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  #1  
Old 02-09-2019, 11:43 PM
magazineman magazineman is offline
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What if I find a gun?

I find stuff all the time. Money, pocket knives, people's keys, phones, jewelry, etc. I'm just instinctively scanning without thinking about it. Today's find was a Snap-On 9/16 socket w/ extension.

Anyhow, if I find a gun (I've twice found empty cases) I'll report it as it could be evidence or it could be returned to it's rightful owner.

But what happens if it's none of the above? It would be Finders Keepers if it was a fly reel, but does a firearm ever become the property of the finder?

Note that I'm in CA and hold a CCW license.
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2019, 03:45 AM
toofew1911s toofew1911s is offline
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You would turn it in - even if it was a CZ TSO???

I get slightly nauseous at the thought.

Just to add something to your question - I once lost a brand new 6" blue Colt Python from the back of my motorcycle. I ended up driving miles and miles along the streets I had driven on looking for it and managed to find the spot and the gun just as a man had reached down and picked it up in its original box that was lying in the middle of the street. It would have been interesting if I had arrived 5 minutes later, so I am interested in the answers you may get to your question.
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  #3  
Old 02-10-2019, 07:49 AM
Plantar5 Plantar5 is offline
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Interesting hypothetical question. There’s some big ‘ ifs’ . Once LE has it, I’m sure it would be run thru whatever database they use for any crime or if serialized who the original owner was, depending on where it’s found out f course. If no serial #, I doubt they would release it to you.

You might have a claim to it, but only after it was investigated, and if the weapon had a serial number, was compliant, and you had a lawful firearm permit to acquire it.

That could easily takes years.

If it’s a rusted out non functional item, I’m sure there’d be some degree of investigation but if it qualified as a non functional “wall hanger” maybe they’d release it to you.

Last edited by Plantar5; 02-10-2019 at 08:09 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-10-2019, 10:51 AM
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Kevin Rohrer Kevin Rohrer is offline
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It depends on what your state criminal code says, and what the local Prosecutor, Police Chief/Sheriff wants to do. Firearms can usually be traced back to their last owner.
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  #5  
Old 02-10-2019, 10:57 AM
yeti yeti is offline
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I highly doubt that you would ever actually get possession of said find after it is turned in. It will likely be destroyed, held as evidence, or if stolen property - the owner notified & held.
The rightful owner may not even get the firearm back even after petitioning the court.

Too risky to keep. You may be connected to some crime in that area years from now.
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  #6  
Old 02-10-2019, 11:23 AM
jjfitch jjfitch is offline
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Ethics and the rule of law apply here.

Of course you can keep found property. A gun carries a serial number and can be traced (sometimes!) The gun can be kept in your safe and transported to a private range in hopes that you are not stopped and questioned about the firearms you are transporting. Yes, serial numbered property is usually run through the "system" to determine rightful owners! This creates some embarrassing questions and answers and could include criminal charges!

Keeping property that can be connected to criminal activity presents a whole other issue!

While leaving a range a few years ago I saw a new boxed S/A XD sitting on a table and no one around! I left a message describing a "gun left at the range"! I was contacted a few days later. Besides the fact I have no use for that style of firearm the look on his face when I handed him his gun was priceless. We have been friends ever since and I put my head on my pillow every night knowing I did the "right thing"!

Smiles,
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Last edited by jjfitch; 02-10-2019 at 11:45 AM.
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  #7  
Old 02-10-2019, 10:51 PM
magazineman magazineman is offline
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I said in my post that I would turn it in.

I could not keep a gun that may solve a murder case or could be returned to the rightful owner. There's no question or moral dilemma for me on that.

My query was about what happens if no owner can be found by the police/DOJ and no crimes are linked to it?

Could I possibly become the owner, provided I meet all the legal requirements for gun ownership?

Because I could keep any other found, then unclaimed, object.
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  #8  
Old 02-10-2019, 10:55 PM
magazineman magazineman is offline
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Toofew1911's, Yes, I would turn in ANY found gun no matter the desirability or value. CZ TSO, Colt Python, Whatever. Someone is missing it, and/or it could solve a crime.

Unless it's an ancient relic I dig up in the desert while metal detecting.
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  #9  
Old 02-10-2019, 11:45 PM
toofew1911s toofew1911s is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magazineman View Post
Toofew1911's, Yes, I would turn in ANY found gun no matter the desirability or value. CZ TSO, Colt Python, Whatever. Someone is missing it, and/or it could solve a crime.

Unless it's an ancient relic I dig up in the desert while metal detecting.
Of course you would. Just making fun of my latest CZ TSO obsession. And I'm the same way - like you, if I found an ancient relic in the desert like King Tut's personal revolvers, I would keep them.
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  #10  
Old 02-11-2019, 11:44 AM
Steven K Steven K is offline
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There should be no question, you call the local PD and have a LEO retrieve the weapon. Besides being the right thing to do you may be looking a huge problem down the road had the gun been used in a crime.
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  #11  
Old 02-11-2019, 01:56 PM
magazineman magazineman is offline
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Steven, For the Third time, THERE WAS NEVER ANY QUESTION about whether to turn it in. OF COURSE I'd turn it in.

The ONLY question is if it's possible that I could ever obtain legal ownership.

------toofew1911's. Yes, Tut's revolvers are cool but I can't figure out the hieroglyphic roll marks on the damn things. What's Hawk-Eye-Cat mean?
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  #12  
Old 02-11-2019, 02:01 PM
USMM guy USMM guy is online now
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A lot could depend on circumstances.

If I am walking down Pontiac avenue in Detroit one night. And I hear a bunch of shots fired. And five minutes later a car comes screaming by and some guy throws a gun out the window. I likely will not go anywhere near it. But If I am hiking on some remote BLM land. And I happen upon a Winchester 1873 leaning up against a tree miles from the nearest road. Then yes I would likely keep it.

Last edited by USMM guy; 02-11-2019 at 07:31 PM.
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  #13  
Old 02-11-2019, 03:23 PM
Brian Dover Brian Dover is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magazineman View Post
Steven, For the Third time, THERE WAS NEVER ANY QUESTION about whether to turn it in. OF COURSE I'd turn it in.

The ONLY question is if it's possible that I could ever obtain legal ownership.

------toofew1911's. Yes, Tut's revolvers are cool but I can't figure out the hieroglyphic roll marks on the damn things. What's Hawk-Eye-Cat mean?
I seriously doubt the police in most places would even consider handing the gun back over to whoever turned it in under such circumstances. It would be auctioned off, destroyed, or "disappear" out of the police property room, depending on a few factors such as state laws, value, local political bent of the region, etc.
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  #14  
Old 02-11-2019, 06:59 PM
toofew1911s toofew1911s is offline
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Well, for one thing, if a person found a gun - he would not be the legal owner of the gun nor would he have gone through any legal checks required to purchase a firearm. So the best law enforcement could do I imagine is hand the gun over to a legal NFL holder and have him do a legal transfer. Could anyone really imagine law enforcement going to all that trouble to actually do something like that? I think not.

Now on the other hand, if someone picked up a gun like the gun I just lost off the back of my motorcycle - just having purchased it legally from a gun store an hour before - and turned it in to law enforcement and I then showed up to report lost firearm, I would expect after a quick check to get that firearm back in my hands. Unduly optimistic? I don't think so in that case. At most they would hold it for a while to check and make sure it hadn't been used in a crime, even though just purchase an hour earlier.
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  #15  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:41 PM
Plaidad Plaidad is offline
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This does happen. I was talking with one of our local deputies, and he told me this story. In our area, non-violent inmates are used to pick up litter along the highway, supervised by DOT personnel. One of the inmates spotted a pistol lying in the median and called it the supervisors attention. They called a deputy to pick it up, and he took it back to the office. They ran it through every database they have access to. It has not been used in a crime that they can tell, nor has it been reported stolen. It's still in the evidence locker at the sheriff's office. He doesn't know what will happen to it if they don't hear anything.
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  #16  
Old 02-11-2019, 08:57 PM
LocoGringo LocoGringo is offline
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Since you're in California, I doubt they'd give you any chance to try to claim it even if everything checked out that it's not been reported lost or stolen, used in a crime or anything else. I have no actual experience, but given the anti-gun sentiment of the California government, I don't see them releasing a gun out on the streets to someone who lays claim to "lost property"...even if that is the person who turned it in to be checked as a responsible citizen.
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  #17  
Old 02-11-2019, 09:37 PM
toofew1911s toofew1911s is offline
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We need a "lost and found" for guns. Even as we speak, here in my neighboring city people are busy looking for a Springfield XD that a CCW carrier lost while in the midst of a well publicized public snowball fight scheduled in a public park. I have 2 feet of snow on the ground around and on my house and still snowing, so people were taking advantage of the weather to have some fun. Now there is a lost handgun somewhere in the snow at a Public Park - I assume with the owner and lots of others are looking for it.
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  #18  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:23 PM
magazineman magazineman is offline
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Looking in the snow? Cripes, call the local metal detecting club.

------ Now on my hypothetical Found Gun, I guess nobody really knows. But I would sure lobby hard to get it if it was a worthwhile gun.

Twice I've pulled over for gun cases. Both were empty One's a zippered handgun case that I still use, the other was a soaking wet rifle case that I left where it was.

But both times, for a moment, I thought I had found a gun.

USMMguy--------- Your scenario, with the nearby shooting in the 'hood, I WOULD "go near" the gun. I would watch over it until the police came to retrieve it.

Not leaving it there for some kid to find. I suspect that you'd do the same.
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  #19  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:27 PM
magazineman magazineman is offline
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Note, I used to drive my baby daughter to the ghetto for Grandma-Daycare very early every morning.

I would scan for just that, guns that had been chucked out of cars. I figured that sooner or later I'd find one. Then one morning ------ there it was! A big shiny chrome gat lying right in the middle of Woodman ave!

Turns out it was a very nice Stanley staple gun. I still use it!
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  #20  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:32 PM
scubadad scubadad is offline
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When I was the locksmith at the car auction all property was considered abandoned after 10 days. We found guns from time to time. Some were turned in like the hi-point I found and others were kept by the finders (against company policy).

According to the police here in ohio they would check and see if it was stolen and if not try and contact the owner to return it. The pd is not a ffl so they can not legally transfer ownership to you if it is not claimed.

Most of the guns I found over 10 years were mostly junk. Now if I found a pristine model 29 or python then we would not be having this conversation.
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  #21  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:37 PM
jjfitch jjfitch is offline
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No way to claim...firearm!

Quote:
Originally Posted by magazineman View Post
I said in my post that I would turn it in.

I could not keep a gun that may solve a murder case or could be returned to the rightful owner. There's no question or moral dilemma for me on that.

My query was about what happens if no owner can be found by the police/DOJ and no crimes are linked to it?

Could I possibly become the owner, provided I meet all the legal requirements for gun ownership?

Because I could keep any other found, then unclaimed, object.
In the jurisdiction I'm familiar with it would remain in found property. If unclaimed after a specified period it could be destroyed or put into service depending on the firearm.

I saw lots of very fine firearms destroyed because they went years without being claimed (and evidence, including firearms turned in by citizens). Two deputies accompanied all firearms to be destroyed.

Exceptions would have to be signed out by deputies and could only be used for department duties.

In this jurisdiction I don't know of any situation where any property would be turned over to the finder.

All the best,
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Last edited by jjfitch; 02-11-2019 at 10:39 PM.
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  #22  
Old 02-11-2019, 11:37 PM
USMM guy USMM guy is online now
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I am guessing that you have never been to Detroit Mag man.

Quote:
Originally Posted by magazineman View Post
Looking in the snow? Cripes, call the local metal detecting club.

------ Now on my hypothetical Found Gun, I guess nobody really knows. But I would sure lobby hard to get it if it was a worthwhile gun.

Twice I've pulled over for gun cases. Both were empty One's a zippered handgun case that I still use, the other was a soaking wet rifle case that I left where it was.

But both times, for a moment, I thought I had found a gun.

USMMguy--------- Your scenario, with the nearby shooting in the 'hood, I WOULD "go near" the gun. I would watch over it until the police came to retrieve it.

Not leaving it there for some kid to find. I suspect that you'd do the same.
If you have been, then you would first of all not be out walking around after dark. And secondly if such a scenario as I described did actually occur. If you had any brains at all you would be doing your all out best to vacate the area ASAP. First point is that if any of the upstanding citizens in the fleeing vehicle happened to see you witnessing their disposing of said firearm. Then they may reconsider that having a witness to this fact may be something that they might like to eliminate. Secondly if you do decide to take the high road in motor city. Insofar as bringing in the PoPos to document this event. Then you are pretty likely to be waiting around for a very long time for them to show up, if they ever do at all. Good, bad or otherwise Detroit MI does not nearly have the tax base that your neighborhood does. And police protection is clearly reflected in that.
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  #23  
Old 02-12-2019, 08:07 AM
earlwb earlwb is offline
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If you found a gun and turned it in, it may be possible to get to keep it if no one comes to claim it as its rightful owner. That would only happen in states that support the 2A and if the city or county supports the 2A too. But you would have to go through the background check somehow. I guess the police would have a FFL process you so you could get it. It used to be that some gun dealers would buy up the unclaimed guns from time to time from the police. So that FFL would likely do it for you.
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  #24  
Old 02-12-2019, 01:43 PM
USMM guy USMM guy is online now
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You mean to say...

Quote:
Originally Posted by magazineman View Post
I figured that sooner or later I'd find one. Then one morning ------ there it was! A big shiny chrome gat lying right in the middle of Woodman ave!

Turns out it was a very nice Stanley staple gun. I still use it!
That you did not turn it in?
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  #25  
Old 02-12-2019, 04:25 PM
L.E. L.E. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magazineman View Post
The ONLY question is if it's possible that I could ever obtain legal ownership.
In southern California? Not gonna happen. I'd bet a sizeable chunk of dough that if not claimed by the rightful owner, it would be destroyed. Government always knows best.
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