Best Answer
In the US
  • Call your local police/sheriff and ask them to check it for you. They will need the serial number, manufacturer, model, and caliber. This is important, since the same number may have been used by different manufacturers. Some manufacturers may have used the same number ranges for different product lines.

    If you are unsure what kind of gun it is, check with a gunsmith or a gun dealer. Do not rely on the police to figure that out; they are law enforcement professionals, not firearms experts.

    If the gun has no serial number - due to being produced before this was required - but is unique in some way, police may still have it listed as stolen property, but it's a long shot.

  • The NCIC (National Crime Information Center) database contains, among other things, information on stolen firearms but it is only accessible by law enforcement. This is likely what the local police will check, along with their own lists of stolen property and evidence.
  • Be aware that most law enforcement agencies will not give you information over the phone. They would, at the very least, like to know your identity to make sure you are not a thief checking to see if the gun is "hot". In some cases it may be a violation of state law to give out information from criminal history databases.
  • Should the gun be determined to be stolen, you will most likely have to surrender it to the police. Be prepared to answer lots of questions regarding how and where you bought it. Police have a great deal of interest in people selling stolen property.
  • If the gun appears to have had a serial number at one time, but it is ground off, or otherwise defaced - get away from the person trying to sell it to you as fast as possible. It is almost guaranteed to be either stolen or used in a crime. Removing serial numbers from a firearm is a Federal crime in itself, and if police discover such a gun in your possession, you have a very real chance of being convicted.
  • Many stolen guns cannot be identified because the owner didn't know the serial number, didn't report the theft, or it is an older gun without a number.
  • There are online databases of stolen guns. These rely on voluntary submissions from gun owners and therefore should be used with caution. They may not be up to date and may not be correct.
In Australia
  • Local law enforcement is the best bet.
In Canada
  • Again, local law enforcement is your best bet. They have access to the lists of stolen property and the Canadian Firearms Registry.
User Avatar

Wiki User

2011-03-04 19:40:44
This answer is:
User Avatar
Study guides


1 card


See all cards
6 Reviews

Add your answer:

Earn +20 pts
Q: How can you find out if a firearm is stolen?
Write your answer...
Still have questions?
magnify glass
Related questions

How do you find your stolen registered firearm?

After you report it to the police, you wait and hope.

Can you be aressted if a firearm is stolen?

If you're found to be in possession of a stolen firearm, expect to be taken into custody. If their investigation determines that you were knowingly in possession of a stolen firearm, then you'll be charged.

What do you do with a missing or stolen firearm?

Report it.

How do you find out if your stolen firearm has been pawned?

Only if you go to the pawn shop you suspect it to have been pawned at.

Where would I look to find out if a firearm is legal according to the serial number?

Contact your local police. If it has been reported stolen to the police they can find out.

Is being in possession of a a stolen firearm a felony?


How do you find stolen gun serial numbers?

Was thinking of buying a used firearm to defend my home from invasion. But how do I know if its stolen? Call your local police department and have them check it in NCIC. You may have to bring it in so they can confiscate it if it is stolen.

Is it a crime to use a stolen firearm in self defense?

yes it is

How do you report a stolen firearm?

call local law enforcement

What website do you check to find out if a firearm is stolen?

Sorry- there IS no website where you can positively determine that a firearm is not stolen. Law enforcement uses the NCIC system, but that is NOT available to private persons. Local law enforcement MAY be willing to run the serial number of the gun through NCIC, but will need to have possession of the gun while doing it. In case it IS stolen, they have it.

How do you find out if a firearm is clean for purchase?

No standard method- as a private citizen, you cannot access the police computer database of stolen property.

Is this firearm stolen colt 1851 cap and ball?

You will have to contact the police to see if it has been reported stolen.

People also asked