Colt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've noticed that when many post a firearm's serial number within a forum thread they do not post the complete number and in many cases end it with XXX. Is there felt to be a danger with ones security in posting the full number?

Just curious.

Pete
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,351 Posts
Mostly paranoia. I don't know of a single incident of anyones misuse of posted serial numbers, but I suppose someone will eventually find a way to profit from "stolen" serial numbers. Perhaps some fear they may unknowingly possess a stolen firearm.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,709 Posts
Personal preferences. Some folks simply don't like providing full identification of their possessions on a public forum, IMHO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,186 Posts
One man's paranoia is another man's prudence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
I always thought it was so someone couldn't report the firearm stolen from them and then gain possession of said firearm, as it was said in another page the NCIS isn't perfect and it could cause alot of headaches otherwise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
382 Posts
I always thought it was so someone couldn't report the firearm stolen from them and then gain possession of said firearm, as it was said in another page the NCIS isn't perfect and it could cause alot of headaches otherwise.
this a good point. my thought was no good could come of it, so why post it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
Pete you beat me to this question. I was thinking the same thing after the great ? vs X debate on another thread. I don't see how a guns serial number could be used against you. Unless you happened upon a stolen gun and someone noticed it. I guess I am a little more cautious than that in regards to whom I buy guns from.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,774 Posts
There have been many threads on this subject. The issue is, anyone could be in possesion of a stolen gun-there's just no way to know for sure(unless you bought it direct from the factory or personally knew the entire history of the gun). So if someone had a gun(s) stolen and he kept his list of serial numbers and He's been looking for his stolen guns,He could see the number and then report that you have his gun. Then if it had been reported to police, even years ago, they could come to your house and take the gun from you and of course you would get no compensation for it.Youd have to try and get the money from who sold it to you and if he probably didnt know it was stolen either,so He wouldnt be in a hurry to give you your money back and he may not have any legal obligation to do so.
Of course you could think-If I have a stolen gun and the owner sees the serial number and He(and the police records) can prove it is his, then I'll take the monetary loss and give the gun back to him. I'd rather lose the money than have a stolen gun in my possesion.
That's probably the best policy but many apparently do not think so.
And of course there's always the chance of wrong info. in the report etc. where you might loose a gun that really wasnt stolen but was still listed on the registry.
So I think the above reasons are why some dont show the complete serial number on a gun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,411 Posts
Just 'cause you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you... :D

Buck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,597 Posts
As mentioned earlier this issue comes up pretty regularly. FWIW, below is a composite answer from myself and a friend of mine when it came up recently on another forum.

I am going to have to respectfully disagree about the possibility for foul play. I never use the dreaded XXX when discussing my own firearms on line. Call me crazy but I have never, ever heard of a genuine instance where there was some blow-back because of someone posting a complete serial number.

Here is why I oppose the practice on Forums. Forums like this are intended, in part, to exchange information, to foster learning, and to contribute to the body of knowledge on a given subject. For a full understanding of a weapon a complete serial number is usually essential. Most firearms, and this is especially true of military firearms, usually go through an evolution in their design and manufacture. For students of the weapon it is important to know when those changes were made and why. Serial numbers provide distinct data points that can lead to clarity on when these changes occur. That kind of information in turn allows one to be able to assess the originality and authenticity of a weapon under discussion, and that is what collectors are often most concerned with.

On this subject I have some firsthand experience. With another collector I maintain the S&W Victory Model Database, which also includes the pre-Victory guns. For years we have collected, on a confidential basis, thousands of serial numbers along with other data including finish, barrel length, caliber, stock type, markings, modifications, and factory letter shipping data. We don't accept partial serials for this study as we have found them to be pretty much useless. We also do not record the sources of our data as that information is irrelevant. The flip side of this is that collectors who assist us are able, in turn, to get from us the most accurate data available on these guns, short of a factory letter on a particular gun.

Guys who are far more serious researchers would be dead in the water in their efforts without accurate and complete serial number information. Ask US weapon researchers/authors Scott Duff, Charlie Pate, Charles Clawson, Scott Meadows, John Brunner or Bruce Canfield if they would prefer the generality of an XXX number or the specificity of a complete serial. I think their reaction is pretty predictable. I submit that none of those guys would have been able to have published books that were anywhere near as complete, meaningful, and authoritative as they are if they had been saddled with XXXs. And the guys buying and relying on those books would not want that generality either.

If someone selling a firearm wants to use XXX in his advertisement or listing he surely has the right to do so. I personally think it is kind of silly and I would never buy a firearm without getting a complete serial number first, but I won't directly criticize anyone who wants to follow that sales practice. I am also occasionally puzzled by the collectors who post seeking opinions on a firearm but do not want to reveal the numbers. Trying to help someone under those circumstances can be rather frustrating. I have other reasons to challenge this practice but this ought to do for now.

In online Forums like ours here I greatly prefer seeing the complete serial and applaud the guys who are willing to provide that kind of complete data. That free exchange of information helps us all.

As a researcher and author I too find complete serial numbers essential. I keep pretty extensive databases of all guns that interest me, primarily U.S. martial handguns. Not only are they useful for publishing articles and books, they also serve to tie down specific details like changes in markings or other features. They have also served to help me or others avoid buying refinished or fake guns. I'll see a gun in 50% condition sell on one of the auction sites and then a few months later it shows up again as a 99% gun. It is not uncommon to find early WWII vintage Colt M1911A1 pistols with the slide and frame mismatched and, believe it or not, I've been able to help collectors get the correct slides back on the right frame. Twice I've put original S&W Registered Magnum revolvers back with their original box and certificate which more than doubled their value. This kind of thing is only possible if I am able to record complete serial numbers.

Jim Supica is the Director of the NRA's National Firearms Museum. For many years he was a firearms dealer and auctioneer. He has on several occasions made the point that of the thousands of guns he has listed for sale on his website and in auction catalogs he has never once had an issue with displaying complete serial numbers. He also happens to be a lawyer and has said that it stretches credibility to the breaking point that anyone could fake a police report and somehow assert claim to good title based on a picture on the internet.

Having said all that, I respect others' rights to X them out. Just know that in most cases you are only saying "look what I bought" and not advancing the knowledge base in any way.

Regards,
Kevin Williams
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
hi, i have the best reason-when i worked in kern county(many years ago) i had a call concerning a stolen pistol; it was a very rare and expensive revolver. this is how the story starts-the owner listed it for sale online and had the serial numbers exposed; the seller also posted in the ad he would not be able to return e mails as he will be hunting in Alaska until the following week. a would be buyer had his girlfriend-(a secreatary) ran the serial number through a police computer and got a hold of the owners name address. well- you know what ensued by now. yup, his safe was yanked out of his garage! the ad also had several rare pistol's being showed off in the background along with one shot that showed the safe and the obvious scene of a garage.. we only foiled the caper becuase the secratery came clean after she was arrested a week later for running a vehicle license plate on a rare collector car that had lo-jack tracking. so this is my excuse based on personal experience...if your pistol is registered to you and you leave the numbers out-someone can get a TON of your personal information-all of it as a matter fact!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,774 Posts
I had 3 handguns stolen from my apartment about 37 years go. I still have the serial numbers on a piece of paper. Could be the police papers arent even saved after so many years. But it would be something if I saw one them for sale on the internet or some gun shop.
That would be quite the surprise. Id probably let the seller know it was my gun and show him the paper that I gave the police back then (if I can still find it).I probably couldnt lay claim to it (for nothing),because i did have renters insurance and they paid something for the guns that were stolen. So Im not sure how that would work legally.
Id probably buy it back -it would be interesting to get a report seeing how many times it changed hands and if the transfer records could still be found it might even lead back to who stole the guns.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,009 Posts
I had 3 handguns stolen from my apartment about 37 years go. I still have the serial numbers on a piece of paper. ...But it would be something if I saw one them for sale on the internet or some gun shop. ... Id probably let the seller know it was my gun and show him the paper that I gave the police back then (if I can still find it).I probably couldnt lay claim to it (for nothing),because i did have renters insurance and they paid something for the guns that were stolen. So Im not sure how that would work legally.
Insurance policies I have read typically have a "subrogation clause" or "right of recoupment clause," to the effect that if your own insurer pays you for a loss, then you get a recovery for the same matter elsewhere, the insurer is entitled to all of its money back. Policies also have "duty to cooperate" clauses, requiring that you cooperate with the insurer to get its money back whenever possible.

So, after your gun was stolen, your insurer (probably your homeowners or renters insurance policy) paid you for the gun under the theft coverage. If you later recover the gun, you have a duty to cooperate and inform the insurer of your recovery, at which time a subrogation claim will be triggered by the insurer against you, the insured. The insurer will want you to repay what they paid you for the gun because when the insurer paid you for the gun, title to the gun transferred to the insurer. It is unlikely that the insurer would want to keep the gun, because guns are way outside day-to-day insurance business. If the gun's condition has declined substantially while the guy was stolen, presumably the insurer would only ask for some of its money back, an amount corresponding to the newly diminished value of the gun. It is not much different from totalling a car. The insurer will pay fair market value for the car, based upon its value immediately before the crash. If the insured wants to receive all of that money, the insured must sign over title to the salvage (the wrecked vehicle) to the insurance company, who then proceeds to sell the salvage to recoup some of its costs. If the insured wants to keep the salvage, he will be paid a lesser amount of money than if he releases the salvage to the insurer.

So, you would have to buy the gun back - from your own insurer, not from the seller of the stolen property. The innocent seller of the stolen gun's financial recourse is against the person who sold him the gun, not against you for claiming your own gun (or your insurer's gun).

This is intended as a general overview, not legal advice. Most of my legal practice has been in Ohio, so I am talking about Ohio law. While I am an attorney, I am NOT YOUR ATTORNEY. YMMV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,883 Posts
I've noticed that when many post a firearm's serial number within a forum thread they do not post the complete number and in many cases end it with XXX. Is there felt to be a danger with ones security in posting the full number?

Just curious.

Pete
Guess: someone using full serial number for stolen or otherwise illegal gun's documentation. ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,774 Posts
Collects, Thanks for the very thorough legal explanation. Makes sense to me.
I'll keep that in mind - just in case I ever actually see any of the guns and their serial numbers(which I seriously doubt).
 

·
Registered
Colt 1911 Gold Cups The best ever made
Joined
·
729 Posts
I am going to have to respectfully disagree about the possibility for foul play. I never use the dreaded XXX when discussing my own firearms on line.
Kevin,
I understand your point, but it is a privacy issue to me.

In these days of internet search engines (they gather data from this site all of the time), my gun could be cataloged to my location. I know this but just don't want to share the serial number with the world. Someone in my State, with evil intentions, could insure it (using the picture that I posted) and then report it stolen for insurance fraud. It would go into a database of stolen weapons. Then what happens if I need to sell it one day (or my Estate tries to sell it)? It would be problematic when I would have to go get the original receipt to prove to the police that I bought it and was the rightful owner. What if the crook falsifies a bill of sale from me and claims that I sold it to him?

That said, I'd be glad to provide the serial number to anyone that I trust. I have many older guns (some rare). I should get my C&R license soon ($30 for three years).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
382 Posts
I had 3 handguns stolen from my apartment about 37 years go. I still have the serial numbers on a piece of paper. Could be the police papers arent even saved after so many years. But it would be something if I saw one them for sale on the internet or some gun shop.
That would be quite the surprise. Id probably let the seller know it was my gun and show him the paper that I gave the police back then (if I can still find it).I probably couldnt lay claim to it (for nothing),because i did have renters insurance and they paid something for the guns that were stolen. So Im not sure how that would work legally.
Id probably buy it back -it would be interesting to get a report seeing how many times it changed hands and if the transfer records could still be found it might even lead back to who stole the guns.
capstan; years ago involved with stolen classic car, was told stolen car vin's drop off NCIC after certain number of years. maybe guns are different, maybe not.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top