Database of stolen firearms launched
A new Gun Loss Register provides peace of mind for potential buyers and sellers via its searchable database
‘This initiative goes a long way towards safeguarding the shooting industry as a whole’
Buying a gun, especially second-hand from a private seller, can be a minefield for a number of reasons, but perhaps the last on many peoples’ minds is the fact that the gun you are buying could potentially be stolen. This sticky situation is not limited to private exchanges either, with gunshops, auction houses and dealers all at risk of coming into contact with stolen firearms.
In response to this issue, a new specialist initiative to help interested parties check if a firearm has been stolen was launched in July. The Gun Loss Register is a searchable international database developed over the past 28 years of more than 5,000 stolen firearms, from modernday guns to antiques. The initiative provides a simple, efficient and cost-effective way to check if a gun you are buying is legitimately on the market or has been stolen.
The scheme is backed by the Art Loss Register, a similar initiative housing the world’s largest private database of stolen art, antiques and collectibles that has recovered over £100million worth of stolen goods since 1990.
Conducting a search is simple and affordable. Users simply sign up to the website, submit the search query, and receive an answer within 10 minutes for subscribers or one working day for non-subscribers. A search costs £10, or as little as £3 as part of a subscription to the service, meaning dealers or gunshops can save money when conducting regular searches.
The great thing about this initiative is that it is not just safeguarding our own pockets and interests, it is going a long way towards safeguarding the shooting industry as a whole – circulating stolen firearms will never be a good look, and anything that discourages theft and the perceived profits to be made should be wholeheartedly supported.
A ‘Royal’ reward
One notable example of a valuable gun being recovered via the Gun Loss Register is the famed Holland & Holland ‘Royal’ double rifle, which was stolen in transit. Taken into a shooting school for valuation and quickly identified as stolen, the Gun Loss Register negotiated a settlement between the holder, police, insurers and Holland & Holland to sort the situation out. Daryl Greatrex, managing director of Holland & Holland, said: “We welcomed the assistance of the Gun Loss Register in the recovery of the rifle.”
As this example shows, a dispute does not always arise at the point of sale. It may be an item brought in for valuation or restoration which has been reported as stolen, missing or the subject of a claim.
The story of the ‘Royal’ double may bring into question another concern – if I spend lots of money on a gun and then realise at a later date that it was in fact stolen, where does that leave me? There is no simple answer. The question is – did the seller have the right to sell the item in the first place? Buying in good faith includes considerations such as paying a reasonable market price, buying from a reputable source, such as a registered firearms dealer or auction house, making sure the buyer keeps receipts as confirmation of purchase, as well as retaining all known historical documentation about the gun.
In each case, upon identification, the Gun Loss Register would assess the situation and, working with all parties including the police, would aim to get a ‘good faith buyer’ their purchase price back. In some instances, the item may be sold and the proceeds split. If the item is not bought in good faith, then the current holder may end up losing their money.
So, before taking the plunge on a purchase, it is worth considering the benefits of conducting a search against the Gun Loss Register – so you can enjoy buying your new gun with confidence.
www. gunlossregister. com