If you have reason to believe a gun may be stolen or need verification of the model and type, you can use the gun's serial number. This is called a firearm serial number search, which provides you with a complete history of the gun, including whether it has been purchased used. In this search, you run the gun's serial number through a state stolen property database or an online stolen gun database.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Obtain the serial number of the gun, if it is not in your possession. The serial number is stamped on the barrel for most guns. It may also be found on the slide or on the trigger guard.
Go to a Stolen Gun Search Tool online or the Crime Information Center for your state, if available.
Enter the serial number for the gun in the text box. Click the "Search" button to search the database.
Contact your local policy department or your state police. Ask them to run a search of the serial number for the gun through the National Crime Information Center. You may need to take the gun to the police department in person.
Tips and warnings
- Contact the manufacturer of the firearm and provide them with the serial number.
- Many states do not have a stolen property database that is open to the public.
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