For you to legally own a gun, you must register it. This ensures that if you have to use it to protect yourself or your family, you can say that you legally own it and that it was used in a self-defense situation. Therefore, in a situation where you sell your gun, you should transfer the ownership of it to ensure that if the gun is to be used in a crime or by someone else, it does not trace back to you. It is all a part of being a responsible gun owner. What do you do, though, if you do not know who has your gun because it was stolen? Do you know how to trace it down to ensure it was not pawned or do you know how to protect your good name? In short, “Do you know what to do if your gun is stolen?” If not, you should take a look below and become familiar with the proper steps to take to protect yourself.

Report Theft to Your Local Sheriff’sOffice

Anytime that you realize your home has been broken into or you realize that something has been stolen, you most likely think about your local law offices, first. The same should be true if you realize that your gun has been stolen, even if you suspect that you may already know who took it from your home. By law, in some states, if you have a firearm and it is stolen, you should immediately report it to your local law enforcement center, otherwise, you could be breaking the law as well.

This is to help them to stop illegal gun trafficking in your area. In order to purchase a gun, you are required to register. If you have a lot of guns registered and fail to report them stolen, you could be seen as a trafficker. It also ensures that in the event that there is a crime in your area and it is linked to a gun that has your name on it, law officials already know that the gun was not in your possession at the time because it was reported as stolen from you.

Report to the ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) should be the people you contact next. They would like for you to let them know of the theft within 48 hours of you noticing that your gun(s) have been taken and state that otherwise, you could be facing a felony for not reporting it. Therefore, you should contact them and file any necessary forms immediately.

This form will take note of your name, your federal firearms license number, and telephone number when you noticed that the gun was no longer in your possession, who you have reported the theft to in your local area, and more. You will need to know when you purchased the firearm, the type of firearm it is, the manufacturer, model, caliber/gauge, and its serial number.

With this information, the ATF can ensure that the description of your stolen gun(s) can be reported as stolen on a larger scale. It ensures that pawn shops can trace it to a stolen gun’s serial number so that they do not accept or resell it. It also lets law officials know that in the event that it turns up at a crime scene, you were not the one that they should come looking for in their investigation of the crime.


Each year there are many firearms stolen from homes, despite most people’s efforts to prevent it from happening. Keep in mind; the ATF does not keep an inventory of all firearms that are sold. If you do not have your gun’s serial number on hand when you submit the required forms, the ATF will not be able to search for your gun’s serial number, even if it is fully registered to you.

Therefore, even if you have your guns stored in a gun safe that promises no one will ever be able to break in, you should still keep all of your gun’s information in a safe or safe area that is separate from where you store your firearms. This includes your gun serial numbers, make and model names or numbers, and photos and information about identifying marks, as well as any other photos or information that you feel may be of value to your local law enforcement agencies and the ATF. This ensures that if your gun(s) are stolen, you have easy access to all the valuable information regarding it. Without this information, tracking down the particular gun that you have lost may be impossible and it could be sold from pawn shops repeatedly and you may still never find it. It is also helpful when reporting your gun stolen to the ATF.

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