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Thread: Gun Storage in Virginia - Safe Deposit Box Lawful?

  1. #1
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    Just wondering what the opinions are out there on this theoretical scenario.

    A gun owner in Virginia wants to store an heirloom item off-premises. If the financial institution has a policy prohibiting storage of firearms in safe deposit boxes, but the gun owner went ahead and put an unloaded and well-oiled firearm in a case inside the safe deposit box and locked it up without detection, what is the worst that could happen, other than the safety deposit box getting broken into by sophisticated thieves like in the movie "The Inside Man"? Any possible legal ramifications?

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    I am an "officer" and general managerat a Virginia based financial institution. We do not have any policy against firearms carried by members (openly or concealed).We are not permitted to ask about or see the items thatfolks choose to leave in their safe deposit box. That's why there is a private room to deposit and retrieve items from after you get your box. Even financial institutions that do forbid firearms could only cancel your box if they somewhow found out - which they never should. It is standard policy for all financial institutions to make sure their employees have no clue what is in any of the safe deposit boxes. The contract you sign may prohibit certain items, but no one but you will ever know what is in there. To open a safe deposit box without theowner present generally requires a court order, and thena very expensive call to a specialized locksmith to drill the box, etc.

    No item would be forfeited just because you don't follow the rules. Safe deposit boxes are highly regulated. The worst possible cicumstance is YOU tell the institution you have a prohibited item in the box. Even still, if you don't voluntarily remove it, they'd have to go to court to get a court order then hire the locksmith (which you would payfor under this circumstance). Your contract may be cancelled. But that's it. No arrest or forfeiture or anything like that.

    Over the years, I've heard stories of people putting AWFUL things in safe deposit boxes, including a dead, rotting fish. This was way before my time. I was told it took over a week just to get an order to remove it, and it shut down the branch meanwhile.

  3. #3
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    Probably would be up to the terms of the deposit box contract. Forfeiture perhaps but no crime that I know of.

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    Do not forget in insert a rust blocker type product.



    it was always my understanding that the contents were secret and the bank staff never know what you put inside.

    Is this true?

  5. #5
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    LEO 229 wrote:
    it was always my understanding that the contents were secret and the bank staff never know what you put inside.

    Is this true?
    Thats my understanding.

    Ditto on some kind of rust inhibitor. Vaults arefairly humid.

  6. #6
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    Sic,

    If a person in Virginia has a box in a Virginia bank and that person dies, is the box sealed and cannot be opened by another person without a court order? Even if the other person were to be the decedant's spouse? Reason I ask is that I seem to recall from a business law class many years ago that that was the case.

    Thanks for the answer in advance.

  7. #7
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    In addition to having one of the two keys to the box, the customer must also have a valid, unexpired, government issued ID that matchesour records as to who may access the box. Bank staff then record relevant ID information and the customer signs and dates for every time they enter the box. We have a written policy that we may not be present for any reason when someone opens their box. MANY people try to open the box immediately after it is retrieved and you are still standing in the vault. They do this because all they wish to do is throw something in or grab something out of the box, so they only need 2 seconds to do so, and they feel safer doing it inside the vault anyway. However, we must stop them and take them to the room right outside of the vault, and then they close the door. Our contract requires the customer(s) to list other authorized persons who may enter their box as long as they have 1.) the key 2.)your originaldeath certificate with the raised seal 3.) a valid, unexpired Drivers License, State ID card or unexpired passport.

    I'm not sure what would happen if you didn't have the above. I assumethe estatewould have to go through probate and eventually the rightful owner would show up with a court order.I'll have to look at the rules and applicable law at work Monday.

  8. #8
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    In the brave new Homeland Security world, we still have an expectation of privacy in a bank? Forgive me for being suspicious of that assumption. Not saying you're wrong, only that I am a bit more cautious.

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