Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

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Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby mr_kong » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:22 am

Looking for a little guidance before I call...

I got a notice from the sherriff’s office about a gun I sold that was used in a crime. It apparently came through Colorado. I contacted my FFL dealer and waiting for a reply from him. Yet, I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. I do have some bills of sale that I wrote up to cover my butt a little. I’m also waiting to hear back from an attorney.

Anyone have any advice?
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby JustaShooter » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:32 pm

I wouldn't sweat it. They are hoping you can provide information about who you sold it to so they can keep following that trail and end up at the person who committed the crime. If you do have a bill of sale for it, great, you give them that info. If not, just tell them you sold it, can't remember to whom, and that should be the end of it.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby Brian D. » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:58 pm

Happened to me a few years ago. First purchaser of a Browning Hi Power, I had swapped that gun to my brother 25 years earlier, only reason I remembered the transaction. He left it with his ex-wife upon their divorce.

Flash forward, it had been stolen by the boyfriend of my niece, and used to kill* the girlfriend of one of his criminal cohorts. (I lose anybody yet? Sorry.)

The trace on the gun was done AFTER those two were convicted of the homicide, and some other serious crimes. It had been recovered before the trial, such a trace seemed too late in the proceedings to be of any use, and it was.

The gun later "disappeared" out of the police property room, don't even ask me how I know THAT little detail.

* For all that, the killing was pled down to some degree of manslaughter.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby mr_kong » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:22 pm

Thanks.

So My FFL dealer was of no help (understandable). Gave the Detective a call to get more details and sure enough I found the Bill of sale, and remembered the transaction. Ended up trading it to the guy who subsequently used the gun in a murder. Found the news report easily.

I guess I’ll retain a lawyer for peace of mind.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby WestonDon » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:17 pm

I think retaining a lawyer is a good idea before you have further interaction with the police. Just in case they decide to grill you about your due diligence.

I guess I'm a little cynical.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby Brian D. » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:07 pm

With a personal sale, we have no requirement nor ability to do a background check. What is done with the item after that, be it a gun, car, baseball bat, or tank of propane, whatever, it's really out of the seller's control.

Guess in your situation I'd dial in an attorney versed in that area of law, but wouldn't really expect to need him/her.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby mr_kong » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:47 pm

The detective asked for a copy of the bill of sale and to come in to ID the guy.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby Brian D. » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:23 pm

If things are as simple as they sound, you should be fine. The police are trying to "put the smoking gun" in their suspects hand, so to speak. Hopefully in a more timely, useful manner than my above-described circumstance.

I audio taped my conversation with the detective, who had picked up the case from a coleague that had retired part way through, apparently.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby Brian D. » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:34 pm

Hopefully this all came out alright? Got a follow up for us?
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby Werz » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:47 pm

Brian D. wrote:Hopefully this all came out alright? Got a follow up for us?

I doubt he'll know anything yet. The first notice of consequences may be someone contacting him about testifying in an out-of-state murder trial.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby wls » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:32 am

OK.....a gun that was traded 25 years ago was able to be traced back to the original purchaser! If we don’t have gun registration I don’t know what is. I remember seeing a show a few years ago where the ATF (or FBI ?) showed the warehouse where all the 4473’s were stored and they were complaining that to trace a gun they had to manually go through the records and wanted to computerize them. I thought the government was supposed to keep 4473’s after a certain period of time. Sure sounds like registration to me!
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby wls » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:35 am

Meant to say “get rid of 4473’s after a certain period of time”.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby JediSkipdogg » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:13 am

wls wrote:Meant to say “get rid of 4473’s after a certain period of time”.


The rule is the dealer must keep the for 20 years if a sale is approved and 5 years if a sale is denied. Upon leaving their business, they must turn over all records to the ATF. Now, the ATF has no time frame. So if someone was in business from 1975-2000 and never disposed of their 1978 files, the ATF may still be in possession of them. Likewise, they may have 1981 files still because those were surrendered to them.

Is it registration? I think not as it is only tracking the INITIAL sale of the firearm. Sure, if I decide to go to an FFL and trade in my firearm and have them sell it to someone else it will be in a book or online record. But in the book it would be nearly impossible to trace as you have no starting point to go from. Generally an eTrace for law enforcement starts at the manufacturer. I give the ATF and a serial number, they contact the manufacturer whom will look up in their books who they sold it to and when. Then the next person (usually a distributor) will be called and asked the same thing who will give a dealer name. Then the dealer will check their books and give a name. At that point, the trace is generally done.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby M-Quigley » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:32 pm

In addition to what Jedi said, not all gun traces are for guns used by criminals, and not all individual FFL's are always contacted by ATF. (unless things have changed since I had an FFl, and I bet they might've changed a lot ) When I was a FFL there were two guns that I had sold that were traced. In both cases, the ATF wasn't the agency that contacted me. Both call were from local detectives in their individual jurisdictions. ATF told them that I sold the guns, and the detectives called me. In both cases the guns I sold were used by people defending or attempting to defend themselves from criminals, and those people weren't criminally charged.
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Re: Gun Sold Used in a Crime?

Postby wls » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:27 pm

M-Quigley wrote:In addition to what Jedi said, not all gun traces are for guns used by criminals, and not all individual FFL's are always contacted by ATF. (unless things have changed since I had an FFl, and I bet they might've changed a lot ) When I was a FFL there were two guns that I had sold that were traced. In both cases, the ATF wasn't the agency that contacted me. Both call were from local detectives in their individual jurisdictions. ATF told them that I sold the guns, and the detectives called me. In both cases the guns I sold were used by people defending or attempting to defend themselves from criminals, and those people weren't criminally charged.


But in your example, the ATF originated the inquiry....they knew where the guns were sold.
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