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need advice on giving potential private-sale rifle buyer serial#


Del N. Quent

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I sold a pair of Vaqueros here a couple years ago ... serial# never came up ... 'sept I told him they were consecutive. Sold other guns locally FTF, as well ... never been an issue.

 

Now I got a guy sayin' if I won't give him my rifle's serial#, he won't buy it.

 

Straight off, I figured maybe ... since it's a fairly Ltd. Ed. rifle ... maybe he's hopin' fer "00001" ... so I said it weren't nothin' like that. But he still wants the number.

 

After some googling ... sounds like a couple possibilities ... one is to check if it's stolen (although there don't seem to be a concensus as to whether civilians can do that) ... the other is to claim it was his, and I stole it from him! :mellow:

 

Frankly, I've bought 'n sold a few guns over the years ... some off gunbroker ... there's quite a bit of trust that goes on, there ... as a buyer, I send money, and hope I get a gun shipped back. As a seller, I hope the gun makes it there, and even if it does, I hope the buyer don't claim it didn't, and try to get the money back ... and me with no money, or gun!

 

Luckily, I never had a problem ... yet!

 

As it is, I'm an NRA Life member, and a SASS Life member ... my number right up next to my picture! Whereas, I reckon this other guy's a "Guest"?! :huh:

 

Anyhow, as I said, it's been a couple years since I sold off here ... wondering if things've changed ... is it customary fer the seller to provide the serial# before payment is received?

 

Anyone else run into this? ... what'd you do?

 

Thanks!

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Ask him why he needs it. If he doesn't come up with a satisfactory answer then tell him it isn't any of his business what the number is until it is his gun. I have never had anyone ask the serial number on any gun I have sold.

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Maybe he wants to see when it was made.I just sent a gun. I gave him the SER.#. He did not ask for it,I just sent it.

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Maybe he wants to see when it was made.I just sent a gun. I gave him the SER.#. He did not ask for it,I just sent it.

I hear ya ... but in my initial sale post, I made it quite clear where/when it was made. Like I said, 'bout the only thing like that'd be "00001" 'er such.

 

Regardless, after I told him it weren't nothin' like that, he didn't offer up why he wanted it ... jest said if I wouldn't give it, he'd pass!

 

Frankly, I wouldn't've been overly concerned simply giving it out, in the first place ... but now that's it come up, particularly with no apparent reason to question it, I am concerned!

 

Jest makin' sure things ain't changed in recent years!

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I've seen folks list serial numbers and replace the last 3 or 4 with asterisks (12345678***) That way folks who want to check a manufacture date can do so. Also, sometimes quality control issues are specified by serial number ranges.

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Pretty common to provide, on request, the serial number of any gun you are offering to sell with last 2 or 3 digits replaced with # or X. For most purposes, like establishing a date of production or verifying the model number matches the serial number, that is plenty.

 

Why not just ask him what he needs it for, if he wants the full number? He's probably, as you suspect, a LEO or has a friend who is one, and wants to run the number to make sure it's not a hot gun.

 

If you have paperwork showing how you came into the gun (like the FFL transfer record), you probably don't have much to worry about. If you don't, well, how much do you trust the fellow who sold to you?

 

Good luck, GJ

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Pretty common to provide, on request, the serial number of any gun you are offering to sell with last 2 or 3 digits replaced with # or X. For most purposes, like establishing a date of production or verifying the model number matches the serial number, that is plenty.

 

Why not just ask him what he needs it for, if he wants the full number? He's probably, as you suspect, a LEO or has a friend who is one, and wants to run the number to make sure it's not a hot gun.

 

If you have paperwork showing how you came into the gun (like the FFL transfer record), you probably don't have much to worry about. If you don't, well, how much do you trust the fellow who sold to you?

 

Good luck, GJ

This is already a fairly Ltd. Ed. rifle ... aside from the leading zeros, there's only two digits ... so at that, it's "000000XX"!

 

I bought it new ... I'd hafta look to see if I can find the receipt ... that's all I got with it ... don't recall any "FFL transfer record" ... not one I could take home, anyhow!

 

Ya, he'd have a tough time, even with the serial#, provin' it was ever his. But, then why the American Rifleman, 'er anyone else, X-out the last couple digits? I figure it's to protect the owner. And, as of yet, I'm not hearin' that it's customary fer owners to give up that sorta protection.

 

If it were, I'd reconsider. But that ain't what I'm hearin'. Moreover, the guy don't even have his SASS# up by his picture. From what I see, everyone else does. Not that it means a whole lot. But it does raise an eyebrow.

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I mean, what exactly do you think you are protecting by withholding the serial #?

As I said, it sounds like, with a serial#, someone could report it stolen, and that I'm currently in possession of it.

 

'Til American Rifleman stops X-ing out the numbers, I have a hard time believing there's nothing to it.

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I hang around on the Marlin Owners website. They are very particular about giving out serial numbers. The first few is OK to give out, as on a Marlin the first two numbers subtracted from 100 will tell the year it was made. But, others have been cautioned not to give out complete serial numbers, the reason is someone could use that number and claim that was their gun and it was stolen from them. Then it's up to the real owner to prove it's his gun.

 

I've sold guns where the receiving dealer wants to know who a gun is coming from and what gun it is. Maybe that's why he needs it. If that's the reason, maybe you could give it to the receiving dealer directly.

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I hang around on the Marlin Owners website. They are very particular about giving out serial numbers. The first few is OK to give out, as on a Marlin the first two numbers subtracted from 100 will tell the year it was made. But, others have been cautioned not to give out complete serial numbers, the reason is someone could use that number and claim that was their gun and it was stolen from them. Then it's up to the real owner to prove it's his gun.

 

I've sold guns where the receiving dealer wants to know who a gun is coming from and what gun it is. Maybe that's why he needs it. If that's the reason, maybe you could give it to the receiving dealer directly.

Ya ... we ain't nearly that far along.

 

Certainly, once payment's received ... and cleared the bank ... he can have the serial# ... the gun ... the box ... on a good day, I'd even throw in a few pieces of brass!

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I am awaiting a gun right now, and asked the serial number to tell if it fell into the range of guns that can come to my C&R license. If its a new gun, that might not apply, but if its a commerative/collectible, it might be a case of having to compare it to the C&R list the ATF provides.

DM

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As I said, it sounds like, with a serial#, someone could report it stolen, and that I'm currently in possession of it.

 

'Til American Rifleman stops X-ing out the numbers, I have a hard time believing there's nothing to it.

 

 

Look, do what you want..I regret ever having answered this post and will delete my previous comments.

 

All I will say is that your assumptions on withholding a serial # from a potential buyer are totally wrong.

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Just me, but If I was buying a gun over the internet from a private party I would request the serial number so I could be sure it wasn't listed as stolen from some jurisdiction. If someone requested a ser # from me, I would provide it. As for someone claiming the gun I was selling was stolen I have purchase records for every gun in my possession.

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Just me, but If I was buying a gun over the internet from a private party I would request the serial number so I could be sure it wasn't listed as stolen from some jurisdiction. If someone requested a ser # from me, I would provide it. As for someone claiming the gun I was selling was stolen I have purchase records for every gun in my possession.

 

 

Thanks Bob..You said it better than I did and I agree with you 100%

As a firearms professional, I would never either buy or sell any firearm without knowing or divulging the serial #.There is no reason not to give the serial # unless the gun you are selling is not yours or is on loan professionally, like in the matter of the American Rifleman, which is exactly why they x out serial #'s.

 

On antique guns, it is absolutely mandatory to know the serial # before buying

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I've always requested serial #s for the guns I've bought on the wire (and elsewhere) unless the deal was face-to-face. My FFL requires it to accept a transfer, so I get it before the seller sends the gun - but AFTER we have finalized the deal.

 

Some folks are just nervous nellies - I'll admit I've gotten nervous a time or two when the seller (or more typically his FFL) is slow to ship the goods.

 

That said, I've never risked a sum of money on such a transaction that would be too painful to lose - if I were buying something more dear, like a car, I would absolutely refuse to buy if the seller couldn't (or simply wouldn't) provide me a VIN.

 

Maybe the $ amount is pushing up against the buyer's comfort envelope. I don't see the harm in providing the serial number, unless you are concerned that the gun may be stolen. If so, maybe you have a LEO friend who could run a check...?

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Just me, but If I was buying a gun over the internet from a private party I would request the serial number so I could be sure it wasn't listed as stolen from some jurisdiction. If someone requested a ser # from me, I would provide it. As for someone claiming the gun I was selling was stolen I have purchase records for every gun in my possession.

 

Agreed!

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I've completed transactions on Gunbroker, Guns America, and Auction Arms. I always check the serieal number to verify it is the one I want.

 

Just claiming that a firearm has been stolen from you because you know the serial number just doesn't hold water. If it did, then why wouldn't someone just visit a gunshop with a pencil and a pad of paper? Serial number on my first Glock is BB069.

 

If you don't want to tell, then don't sell to the guy. That's pretty simple.

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Giving out the serial number to a buyer is ok. But, is that all it is, or are you getting a bad "vibe" from this guy?

You mentioned that he's a "guest" on the wire... no problem in just that, but is something else telling you this may not be the deal for you?

 

Sometimes it pays to Listen to your "gut".

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Lemme try and approach this ASSUMING the guy on the other end ain't a crook.

 

Now IF I had been the victim of gun theft, particularly of theft of a limited edition gun, I'd be doing google searches FOREVER on guns like that for sale. Now if I found one for sale, I wouldn't expect I could ask "Hey, did ya steal my gun?" and get a civil reply either because innocents would be insulted or crooks would lie. So by posing as a potential buyer I might elicit the serial number, and if it's a "bingo", I'd have the guy's info I could pass on to the cops and so on, meanwhile stringing the seller along, him thinking I was sending the money. If not, I could invent an excuse to demure, and the seller would be unlikely to be the wiser....

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...the reason is someone could use that number and claim that was their gun and it was stolen from them. Then it's up to the real owner to prove it's his gun.

 

Nope. It's up to the person making the claim to provide the evidence. If someone wants to claim that a particular gun was stolen from him, he's going to have to show that he's the rightful owner and that it was stolen. At the very minimum, he's going to have to produce a copy of the police report of the theft.

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Unbelievable...Some of you guys think a firearm serial # is a protected species or Top Secret

 

There is no valid reason not to give a buyer the serial # of the firearm he is considering purchasing from you.

 

I would never buy any firearm without knowing the serial # and that includes new guns as well as used.

I buy and sell hundreds of guns a year and would never hesiatate to give a buyer the serial # and never have.

 

Paranoia should only go so far.....Your fears are simply ridiculous and unfounded regarding divulging serial #'s to any prospective buyer

 

Again, it is absolutely mandatory on antique firearms

 

In the final analysis, do what you want..If a seller would not give me a serial # on a gun i wanted to buy, I would have nothing further to do with him

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When one goes to gun shows, gun shops, or answers an ad and drives to the sellers house. The serial numbers are there to see. By placing an ad in which the only time a buyer will see and handle the firearm is when he receives it, I see no reason why a seller would not answer all questions from a buyer, including serial #s. For some it maybe as simple as receiving the firearm pictured or described.

I would be less worried by a seller asking questions, including wanting serial numbers, but worried about a seller reluctant to answer all questions, including serial numbers. Giving out serial numbers will not cause identity theft.

And if a seller wants to check against stolen firearms serial numbers, more power to him. MT

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When one goes to gun shows, gun shops, or answers an ad and drives to the sellers house. The serial numbers are there to see. By placing an ad in which the only time a buyer will see and handle the firearm is when he receives it, I see no reason why a seller would not answer all questions from a buyer, including serial #s. For some it maybe as simple as receiving the firearm pictured or described.

I would be less worried by a seller asking questions, including wanting serial numbers, but worried about a seller reluctant to answer all questions, including serial numbers. Giving out serial numbers will not cause identity theft.

And if a seller wants to check against stolen firearms serial numbers, more power to him. MT

 

+1

Thanks Marshal...At least a few rational replies to this post!

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To the OP.....

There is not one thing wrong with a buyer wanting the serial number. It's SOP ;)

Why do you make an issue of this? :rolleyes: Makes NO sense at all :mellow:

I would never buy from someone that would not provide, or stalls with giving me the serial number.

I would wonder what the seller is hiding.......

AND, yes, I can(and DO)have the serial number(s) checked to be SURE it's not a stolen weapon.

What SS sez is 110% CORRECT :excl: It's COMMON SENSE folks :excl:

Respectfully,

LG

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To the OP.....

There is not one thing wrong with a buyer wanting the serial number. It's SOP ;)

Why do you make an issue of this? :rolleyes: Makes NO sense at all :mellow:

I would never buy from someone that would not provide, or stalls with giving me the serial number.

I would wonder what the seller is hiding.......

AND, yes, I can(and DO)have the serial number(s) checked to be SURE it's not a stolen weapon.

What SS sez is 110% CORRECT :excl: It's COMMON SENSE folks :excl:

Respectfully,

LG

 

Lumpy,

 

I'm curious, how do you check to see if a firearm is stolen? Are you an LEO? Just curious.

 

Buckeye Pete :FlagAm:

 

As to the original post question, when asked, I provide the full serial number to a prospective buyer. If posting on a forum, I'll "xxx" the last numbers of the serial number. ;)

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Lumpy,

 

I'm curious, how do you check to see if a firearm is stolen? Are you an LEO? Just curious.

 

Buckeye Pete :FlagAm:

 

As to the original post question, when asked, I provide the full serial number to a prospective buyer. If posting on a forum, I'll "xxx" the last numbers of the serial number. ;)

 

Do you have any friends that are LEO's? ;)

Cheers,

LG

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I can only suspect that this revelation might not be too popular and could actually go over as well as a "box of rocks" for some,

but, here goes....

 

Using the resources afforded Law Enforcement Officers to "look up" information outside of a legitimate investigation is really NOT an OK thing to be doing or asking of someone in that might be in a position to do so.

Expecting that your friend the LEO would do this "favor" for you can readily result in thier dismissal from thier position -AND- the fairly high likely-hood of thier reprimand , and maybe even thier prosecution for misuse of a restricted Law Enforcement ONLY resource.

ALL use of these databases is monitored and traceable. You all know that we don't exist in the world portrayed in the movies & on the TV set.

If you pay even moderate attention you can often read about folks that have access to these resources being burned for casual use of the aforementioned database information.

Think about it, even though your friend or acquiantance is willing to perform the action does not mean that they aren't risking the job that feeds thier family and protects yours, but also thier freedom and possibly, the respect of thier peers.

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Internet gun purchases requires an act of faith by the BUYER. When buying a gun from someone I don't know I am gambling that he is honest and ship me the gun when he recieves my funds. If he doesn't well at best I might get my money back after a protracted legal fight. At worst, well bye bye birdie. Pictures are just that, pictures.

 

The seller is risking nothing as he can wait until the check clears before shipping the gun. Providing the serial number upon request is a way establishing your honesty.

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If one is looking to purchase a limited edition firearm, or a firearm from a particular time period, region of the world, and/or country, or made in a particular factory configuration,and has knowledge of the range of serial numbers based on research, having that complete serial number is critical. In fact, there are a number of resources that one can request a serial number search and find out the factory configuration of that particular serial number, as part of validation of the sellers description. Which can impact the price, time and the potential sale of the firearm.

 

This is a good subject that will help others that are reading it.

 

Oklahoma Dee

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Internet gun purchases requires an act of faith by the BUYER. When buying a gun from someone I don't know I am gambling that he is honest and ship me the gun when he recieves my funds. If he doesn't well at best I might get my money back after a protracted legal fight. At worst, well bye bye birdie. Pictures are just that, pictures.

 

The seller is risking nothing as he can wait until the check clears before shipping the gun. Providing the serial number upon request is a way establishing your honesty.

 

 

 

You can also check a seller's Feedback and sales history on an auction site, i.e. Gunboker,Posted by people that have purchased from this seller before.

Believe me, Auction site sellers take Feedback very seriously

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On the other hand, keep the E-mail. If he tries to report it as a stolen gun you have dated evidence you gave it to him before he reported it.

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