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Thread: Claiming ownership of abandoned firearms.

  1. #1
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    Claiming ownership of abandoned firearms.

    Okay, so interesting question. My previous roommate left behind his Sig 226 for me to hold onto since he was moving to washington and he was not able to take it with him until he was able to become a resident of washington. (he did not have any permit so he was worried about having it on him) its been almost two years now, and he has not shown any interest in having it shipped to him (ffl to ffl). I want to know if i am able to legally claim it as my own now. I will be contacting him one last time to check.
    Last edited by OfficerMatt; 08-14-2011 at 07:33 PM. Reason: Typo

  2. #2
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Matt,

    I can't believe I left my Sig at your place. I have been looking everywhere for it. PM me and I will send you my FFL information.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    Matt,

    I can't believe I left my Sig at your place. I have been looking everywhere for it. PM me and I will send you my FFL information.
    LOL sure ill get right on that.

  4. #4
    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Do you have a form of handgun registration there? While he could have taken it with him just fine, it's also perfectly fine for you to possess and use (under the law) until he does something to ask for it. I don't see why you would need to officially "claim" it. Use it in exchange for storage fees.

  5. #5
    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    1) Definitely contact him, keeping a copy of the letter & sending it certified / delivery receipt. Give a deadline (maybe a month or so out, to be uber-reasonable) for him to let you know if he wants it & send you money to ship it. Give him all sorts of ways to contact you in writing (address, email, fax).

    2) Check UT statutes about abandoned property, & maybe a lawyer.

    I'd say the longer he leaves it with you without contacting you, the less his interest in the property.
    Check with a lawyer to see what the statute of limitations is.
    Ask in general first, then ask if it makes a difference what the property is, then mention it's a firearm.


    If he does contact you & wants it shipped, you can use UPS to ship his property to him, no FFL needed.
    (B9) May a nonlicensee ship firearms interstate for his or her use in hunting or other lawful activity?

    Yes. A person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in care of another person in the State where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner. Persons other than the owner should not open the package and take possession of the firearm.
    http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#b9
    http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/unlicensed-persons.html
    FedEx only ships between licensees: http://www.cgwgun.com/shipping/fedex.aspx
    UPS also ships
    "from and between persons not otherwise prohibited from shipping firearms by federal, state or local law, and when such shipment complies with all federal, state and local laws applicable to the shipper, recipient, and package."
    http://ups.org/content/us/en/resourc.../firearms.html
    But you have to use next day air ($$$$) with delivery confirmation & adult signature, & you can't go through a 3rd party (MailBoxes Etc.).
    Would be good to print out their rules when you go in to ship it.

    Either use your name as both the to & from, with the 'to' being in care of him (nobody is going to know who opens it at that end),
    or use his name as both the to & from & let the clerk think that's your name.
    I think the first option would be better in case they get a insect in their nether regions & decide to check your ID.
    Last edited by MKEgal; 08-14-2011 at 11:05 PM.

  6. #6
    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Well, then ship it to yourself c/o him, in preparation for your upcoming visit.
    That's perfectly legal.

    Of course, that's IF he responds & says he'd like you to come visit & bring what used to be his pistol along for old times' sake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT and a Federal Felony! Read the ATF FAQ again! A person can only ship a firearm to themselves in another state. They cannot have someone ship guns to them in another state!
    This is why I ship it to myself, then board the plane and see who gets to the destination first!

  8. #8
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    It's probably not abandoned property. The law of personal property in the state in which the gun was left is what counts, here, there's nothing special about it's being a firearm unless there's a titling/registration requirement as there is for boats, 'planes, and cars. But because the dude left it with you for safekeeping, you're a "bailee", and have a duty to protect it for him against others such as yourself.

    First, don't take legal advice from people who aren't attorneys (i.e., licensed to practice law in the state you're in - a "lawyer" is merely someone who went to law school) including myself (I'm a "lawyer" as to your state). I'm pretty sure that the Lt. Commander is probably wrong, but I don't feel like checking up on it. The FAQ he cited tells what is permissible, not what is prohibited - you've got to look at the statute and the CFR's for that. The issue isn't "shipping", it's "transfer across state lines". I think (but again, I'm not sure) that there is no "transfer", since you're acting as the owner's agent in shipping the gun to the owner. A person can do through an agent anything he might do for himself if he chooses to do so. So your shipping the gun to the owner would be HIS act through you, not YOUR act. You cannot ship via USPS, though, unless you're an FFL.

    As to mailing stuff for the purpose of setting up evidentiary situation: don't ever mail anything certified or registered unless there's a contractual provision, statute or rule of court that requires it. That's the best possible way to generate evidence that the person did not, in fact, receive what you sent. The best thing is to send the letter first-class priority mail with delivery confirmation [u]and[/] a certificate of mailing. They'll look at you like you've got two heads when you say you want both, but they can't be used the same way in court, so you need both. A certificate of mailing is self-authenticating and can be introduced into evidence to prove mailing (you can rely on the legal presumption that something that's been properly mailed was properly delivered). The information you can print off the internet to show delivery confirmation can be used in rebuttal where a person says, "well, you may have mailed it, but I never really got it." That's done by saying something like, "Are you really sure about that, remember you're under oath, and let me refresh your recollection." then you can read off from the official website information and introduce it as a document for the purposes of rebuttal. When you send something certified/return receipt requested, the recipient can let it set in the post office for three weeks after which it'll be returned to the sender as undeliverable. No useful evidence at all in that, except for the other side.

    It would cost more to do an action for declaratory judgment to prove the gun is yours by reason of abandonment than it's worth.

    Why don't you just offer to buy the gun from the guy?
    Then it'll be your gun, fair and square, and no problems.

    People get themselves all balled up in trying to get something in an advantageous deal that they lose more than they gain in dealing with the inevitable complexity, rationalization, and other bull-droppings that they generate. It always turns out like an episode of "I Love Lucy". Just offer to buy the derned gun!
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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