Data­base of stolen firearms launched

A new Gun Loss Regis­ter pro­vides peace of mind for po­ten­tial buy­ers and sell­ers via its search­able data­base

Sporting Shooter - - News -

‘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

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