ended up with it after no one claimed it. Amazing how someone could actually lose a pistol , bad day.
^...just make sure it's not stolen. Having a stolen gun in your possession isn't too smart...even if you didn't know.
Check it in with the police or sheriffs dept., they'll hold it a while and if no owner or link to a crime is found it's yours...
No law enforcement agency that I know of is going to give you ownership information over the phone..... Where I work we wouldn’t give you the information even in person if you showed up at the station with the serial number.
I know this isn’t what you want to hear.... But if you turned it in as a found gun at the Department I work at.... You’re not getting it back. Every effort will be made legally to return it to the registered owner. If the registered owner doesn’t claim it..... It will be destroyed.
Most likely that pistol is registered.... since chances are a law abiding hunter lost it and wants it back. It should be easy to contact the owner. The right thing to do is turn it in. That’s what you would want if you lost it.
I agree with Big Bear. You should turn it in and you will not be getting it back whether they find the owner or not. It just does not work that way anymore
Why not contact the gun's manufacture? If it's a one-owner gun, should be easy to trace. Yes?
Why open a can of worms....turn it in to a LEO and be done with it. Don`t involve yourself any more than you already are.
Idk about Michigan but we don’t have a gun registry here.
In NYS a pistol no doubt is registered and they have the serial number and all the information on who owns the guns. When we transfer or sell a gun to someone you fill out an amendment to your pistol permit as does the new owner and you can rest assured they track that gun to every owner it ever has had. If the guy lived in NY and you contact the NYS state police the owner will be found right quick. Here if you lose a pistol you must report asap or you can lose your permit! Shawn
I don't care to keep it, it's not mine. I just want to do everything I can to get it to the owner, if possible. Due to timing of when I found it, and leaving to come home at 3am yesterday morning. I didn't have the opportunity to turn it in to a LE agency in Wyoming. I am now home in Washington.
I will attempt to find the owner and then turn it into the PD here in town if I can't.
the manufacturer wont give out info, only to LE will they do that ... there is a trail of the serial number, where it went, who bought it (Dealer, outlet, purchaser) but only LE is privy to that info I believe ... this is how they track down ownership of firearms used in crimes ..... as a former firearm seller for 20 yrs, I would never give info out to a private party, its none of your business who bought what ... I would tell you to go to the sheriffs dept. and let them handle it.... call first and let them know your coming in ... they may even send a squad to come and retrieve it from you to save you a trip ... btw, the NICS check does NOT include the serial number, but they do ask if it is a long gun or hand gun .... the check can be done via phone or computer when you purchase
Pat, I bought a new rifle this summer. The sales person put the serial number on the form and along with the make/model of the gun.
Just like I posted above, the info is called in and then the form is kept by the seller and the info called in is destroyed. Not held by the government.
Yes, the serial number is on the form, it has to be, but the feds dont get it unless the firearm is used in a crime, then the ATF/LE must contact the mfger who will then tell them who the original dealer was and the paper trail begins, they end up contacting the final seller and then and only then do they find out who purchased the firearm originally .. been there done that on more than one occasion, Ive talked to then ATF/FBI and local LE on more than one occasion when firearms were used in a crime and sold at the store(s) .... the Feds do NOT have the serial number thru the NICS transaction ...
Every law enforcement agency is different. My friend found a handgun this past year and turned it into the sheriff's office for that county. They told him that if the owner didn't come to claim it, it would be destroyed. He could not get it back. Some departments are different. You can check the policies of the various law enforcement agencies that might apply (county sheriff, local police department, game and fish, etc.) and you might find one that will return it to you if not claimed in a certain amount of time. I would pre-shop their policies before you determine which one to work with on it.
So Jeff...... Am I correct in saying that even in States where the government does not require you to register a pistol..... The serial numbers and transaction information is still kept manually.... “Registered” if you will..... at the gun shop where the sale took place ??
Are there any states where you simply walk into the gun shop and buy a pistol.... and no information regarding the transaction is recorded ?
The only way you can buy a gun in the US and not have the SN: registered to you is through the "loop hole" they always talk about, a private sale.
How many of y’all have an FFL and actually know what your sayin?
Fubar, I know what I talk about, I sold fire arms for 20+ yrs before I got out ... all 4473's are kept on file by law at the dealer/seller for a certain number of years .. 5-20yrs to be exact ... the NICS 'request' is 90 days ....
Licensees shall retain each ATF Form 4473 for a period of not less than 20 years after the date of sale or disposition. Where a licensee has initiated a National Instant Background Check System (NICS) check for a proposed firearms transaction, but the sale, delivery, or transfer of the firearm is not made, the licensee shall record any transaction number on the Form 4473, and retain the Form 4473 for a period of not less than 5 years after the date of the NICS inquiry.
[18 U.S.C. 923(g)(1)(A); 27 CFR 478.129(b)]
BIG BEAR, Every person that buys a gun in America, from a licensed gun dealer, always must complete an ATF Form 4473 form (the one where you're asked if you've been convicted of a felony, etc.), so yes there is absolutely a record of every gun sale in the U.S. unless you buy it directly from another individual.
It has been a while since I worked for a gun dealer, but as was said above the forms were never digitally entered anywhere and they never left our (the dealer's) possession unless we went out of business, then they are turned over to ATF. However, if a firearm was used to commit a crime, and they recovered it, they could contact the manufacturer, who would tell them which distributor they sold it to, who could tell them which dealer they sold it to, and they would eventually arrive at the dealer and manually go through the record forms looking for the form completed for that gun (we always kept logs of when each gun came in and was sold to make this process easier). So, they (gov't/law enforcement) definitely could track down who bought a particular gun, it just took them a little work. And no, there is NO state where you can just buy a gun without such a form being completed and ID checked. It's Federal law and has been for decades. (I was apparently writing at the same time as JTV)
One time we had an ATF agent come to our store and review our Form 4473s to locate a particular person. He was not at all happy that someone in our company had sold a gun to a person that wrote "Foot" in the box for "Race", and we didn't catch it. He also was not happy that we allowed people to write "White" in the box for "Race". He said they should write "Caucasian", and that "white" was a color, not a race... It seems that society has now gotten over that difference, since many forms now give you a choice of "white" rather than "caucasian".
About 20 years ago I found a Dan Wesson .357 revolver around the corner from my house. Gave it to my neighbor who was an officer and he turned it in for me. I forgot about the gun until about 90 days later I got a postcard from the PD to pick up the gun as nobody claimed it. Sweet shooting gun too.
Thanks Jeff and StickFlicker. In essence.... Even in States that don’t require pistols to be registered.... If a guy walks into a gun store and a 4473 has to be filled out and kept by the gun store..... The gun is being registered..... right ?
I suspect that if the original poster turns the gun in to his local Police Department..... And the Owner of the pistol is from a state such as Colorado or Wyoming or Alaska, etc.,,,, That has no formal Government pistol registration..... That the pistol owner will be difficult to track down and likely will be destroyed. There may be Law Enforcement Agencies in America that will eventually turn the pistol back over to the finder.... but I would be surprised to hear that in 2019 ..... If the pistol is owned by someone who lives in a State without a pistol registration.... It probably would have a better chance of being reunited with it’s owner if it had been turned in to Law Enforcement in Wyoming in the county where it was lost.
“It probably would have a better chance of being reunited with it’s owner if it had been turned in to Law Enforcement in Wyoming in the county where it was lost.”
I agree, however, I had an ER visit during my hunt and then spent 4 days hobbled in camp. I got out to hunt the next day and I found the pistol that night. I had one more day to hunt and I wasn’t about to waste any of that last day driving into town to turn it in. Then I left for home at 3am the next morning to get home at a decent time.
I’m just trying to do the right thing. The guns value is $1000-1200 from what I can tell. It’s not just a piece of junk. I’ll do what I can to find the owner but not a lot I can do on the weekend.
Yikes.... I hope you’re feeling better Riley......... I kinda figured it’s a big hand cannon for bear protection. Good luck .... I hope it’s reunited with the owner.
If you have a current CCW license in our state you DO NOT have to do the FBI check in.
I would call the manufacture and provide details including my POC info.
Dave, that is not true, at least not here.. EVERYONE who purchase a firearm, Handgun permit or not has to do a 4473 and under go a background check... pretty sure that is the same for all, states, however, I'm only sure that Indiana requires such, permit or not, other states may be different, I havnt researched it ... it use to be we here didnt have to do the full "call in" if you had a permit, however, a problem popped up where permits were revoked, and the holder never relinquished that permit and were still purchasing firearms.... now everyone who purchases thru a FFL dealer has to go thru the NICS check ...
That is evidently a state by state deal
Texas. If you have carry license you just fill the 4473 out , pay for the gun and leave. Already been vetted so no need to do the call in. No way out of 4473 except of course from private sale
Dont have to do the background if you have the CCW in ks
On a side note.... My wife recently moved from Dispatching at our department to the property/evidence room. She regularly has to take guns to the State Police to be destroyed. Most of them are junk but some are nice guns.
I was in her office the other day and noticed she had a pistol that I submitted into evidence a few years ago going into the burn box...... it had brain matter on it,, from a suicide. The family understandably didn’t want it.
Jvt I agree 100% my comment was more for the guys saying it was registered with the fbi I am a current ffl dealer.
If you purchase a gun from a registered FFL dealer in this country, a back ground check form must be filed out and completed. Period. I don't know what planet some of you live on but, it isn't planet earth from some of these responses.
Kansas really isn’t earth though if you think about it lol
Whether you get to keep the gun if the rightful owner isn’t found is going to be entirely up to local law enforcement where you turned it in. I know a guy, he’s my best friend’s brother, whose stolen shotguns were recovered and he had to get an attorney to get them back from the sheriff’s department. Some people don’t like you and I having guns and some of them wear badges.
I could really care less if I get to keep it if it goes unclaimed. What would bother me is to see it destroyed for no good reason.
Well I've been a FFL for 40+ years now in Illinois .... very soon to loose my license do to our new governor and his corrupt ideas .... (long story) ..... anyway a #4473 is a must here and a F.O.I.D. Card from Illinois (Firearm Owners I D card ) is a must and a Call In thru Illinois State Police computer system for Approval or Denial of Sale and a Authorization # issued and posted on the #4473 of the buyer. No Serial # is mentioned in The Call In, only handgun or long gun and not even Model or caliber etc. .... but that info is on The #4473 and stays with the FFL holder till such time they go out of business and sends All Records into ATF ..... ATF does make business visits at times to go over inventory on hand and records of sales and to 'inspect' the FFL's shop ..... My cousin did run a steel plant (CEO) and ATF / FBI and other agencies did bring in scheduled items for 'destruction' (some junk & some not & even some valuable antiques were destroyed) .... a real shame .... I think and this is just me, that it will be very rare for a individual to get firearms back. Even stolen firearms that were recovered, because 'they' look at it as if 'you don't own it anymore because Insurance Company already paid for the loss (and the property would actually be theirs then) ..... ME ??? I would have taken the time and responsibility to turn it into LOCAL Law Enforcement there right away!! .... (that's just me though!)
Tom Gresham had a story recently involving an individual that had his firearms confiscated by the police in an identity mix up. He paid a lawyer thousands to get them back. THEN the police charged him a storage fee.
What I would do is if this was a limited entry draw unit I would contact G&F and get a list of every hunter in the unit. Here in NM it is public record and you have to pay a fee to get the list of other hunters. The list has names, addresses, and phone numbers. Maybe it didn't belong to a hunter but that way you could check. I would contact every one before I ever took a firearm to LE. As stated more often than not if you turn it into the local LE they are going to destroy it. They have real crimes to work on rather than try to find the owner of property. My wife and I had a handgun stolen and the only way to list it was with serial number that we had. No way to look up the number through 4473 or any registration.
Dam and next thing you know some busy body is gonna find where I bury the bodies...;) Wondering where that gun went...
I found a gun in on a road a number of years ago. Had LEO run the serial number several times including a year after I found it to see if reported lost or stolen. Why don’t you do that.
Ive transferred at least 20 firearms into my name this past year, long guns and pistols due to winning them at matches, buying some, and others given to me by sponsors. Yes the serial number will be traceable to the owner if its a relatively recent purchase- If its 30 years old it might never have been registered- just bought over the counter.
My buddy lost a glock while hunting mule deer. Was not happy
Keep us posted on the outcome Riley..... I’m curious to hear how it pans out.
Ended up finding him today. A member on Rokslide saw a post on a closed Facebook group about a guy losing a pistol in Wyoming. He pointed him to me and he described the gun to a T as well as the specific area in the drainage I found it in.
Talked for close to an hour on the phone tonight, real nice guy that set his gear down and the gun fell out of the holster. He picked up his gear and didn’t notice it was gone and when he did, wasn’t able to retrace his steps exactly. They killed a couple elk and he never made it back into the area to look for it. I don’t blame him, it wasn’t an easy area to get to! Glad it worked out.
I’ll do a FFL to FFL transfer to get it back to him. Since I’m in Washington, will probably have to do a background check and all that.
GOOD DEAL! .......... It's nice to know there are honest people yet in the world.
So you found it in WY, transported it to WA crossing state lines, etc..??
Better to turn it in where it was found to avoid any hassles. Police, sheriff are open 24/7 last time I checked.
Glad you found the rightful owner! Good job on your part, Mossyhorn!
What a cool story, you’re a gem Mossy
Good deal! Kudos to you on following up.
Good job Riley. I hope you meet him some day so he can buy you lunch and a beer... or coffee if you don’t drink.
Maybe a start of a long friendship.
All is well that ends well good job Lewis
I love this story, especially since it didn't involve the "authorities" to find the gun's owner. None of my firearms have a paper trail, so it's nice to know there are honest people like Mossy who will go the extra mile to find the rightful owner of a lost gun.
You could have kept your mouth shut and owned a free handgun. But you took the high road, lots of character.
Finding a handgun is like finding a brand new car with keys in it in the middle of nowhere with nobody around...... You don’t just claim it as yours now.
Me personally..... I lost all mine in a tragic boating accident......
Great job, love to see a happy ending. Pretty wild how much bigger..... and smaller..... the world has gotten with technology and such. Not long ago I don't think this would have had a snowballs chance of happening.
WRT gun purchases..... I think I bought and sold a dozen guns before I was 18. I don't recall any paperwork, just walked into the gun store and gave them my money.
Some things time has made some amazing advances. Other things terrible regressions.....
I doubt there are many people, very very few in fact, that would have found a handgun in a place where it would have more than likely been lost by a hunter and then went out of their way to find the owner and return it. A true needle in a haystack! To even remotely be critical of such a guy by insinuating there might have been a better way of turning it in is obsurd!
Good on you Mossy! Very few would have done that. We should all follow your lead.
Solid work man good on you!
Mossy you did a great job of finding the owner of the handgun, I like the way you went about finding the owner instead of just turning it in and not knowing what would of become of it. However if you didn't find the owner in due time you would have had to turned it in, but I'm glad all worked out Well for both of you. Just curious, if you don't mind, what kind and caliber was it.
Good on you!!
I guess we know who’s killing a monster next year! Hope the good karma comes back to you.
Awesome!!!!! I’ll buy you a beer for that one!
Great story and you're a great guy Mossy!
Top Notch effort and results. Great guy right here.
Mighty nice of you Mossy. If I ever lose one, I hope you find it.....
"However if you didn't find the owner in due time you would have had to turned it in"
Guess Im not up on this stuff, but says who???
Fields.... He could have kept it.... But he’d have no idea if it was reported as stolen. Possession of a stolen gun is a crime.
Excellent results! Great work mossy!
Big Bear, never thought of that... thanks. Learn something everyday....
Sure is a small world nowadays with the Internet. Great job finding the owner!
Great job and staying on top of it!!! Kudos!!! Now can you help me find my wallet, last I saw my x had it..lol