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Thread: How to trace a gun in the US

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    tWebber Roy's Avatar
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    How to trace a gun in the US

    A very interesting article here about how the US authorities manage to trace weapon owners without being allowed to use any computer assistance.

    Also contains lots of information about how many guns are manufactured, imported and sold in the US - more than 15 million per year.
    Jorge: Functional Complex Information is INFORMATION that is complex and functional.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    That is pretty interesting but it doesn't seem as hard as that article makes it sound.

    1. Get the serial number.
    2. Call the manufacturer and ask which Federally licensed dealer they sold it to.
    3. Call the dealer and ask who they sold it to.

    Sure, after that it could be a problem if the owner sold the gun to someone else or moved. But even with a computerized central database you would have that problem.

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    tWebber Roy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    That is pretty interesting but it doesn't seem as hard as that article makes it sound.

    1. Get the serial number.
    2. Call the manufacturer and ask which Federally licensed dealer they sold it to.
    3. Call the dealer and ask who they sold it to.

    Sure, after that it could be a problem if the owner sold the gun to someone else or moved. But even with a computerized central database you would have that problem.
    The problem is that there are apparently an awful lot of dealers (more gun dealers than supermarkets!!!) and they often don't stay around.
    Jorge: Functional Complex Information is INFORMATION that is complex and functional.

    mikewhitney: What if the speed of light changed when light is passing through water? ... I have 3 semesters of college Physics.

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy View Post
    ...more gun dealers than supermarkets....
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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy View Post
    The problem is that there are apparently an awful lot of dealers (more gun dealers than supermarkets!!!) and they often don't stay around.
    I am sure they still have to keep their records just for such purposes. Plus it seems they send copies to that warehouse in the story. I am assuming that is what all those "boxes" are. And even though they can't use computers for the records, I am pretty sure they use a computer inventory system to track which boxes are from who and which years. Plus they said in the story they are supposedly going to PDF files, just not searchable ones. But then if they keep a database of each firearm dealer and year and month, with the information form the manufacturer that tells them when it was shipped to the dealer, they can quickly look it up.

    I think that story was trying to make it sound harder than it is for dramatic effect. I work at a law firm that deals with paper discovery in much the same way. We will digitize it to pdf, then put it in a database that will sort it by vendor, date, subject, etc. Of course we also make the documents searchable which makes it easier to find what we are looking for, but then we are looking for specific data and phrases and keywords that deal with a legal case.

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    God, family, chicken! Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy View Post
    The problem is that there are apparently an awful lot of dealers (more gun dealers than supermarkets!!!) and they often don't stay around.
    Several are multi-purpose stores, like Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart.


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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill the Cat View Post
    Several are multi-purpose stores, like Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart.
    Didn't Dick's recently quit selling firearms? I know they had announced this intent several times in recent years (without carrying through with it) but I think they finally did so shortly after Parkland.

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    God, family, chicken! Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    Didn't Dick's recently quit selling firearms? I know they had announced this intent several times in recent years (without carrying through with it) but I think they finally did so shortly after Parkland.
    Most did. I think the one near me still does though.

    https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/f/rifles


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    tWebber Mountain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    Didn't Dick's recently quit selling firearms? I know they had announced this intent several times in recent years (without carrying through with it) but I think they finally did so shortly after Parkland.
    Dick's may have stopped selling firearms, but Field & Stream, which is owned by Dick's, didn't. At my local shopping center, Dick's and Field & Stream are right next to each other, and you can walk from one directly into the other.
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    tWebber Roy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    I am sure they still have to keep their records just for such purposes. Plus it seems they send copies to that warehouse in the story. I am assuming that is what all those "boxes" are. And even though they can't use computers for the records, I am pretty sure they use a computer inventory system to track which boxes are from who and which years.
    No, they don't. Not allowed.
    Plus they said in the story they are supposedly going to PDF files, just not searchable ones. But then if they keep a database of each firearm dealer and year and month,...
    I don't think that's allowed either.
    I think that story was trying to make it sound harder than it is for dramatic effect. I work at a law firm that deals with paper discovery in much the same way. We will digitize it to pdf, then put it in a database that will sort it by vendor, date, subject, etc.
    Definitely not allowed.

    The article made it very clear that the law allows them no computer storage or search capability whatsoever.
    Jorge: Functional Complex Information is INFORMATION that is complex and functional.

    mikewhitney: What if the speed of light changed when light is passing through water? ... I have 3 semesters of college Physics.

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