Part of being a responsible gun owner is keeping careful track of your firearms and securing them properly. Most gun owners do exactly that, but even the most careful and conscientious firearms enthusiast can occasionally fall victim to theft.
It is absolutely vital that you take the appropriate next steps if you are the victim of a firearms theft. There is an extremely high probability that your gun will be used to commit another crime later.
Prepare For The Worst
By definition, the person who is stealing the gun is a criminal. In fact, according to one
Bureau of Justice Statistics report, the vast majority of the guns that criminals use are taken from people’s homes and cars.
Less than 2% of criminals obtain firearms from retail sources. One report called the number of firearms being stolen in the United States “
staggering,” noting that approximately 380,000 firearms are stolen from gun owners each year. Obtain The Serial Number
If you don’t already have the gun’s serial number, you can contact the shop where you purchased the gun.
You do this so you can add the gun’s serial number to your crime reports. If the gun is found again you want that exact gun to link right back to your stolen firearms reports. You’ll also need the serial number for insurance purposes.
Report The Crime Immediately
First, of course, you should report the stolen gun to the local police within 24 hours. This step is required under New York law. New York law even requires you to report the theft of ammunition, let alone the firearm itself.
Be sure to get a copy of a police report. But don’t stop there.
If you have federal firearms license you have from just 48 hours of discovery to report the theft to the
ATF. And you should report the theft to the ATF even if you only have a state license.
You do this because the ATF will keep a record of the theft. This will prove invaluable if that gun ends up as a murder weapon later. You will be able to show a police officer, a district attorney, a judge, or a jury that you did what you were supposed to do and that the gun was very likely not in your possession at the time when the crime was committed.
If you do not report the crime appropriately you yourself have committed a crime, even if the gun never shows up anywhere else. Please keep this in mind.
Don’t Expect To Get The Gun Back
Police officers are not going to get out there and hunt down your gun for you. Even if they find it, by then it will be evidence in a criminal court case.
They won’t even give it back if they recover during a traffic stop. For the most part, you should expect to have to purchase another firearm if you want to replace the one you lost.
It’s not exactly fair, but it’s the way that stolen guns work.
Get A Criminal Lawyer If You Need One
Some of our clients have been shocked when a gun has turned up at a crime scene, because they never realized the gun was stolen. Or they knew the gun was stolen but did not know the law and so failed to make a report.
If either set of facts describes you, you’re going to need help from a criminal defense attorney. Don’t waste another minute. Reach out to our law firm today. Gun crimes carry serious, life-changing consequences, but our experienced attorneys can help bring your case to its best possible outcome.
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