The following is a video transcript.
In the scenario where a firearm has been lost or stolen, what should we do? How should we document and report it?
In the event that your firearm is stolen, of course call law enforcement. Now, when you speak to law enforcement, it is important to have certain information ready to give to them.
Keep in mind that there is no registration of firearms either federally or in Georgia. Not only that, there is no federal or state law requiring that you report a firearm stolen. However, we treat firearms as we do all important purchases and possessions. If that possession is stolen, report it to law enforcement. More importantly, we do this because firearms can be used to injure people, and often stolen firearms are used in crimes. So, if your firearm is stolen, report it to your local law enforcement first and foremost.
When you report it, give them the serial number of the firearm. Give them the year of manufacture, the make, the model, the caliber, the color, and any modifications that you may have made or special accessories that you use with the firearm that may also have been taken. Give them the date and location of the purchase, the price, and a copy of the receipt if you have it. Also, if possible, take photos of your firearm.
On its website, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has a very basic firearm manifest that you can keep yourself of each of your own firearms. Print it out and keep that information and attach photos if possible. Unless you keep the serial number, it may be very, very difficult for anyone to trace a stolen firearm. The only person or only entity that may know the registration number of the firearm you purchased is the place where you purchased it. Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) are required by law to keep those Form 4473s for up to 20 years or to transfer those forms to the ATF if they go out of business before that 20-year span.
After 20 years, they are allowed to destroy them. The ATF is not allowed to take those handwritten documents and digitize them because that would create a registry. So, if that firearm does become lost and you have not kept a record of the serial number, the ATF does not have it. The state doesn’t have it, and it may be very difficult to track that firearm.
If the firearm is found, it may not be possible to trace it back to your possession, and if it is something that was a prized possession of yours, obviously we want to try and maintain the ability to retain possession of that firearm. So in the event your firearm is stolen, make sure you can provide all of this information, and then local law enforcement will enter that stolen firearm onto the Georgia Criminal Information Center in the hopes that it can be returned to you.
If you have any questions about how to report a stolen gun, or what to do in case your gun was stolen, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney today.