You do the best you can to secure firearms when you buy them, but sometimes the unavoidable happens and firearms get stolen.

If a firearm gets stolen there’s a good chance someone is going to eventually use it to commit a crime. That means the crime can be traced back to you unless you take some proactive steps to do something about the problem.

In fact, if you have a federal firearms license you have to report the theft or loss within 48 hours of discovery to the ATF. Even if you don’t have a federal firearms license you should report the theft to the ATF. They won’t look up a serial number for you, but they will keep a record of the theft which will show you did what you were supposed to do. 

You should report the crime to local law enforcement and get a copy of the police report. According to New York law, “any owner or other person lawfully in possession of (i) a firearm, rifle, or shotgun who suffers the loss or theft of said weapon; (ii) ammunition as well from a firearm, rifle, or shotgun who suffers the loss or theft of such ammunition or (iii) ammunition and is a dealer in firearms or a seller of ammunition shall within twenty-four hours of the discovery of the loss or theft report the facts and circumstances of the loss or theft to a police department or sheriff’s office.” If you fail you have broken the law! We recommend making the report as soon as you notice the weapon is missing. Violating this law is a class A misdemeanor and will not help you at all if the gun turns out to be involved in a criminal action later. 

You’ll want to keep the police report handy. Your report can be used to help defend you in the event that your lost or stolen firearm turns up at the scene of a crime.

If you don’t have a record of the gun’s serial number then you also should contact the shop where you purchased the gun so you can get the serial number. 

You probably will not get the weapon back: if police do recover it then it will probably be used as evidence. Even if it’s recovered in a traffic stop the police are not likely to give it back. You’re better off just purchasing another gun. You may be able to get some compensation from your insurance company depending on where the gun was stolen, and the police report can help with that, too.

You report it so that you don’t get linked to the armed robberies, violent assaults, or murders that can get committed with this gun. 

If you didn’t know your gun was lost or stolen or you failed to make a report and that gun has now turned up in a crime, you need a criminal defense attorney. Reach out to Koch Law today. Gun crimes can carry serious consequences that can change your life. Let our offices bring your case to its best possible outcome.

See also:

Are Gun Crimes Automatically Considered Federal Crimes?

What to Do When the Police Want to Search Your New York Home?

Should You go to Trial for Federal Criminal Charges?