Checking serial numbers to see if guns are stolen


Oregon does keep the information of used gun sales for 5 years .If they didnt they would not know if someone skipped the background check . The saler the firearm also has his ID recorded . I guess that part of the universal. In ubc that was in the 2015 background check law.

The Heretic

When you do your BGC at time of purchase or sale wouldn't they tell you ?
In OR and WA state, the authorities supposedly check to see if the firearm is stolen, yes.

But from what I have heard/read, this may not happen immediately. I've heard/read stories of this happening as much as months after the fact. One story was that somehow notice was sent to a local city PD (for some reason, Everett WA sticks in my mind) of a transfer involving a stolen firearm and the local PD contacted the buyer? Not sure of how that is possible as I believe it is the state that checks, so...

So my advice is to not count on the competence or timeliness of any government agency, but they are probably the most comprehensive authority.

Also, a firearm could be stolen and the owner may not notice it is gone for a considerable period of time, but with BGCs there is now a record of the transfer - assuming the transfer was done legally.

The authorities say they don't keep these records permanently, but at the very least they probably keep the records available for months. As I and others have pointed out, it is actually fairly difficult to completely erase all records from any computer system, especially one that is a large and complicated system. It is even more difficult to ensure that happens. I have very little confidence in the competence of any government entity with regards to their computer systems, and I have even less faith in their motivations and intentions when it comes to records they have of firearm transfers.

Black Dog

Don't know about other States. But in Oregon if you report a gun stolen with S.N. it goes in to a DATA Base. All gun dealers check with when a gun comes in for what ever reason. An L.E. will some times check on a gun when you are stopped. My son and I had guns stolen buy the same person that were sold under the counter. I got mine back 5 years later and he got his back 8 years later. They both were checked at the same dealer. The guns were held until cops showed up. So there is a system out there that does work.
When I bought a TP9SF Elite at sportsmans on 185th a few years ago they were running the usual info and said the gun was stolen based off the serial the associate gave them. I was baffled how a gun store that buys guns directly from dealers has a stolen (new) weapon. Turns out the associate screwed up and gave a wrong number from something as they ran it again (this time the supervisor) and it came up clean.
i had three revolvers purchased from various private parties without background checks pre 2015. i could not swear to their origin. when i got my chl in 2018 , i thought i should run these guns as i might be packing them. a phone call to the number on the OSP page resulted in two clean security sixes and a stolen 629-1. " so what am i supposed to to do with it ?" " we'll send someone out to pick it up." later that evening two troopers on their way back from government camp stopped at my house. they did not ask questions. i volunteered the name of the seller since i was kind of pissed about it. they did not seem interested in following up. i was sad to see it go as i had performed a difficult repair on it and it was working perfectly. $500 bucks out the window.

no 10 dollar fee but 500 bucks is nothing to sneeze at.


Any FFL holder can run the serial number to check if it’s stolen. There isn’t a fee involved they the state/fed system. But the ffl holder might ask for a fee as these things do take time. The check only takes a minute.
The gun has to be in hand to run the number, and if it comes up stolen they will ask allot of questions.

Sporting Systems

OSP checks serial numbers for stolen during all BGCs. WA has no mechanism for checking stolen serials, nor is there any statutory or regulatory requirement to do it. I hate it,. we buy lots of used guns and take trades every day. If I have a bad feeling, I can call a friend in LE to check it...but the caveat comes with that, if he gets a stolen return, he has to act on it (good thing for the actual owner, bad for the seller who may not know it was stolen).
OR cops will come and take it if stolen even if reported 50 years ago and original owners and next of kin are deceased MIA.
Oregon FFL had a gun come back stolen (2018). It was tied to a case in the 1970s. Cops showed up, took the gun. No party around to reclaim it so it sits in the evidence warehouse now.
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