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How to track the serial number of a gun

Updated February 21, 2017

Gun manufacturers stamp a serial number on every gun they make. The number can be used to trace gun transactions like purchases from a firearms store. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives keeps a database of gun serial number for law enforcement purposes. However, as of 2010, no public database that lists gun serial numbers is available. You can find out information about your gun through several resources if you're willing to put in a little legwork.

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  1. Call the gun's manufacturer and ask it to look up the history of your gun. The company will most likely only be able to provide you with basic information about the gun such as where and when it was manufactured. It may also be able to give you the name of the person or entity who first registered the gun.

  2. Check to see if your gun has been stolen. Click on the Florida Crime Information Center's Public Access System. Type your gun's serial number into the search box and then click "Submit Search." If a record shows a gun as being stolen, verify with your local law enforcement agency that the information in the database is current. You can also run the serial number through StolenWeapon.Com's Stolen Gun Search. You'll have to register to view the results.

  3. Visit your local police department and ask it to run the gun's serial number through its database. The record should be able to tell you whom the gun has been registered to since the date of manufacture.

  4. Tip

    If you can't find a serial number on your gun, look inside your owner's manual: the serial number may be listed inside it.

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About the Author

Stephanie Ellen

Stephanie Ellen teaches mathematics and statistics at the university and college level. She coauthored a statistics textbook published by Houghton-Mifflin. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science in health science from State University New York, a master's degree in math education from Jacksonville University and a Master of Arts in creative writing from National University.

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