I found a gun! Now what?

Insipred by SpazCat’s thread: I found a bullet! Now what?

This thread reminded me of a couple of years ago when I was dragging some chairs out of the storage area in my Mom’s house. There has always been an old case of somesort down there, but I’d never given it much thought. This time, however, I took a closer look and realized it was rather gun shaped. Rifle shaped, in fact, soft thick leather with a big old-school silver zipper (and here I must pause for a moment and admit my ignorance of guns. I shot at a range a few times with an ex, always with his guns. I know I liked the 9mm and the .45 was a little hard on my wrists and the rifle thing was much trickier to keep snug against my shoulder than it looks like in movies. But I don’t know a rifle from a shotgun from a herring.)

I asked Mom, “Um, why is there a gun in the basement?”

She replied, “Oh, that’s just an empty case that belonged to your father. Or maybe my father. Or maybe my brother, I don’t remember. There’s nothing in it, though.”

I went back down to either throw it out or reclaim it for use carrying…something. But it felt rather heavy. I opened it up, and there was indeed a gun in it.

Rifle looking. Or maybe shotgun? Hell, it could be a bb gun for all I know.

There was no paperwork, license, etc. in there. I know my mother doesn’t have a license. I didn’t immediately see any ammunition, but I don’t know how to safely check that there isn’t a shell/bullet/bb/naked mole rat inside it.

Mom’s answer was, “Just put it back.” And I’m sure she’s forgotten about it already. Sooner or later, however, she’s going to die and I’m going to have to deal with her stuff. So…what do you do with a found gun?

Box it up and send it to me. I’ll pay the postage. No problem. Glad to do it for a fellow Doper.

In all seriousness (No, wait. I was serious with the previous post.) Anyway…

You don’t need a license for a long gun anywhere that I am aware of. Do you have a digital camera? Post some pictures and we’ll tell you what it is, how to insure that it isn’t loaded, and its relative value. Lacking pictures, describe all markings you find on the firearm.

  1. Do not call the police.

  2. Do not call the police.

  3. Find out what your local laws are concerning the possession of a firearm. Specifically, you want to determine if you are legal to possess the firearm as-is. If there is any doubt, contact an attorney. If you are not legal to possess the firearm as-is, find out what the proper and legal steps are to sell, transfer, or turn-in the firearm.

  4. If you end up keeping the firearm, and if you are unfamiliar with guns, invite over a trusted friend or family member who is familiar with guns. Have him/her take a look at it, determine what it is, and (most importantly) determine if it is loaded. If it is loaded, have him/her unload it.

  5. Educate yourself on the safe and effective usage of the firearm.

Well, it isn’t really “found”. If you found the gun in a alley, I’d say call the police (non emergency #) and offer to turn it in. But it is in your basement and almost certainly belonged to your dad.

You do need to get some uncle or someone over there who knows a bit about guns, take it out , make sure it isn’t loaded and clean it. Rub it down with a silicon gun cloth and put it back. It may be rusting away.

I don’t know the laws of your state, or even what your state is. Off the cuff, however, I would say that unless you have a reason to own a firearm, you could take it to a firearms dealer (check the pawnshops in your area) and sell it to them. If you have an interest in firearms, take a class, or at least find a friend who is familiar with firearms safety to walk you through the basics. Find a range to go to with this friend and fire a few rounds. Not your interest then, sell it. If you feel good about shooting. Keep practicing at local ranges.
A quick way to tell the difference between a rifle and a shotgun is the diameter of the barrel. If you are looking at a bore the size of the Holland Tunnel, it is a shotgun. A small bore is usually a rifle.

Actually, upon rereading the OP, don’t touch it until you have someone who knows what they are doing check and clear the weapon.

(Didn’t we do this recently?)

SSG Schwartz

Don’t firearms - including long guns - have to be registered in Michigan? Perhaps only “assault weapons.” I’m not sure.

Nope. No permit required for rifles or shotguns at all.

Why not? Why not? - I’m genuinely, earnestly curious - is it just that they might confiscate it, or do you think it could result in some kind of trouble?

I hope to be back on Mom’s on Thursday, so I’ll try to take some pictures then. Thanks for the initial replies.

Is the gun rusty? You should avoid touching the metal parts, and if you must, then you should apply a coating of gun oil anywhere you do touch it. (not on wood) If you get the mfg., model and general condition, it should be easy to find an approximate value online.
A lot is going to depend on condition. If it was cleaned and well oiled, it could be fine in a leather case for years, if not, it may be in poor condition.

Well, a couple of reasons:

  1. There’s a chance you might have committed a crime. Say, for example, you have a DV conviction on your record, and you weren’t aware that such a conviction prohibits you from possessing a firearm. While it can certainly be argued that the mere act of finding a gun does not equal possession, the cops may see it differently.

2, I know the LEOs on this board get mad when I say this, but it is my opinion that a *lot * of cops are very unethical. When homeowners handover guns to *these * cops, they simply keep them for their own use.

At any rate, there’s absolutely no benefit to calling the cops. You only put yourself at risk to getting arrested for something you did not know was a crime. It’s far better to take a breather, do some research, figure out what the legal situation is, and proceed in a way to minimize any legal risks to yourself.

We did. Well, something similar anyway.

How do I make this revolver safe?

Not trying to hijack or anything; but, I never heard what that guy did with the revolver…did he tell us in a later thread I might have missed?

Not rusty that I saw, it was quite shiny and pretty. (And every Gun Guy in this thread just rolled their eyes to Timbuktu and back that the little gal called a gun “pretty”, didn’t ya? :smiley: ) It was, as I said, a couple of years ago. I’m looking forward to checking it again on Thursday - if I have no babysitting clients, I’m going to Mom’s house for the day. I assume she’s still got it. What an anticlimax it would be if she disposed of it herself without ever telling me!

I would not call a gun pretty, but I have seen quite a few beautiful handguns including a engraved, gold plated Desert Eagle. To each his own, however.

Let me know what you find though.

SSG Schwartz

Since you’ve fired pistols, may we assume you know basic firearms safety? Like just carefully take some pictures with minimal handling of the weapon. I doubt it’s loaded, but Rule #1 is absolute (Always treat every firearm as if it was loaded, even if you just unloaded it. In fact, especially if you just unloaded it!) Just unzip the case and snap a few shots. It would be very helpful if a few of them were of the receiver (Figure 2).

I know enough to know that the end with the hole never points towards a person, and try not to drop it. :wink: I don’t plan on messing with it too much at all. I certainly won’t try to see if it’s loaded or go anywhere near the trigger, that’s for sure.

I also know I have to find a way to do this when the 14 year old son is not around. I love him, but I don’t trust him when it comes to this. He’s very interested in guns, and I don’t want him even knowing it’s there. And yes, it now occurs to me that this is a safety issue as well as a curiosity one - he sleeps in the same basement when he stays at Grandma’s house. He’s not the kind to go poking around in the spider infested crawlspace, but you never know…

First step, if you have a would be curious 14 yo male in the house, buy a trigger lock. You can get one for as little as $2 from any place that sells guns. Don’t be too scared about installing it. You won’t have to actually touch the trigger to install. If you don’t feel safe about installing the lock, again, ask a trusted friend who is familiar with firearms.

SSG Schwartz

Not really necessary. Sounds like the weapon is in a nice leather case. A simple padlock between the zipper pull and the loop at the base of the zipper should be quite adequate to secure the weapon.

Just wondering, but does rust make a gun any more dangerous? Like making it go off accidentally? Or does it just ruin the gun?