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I need a some advice on a firearm

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by 22many, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

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    So, I dont post much on this site mainly because I learn more by reading than posting. But, now I need some advice. I posted this question on another gun forum and it got closed in a hour. Im not wanting to get this one closed but I do need a answer.

    Mods, I didnt know if this topic belongs here or in the legal/political section.

    Ok, so hear is the deal. Im gonna make a long story very short. My girlfriends mother had rented her house to her son and a couple of his friends. Since that time, they have completely destroyed the house. I mean destroyed as in no windows, missing walls, no wiring, ect, ect. Well, after finally getting them out by a court order they left behind all of their belongings. Now, I know in a normal situation you would have to hold on to their possessions for x amount of time but these people and my girlfriends brother are total drug addicts and walked away from everything. So, here is what I need advice on. One of the items left was a mosin nagant rifle. I have the rifle in my custody right now and I need to know what to do with it. Can I sell it to put the money back into her house that they destroyed? Do I need to turn it into the police?

    Im not worried about the drug addict renters as they took off when the police showed up to kick them out. I just need to know the legalitys of what to do or what I can do with this rifle. I really dont want to call the police in case the rifle is stolen (I wouldnt doubt it) and get charged with having a stolen rifle, if it is.
     
  2. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    My suggestion would be to call a lawyer and get a professional legal opinion. Short of that, take the gun to the police station, explain to them the origin of the firearm, and ask their opinion. Worst case scenario, they confiscate the rifle and your out $100. Either way, just keeping it or tying to sell it is just asking for trouble...
     
  3. ZachS

    ZachS Eugene/PDX Active Member

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    :thumbup:


    Walking into a police station with something that you know might be stolen is a very bad idea. Chances are they wouldn't punish you for trying to be a good citizen, but YOU NEVER KNOW.

    Another possibility would be to make the rifle disappear or just stash it in a closet - but it's not your property, so proceed carefully whatever you do.
     
  4. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I had a friend that had a vehicle stolen years ago and when the police recovered it the detective in charge of that case took it for his own personal vehicle. He had to sue the city to get it back. Another friend had his boat taken after he legally purchased it as a theft recovery from a insurance agency. 2 years later and thousands of dollars later he ended up loosing the boat because that detective in the case failed to inform him of the court dates until after they were over. So you can see my apprehention in contacting the police on this issue.
     
  5. ZeroRing

    ZeroRing 26th District, WA Active Member

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    Moved to "Legal & Political" section. :thumbup:
     
  6. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    I would assume that the rifle is hot as they did not take it when leaving. I would also guess that it is as they took all the wiring from the house obviously to get money but still didnt pawn or sell the rifle.

    I would just call the police dept. and have them pick it up, explain the situation and maybe in the end it could be yours. Better to get rid of it and not potentially get caught with a stolen firearm.
     
  7. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a lawyer, but I've had a lot of experience with rentals. Oregon's (I guess this is Oregon?) landlord/tenant laws are written with great specificity and that includes the landlord/tenant laws regarding abandoned personal property. It's a PITA.

    Go Here and scroll down and read section 90.425.

    You can't just take abandoned property for your own use even if the tenant owes you money. You have to jump through a bunch of hoops with the disposition of it.

    Also, under the Statute of Frauds (a misnomer here but true) a rental agreement for real property (real estate) isn't valid unless it's in writing, and even then it must contain certain elements to be valid. There's an acceptable "form" for rental agreements for real property in Oregon.

    Keeping or converting the personal property could get you into trouble. I have no idea, apart from general personal property and rental agreements, what keeping a stolen gun might entail.

    Unless the landlord has sent the appropriate notices to the renters within the time frames required by law, the landlord has forfeited all rights to the property (the gun) and it forever belongs to the renter who abandoned it. "Notices sent to the last known address" can be sent to the rented and abandoned house - last known addy. They still have to be sent, and the sending must be timely within statutory deadlines.

    No one should ever go into the rental business (and that's what you do if you rent something to someone) without either becoming rather expert in landlord/tenant laws, or hiring a property management firm to do it for him. It's just too complex, and you can get yourself into a world of hurts by making mistakes. Even evicted, druggie tenants still have rights.

    Just read that whole page I linked above to get a glimpse at what I mean about complexity.

    Having said all of that, if I were in this spot I'd call the police, tell them I had an abandoned gun from a rental, had no idea of its origin and ask them if they'd take it and dispose of it. You could be liable for its value, or even double its value, but a judge would have to proclaim that in small claims court and it's not likely under the circumstances. In any event, the remote possibility of losing 2x the value of the Mosin is a lot cheaper than hiring a lawyer at this point.

    I would not sell or keep the gun for myself. If I found out it isn't stolen and sold it, I'd give the money to charity. That would make me look like a good guy and not a greedy landlord if the value of the gun ever came up. You'll notice there are actually provisions for giving abandoned property to charity.

    You really need a lawyer here unless you're willing to risk the loss of 2x the value of the Mosin and some hassle in small claims court. It sucks to have to pay money to a tenant who earlier ripped you off, but it happens when landlords don't also follow the rules.
     
  8. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    22many, I'll try a shorter version, LOL. In Oregon a landlord has no right to a tenant's personal property to offset his losses no matter how bad the tenant, no matter how much the losses, and even if the property is abandoned.

    The landlord must make an attempt to notify the tenant of the abandoned property via registered mail within a certain time frame. If the landlord doesn't know the current address of the tenant he may send the notice to the address of the rental in "the hope" that there is a forwarding address at the PO.

    The notice must itself meet the requirements of law and that includes offering to arrange for the tenant to come and get the property.

    The whole issue is really complicated unfortunately, but the most the landlord would be liable for IIRC is 2x the value of the property plus small claims court costs.

    HTH.
     
  9. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    Take the rifle to a police station, explain the situation, and ask them to run the serial #. If it turns out to be stolen, they will keep it and you wont be in any trouble because you were just trying to do the right thing. If it isnt stolen....keep it or sell it as you choose. Those things arent worth much money anyway. The last thing you want to be involved with is a "hot" gun.
     
  10. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    I have taken several privately-purchased guns into my local police station to have them run the serial numbers for me. I asked the cop who ran them if I would be in any trouble if one of the guns was hot. He said no, there is obviously no criminal intent involved in voluntarily bringing a gun into a police station to determine whether or not it was stolen.
     
  11. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

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    Gunner3456, thanks for all the info. You are completely right about the hassle of renting your own property. I was thinking about renting out my own house but after going through what my girlfriend and her mother has evicting her son and his friends, Im thinking it would be better just to sell my house!

    Its a really messed up situation. Legaly there was no written agreement. It was one of those "Can so and so move in?, they will pay" kinda deals. I thought it was a bad idea, but, it wasnt my house so all I could do is just bite my tongue as they didnt pay and destroyed the house.

    Anyways, I thank you all for all of your info. It has really helped!:thumbup:
     
  12. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome. Please understand that I don't know about the complexities of the gun itself, but I do know that if the police deem it stolen you're off the hook due to confiscation of the property.

    If you want to rent your house, just hire a property management firm and pay them their percentage - usually between 6% and 10% of the gross rents. It will save you a bundle in the long run. They do background (police) checks, credits checks, prior landlord checks, employment verification checks, etc. to qualify the renter. Because they do that they have pretty good success at getting good tenants.

    Next they know exactly how and when to send out late notices, eviction notices, etc. if needed. They know how to handle all of these other matters which might arise. It usually works out really well for all parties.

    The only people I know who handle their own rentals are people who have lots of them and it's then worth it to get all of the proper forms and learn the laws. There are even schools/classes you can attend to learn them. Those are schools that people attend to get their property manager's license, their real estate sales license, etc. You have to pass state exams to get those licenses. We even have a school in Medford.

    We used to have more than 100 rentals, so "something" was happening all of the time. It was worth it to me to learn the rules and laws, and some of it I learned by osmosis.
     
  13. 22many

    22many PNW Well-Known Member

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    From seeing what the girlfriend and her mom went through it almost seems like a full time job. One the phone, talking to police, court dates, ect, ect. But, if you owned 10 or more homes you are renting I could see a person not having a full time job and that would be their new full time job.

    I was thinking about a property management agency but my sisters next door neighbor just moved to arizona for a couple years and went thought a property management agency and now he has a deadbeat renter in there. Apparently, the agency did a background check and not a rental check. Well, six months and the guy hasnt paid, destroyed his back yard, and has cut several "doggy doors" in many doors.

    Seems like no matter which way you go there is always something. Hey, thanks again gunner3456, that link you provided really helped out.

    As far as this gun, I think Ill leave it in the safe for now until I get the property cleaned up. After that Ill call OSP to see if it is stolen. I trust OSP more than I would trust the portland police.
     
  14. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Sorry you had a bad experience that's not typical. However, it happens. When we had just over 100 rentals, there were always two or three going on like that. Just the cost of doing business, like shoplifting is to a store.
     
  15. Will

    Will Everett Active Member

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    Nine years ago we bought a house from the bank with plans to remodel and rent it. The house was full of junk and while clearing it all out I found a pistol. I called the local PD (not 911) and explained the situation, I didn't feel right walking into the police department with a gun and trying to explain how I came by the firearm. They sent an officer out to take custody of the pistol, he was able to see the circumstance where I found the pistol. Several months latter I got a letter in the mail stating the firearm would be released to me and the steps I had to go through to claim it (pretty much the same steps if your were to buy it from a dealer). I still have that pistol in the safe.

    As for being a landlord....we sold the house last year in the down market simply because I couldn't afford the expense of crappy renter's anymore and we used a property management company that was to screen the renter's. The only good that come from being a landlord was that pistol and not losing my azz when we sold the house.