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Old 03-15-2013, 00:08   #1
Lone_Wolfe
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Gun Abandonment Question

The super-short version is; 2 guns were left in a friend of mine's posession for safekeeping. I's also given her my entire gun collection a couple years before that. That friend is dying, and has turned the entire collection over to me. All of the guns are in storage. Neither of us has been able to make any contact with the owner of the 2 guns. He left them about 2 years ago. I called the cell # he left, it now belongs to someone who never heard of him. I emailed both email addresses, one bounced, the other went unanswered.

Can someone familiar with the law in a case like this give me some insight? Thank you
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Old 03-15-2013, 00:54   #2
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I'm not an attorney nor do I play one on TV but I would document any efforts I've made to contact the owner including mailing a certified letter to this person's last known good mailing address, and following failure of those efforts, consider the property abandoned.

IMHO you're under no obligation to track anyone down to return anything to them, and if in some hypothetical future scenario this person were to take you to small claims in an effort to recoup them (or their equivalent value), I would produce the documented efforts I made to reach the person.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:07   #3
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I definitely like the certified letter idea, if only I had an address at all. I tried a google search of the guys name, and it seems there's several guys with him name. I did see one of the results was an obit from about a year ago, from the same state and young. Can't assume it's the same guy, though.

The other thing I thought of was to see if I could get the police to check serial #'s, but I can't imagine they're reported stolen. Until a few months back, the friend who had them was still living in the same placew she had been for years.

I appreciate your input.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:00   #4
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I would just let it ride & not worry about it. If the original owner doesn't track them down, forget it. No sense to muck things up for no reason.


You didn't steal or acquire them under false pretenses in any way. You go to the local police dept and start asking about guns you have & can't find the owner & they'll say 'bring them in'. That's the last you will ever see of them.

If the owner, or his rightful heir shows up, gladly hand them over. Other than that I'd clean em up, give them a wipe-down with a lightly oiled cloth & let sleeping dogs be.

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Old 03-15-2013, 06:14   #5
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Sounds like you did everything you can to contact the owner.
If someone left guns for over 2 years looks like they do not want them. Are they low value guns?
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:02   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sourdough44 View Post
I would just let it ride & not worry about it. If the original owner doesn't track them down, forget it. No sense to muck things up for no reason.


You didn't steal or acquire them under false pretenses in any way. You go to the local police dept and start asking about guns you have & can't find the owner & they'll say 'bring them in'. That's the last you will ever see of them.

If the owner, or his rightful heir shows up, gladly hand them over. Other than that I'd clean em up, give them a wipe-down with a lightly oiled cloth & let sleeping dogs be.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:57   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone_Wolfe View Post
I definitely like the certified letter idea, if only I had an address at all. I tried a google search of the guys name, and it seems there's several guys with him name. I did see one of the results was an obit from about a year ago, from the same state and young. Can't assume it's the same guy, though.

The other thing I thought of was to see if I could get the police to check serial #'s, but I can't imagine they're reported stolen. Until a few months back, the friend who had them was still living in the same placew she had been for years.

I appreciate your input.
In many legal situations where an individual can not be located a notice in the legal section of the local newspaper is often considered legal notice. This often done in debt default situation, notification of a spouse who has left and can't be located or will not accept service etc.

Last edited by F350; 03-15-2013 at 10:59..
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:22   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sourdough44 View Post
I would just let it ride & not worry about it. If the original owner doesn't track them down, forget it. No sense to muck things up for no reason.


You didn't steal or acquire them under false pretenses in any way. You go to the local police dept and start asking about guns you have & can't find the owner & they'll say 'bring them in'. That's the last you will ever see of them.

If the owner, or his rightful heir shows up, gladly hand them over. Other than that I'd clean em up, give them a wipe-down with a lightly oiled cloth & let sleeping dogs be.
I really wouldn't mind so much if the police took them, one of them especially. But I get what you're saying, it HAS been a couple years from what I'm told. I just wouldn't want whoever buys them to have any problems. I may just require they go through an FFL even if in-state.

Thank you



Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 glocks View Post
Sounds like you did everything you can to contact the owner.
If someone left guns for over 2 years looks like they do not want them. Are they low value guns?
I don't think they're low value, but I'm not sure especially now. Both are semi-automatic rifles. One is a Garand that's supposedly in decent shape.



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In many legal situations where an individual can not be located a notice in the legal section of the local newspaper is often considered legal notice. This often done in debt default situation, notification of a spouse who has left and can't be located or will not accept service etc.
I really like this idea, gives me some proveable effort to track down the guy. Thank you for this idea, I'm going to do it.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:58   #9
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I don't think they're low value, but I'm not sure especially now. Both are semi-automatic rifles. One is a Garand that's supposedly in decent shape.



Wow, a Garand is not a low value gun.
I was thinking a single barrell shotgun or 22lr bolt action.
I would keep it and if the owner showes let him have it.
No way in hell I would give it to the police to be scraped it a piece of history.
.
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Old 03-16-2013, 11:43   #10
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Not conclusive but it is one check http://pas.fdle.state.fl.us/pas/item/displayGunSearch.a
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Old 03-16-2013, 11:49   #11
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You were entrusted with the guns to keep them, not find a way to turn a buck. You are not charging the original owner rent for storing them. I think that unless you are convicted of a felony and are not allowed possess any firearms, you are under an obligation to keep them safe until you die. Really. I think anything short of that is a flea-market mentality. You know how your friend came into having the guns and you filled that friend's shoes. Formal or informal, you accepted a fiduciary role, not a pawnbroker role.
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:52   #12
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Those guns are toxic assets. Send them to me for proper disposal.

Ok in all seriousness, just hang on to them. If there's room in your safe, I don't think most people would complain about a free Garand with the very slight condition that the person might ask for it back some day, something that may never happen as the owner may be dead. If it's really bugging you, you could look up what the statute is for property to be considered abandoned.
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Old 03-16-2013, 16:52   #13
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Try finding the dude on facebook. You'd be surprised how many people pop right up on there.
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Old 03-16-2013, 18:12   #14
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Good lucky finding the owner. I don't think you have any LEGAL requirement.

But from an ethical prospective. When your friend passes, tell the lawyers your friend was holding something for someone. When they were ill, they asked you to hold this item. Ask them what they would do to find the owner.

The type of object shouldn't matter.
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Old 03-16-2013, 19:54   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 glocks View Post
Wow, a Garand is not a low value gun.
I was thinking a single barrell shotgun or 22lr bolt action.
I would keep it and if the owner showes let him have it.
No way in hell I would give it to the police to be scraped it a piece of history.
.
I don't want to see that either, but I don't want them myself. I'm going to look for a better option. I'll be selling the entire locker-full, most of which were mine until I gave them away 4 years ago. I don't want to keep any of them, especially not those 2. The history associated with the Garand does make me pause, though. I may post pics of it here after I've done what I can to locate the owner, and see if anyone here can tell me specifics about it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce M View Post
Link save for when I see the guns in person, thank you.



Quote:
Originally Posted by 390ish View Post
You were entrusted with the guns to keep them, not find a way to turn a buck. You are not charging the original owner rent for storing them. I think that unless you are convicted of a felony and are not allowed possess any firearms, you are under an obligation to keep them safe until you die. Really. I think anything short of that is a flea-market mentality. You know how your friend came into having the guns and you filled that friend's shoes. Formal or informal, you accepted a fiduciary role, not a pawnbroker role.
A lifetime? That's rediculous! An effort to contact the owner, reasonable amount of time after that, yes. A fiduciary duty doesn't go on forever if the person asked for storage for 'a little while', and never came back for them. As for your comments about 'flea-market mentality', save it. Insults won't change the fact that I don't want the guns here, and once the others are sold I won't continue to pay for the storage locker.

Now do you have any better suggestion for legal, safe disposal of 2 guns that I won't be keeping?



Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnieD View Post
Those guns are toxic assets. Send them to me for proper disposal.

Ok in all seriousness, just hang on to them. If there's room in your safe, I don't think most people would complain about a free Garand with the very slight condition that the person might ask for it back some day, something that may never happen as the owner may be dead. If it's really bugging you, you could look up what the statute is for property to be considered abandoned.
Such a kind, generous offer for you to make.

Those statutes are exactly what I'm looking for information about here. I'm not worried about the owner comeing back 'someday', because he'll have no way to know who I am after the ads I'm going to run are gone. My friend that he gave them to is now living several states away with her daughter. Once I've made valid attempts to find him, and waited out the statutes, only then will I dispose of them.



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Originally Posted by WiskyT View Post
Try finding the dude on facebook. You'd be surprised how many people pop right up on there.
Great idea, thank you. Right after I read this, I searched FB, and found lots of name matches. I found 2 that fit the description I have, and sent them both messages. Cross your fingers. I'm going to go back through, and look for any more possibilities if I don't hear back from one of them.



Quote:
Originally Posted by RWBlue View Post
Good lucky finding the owner. I don't think you have any LEGAL requirement.

But from an ethical prospective. When your friend passes, tell the lawyers your friend was holding something for someone. When they were ill, they asked you to hold this item. Ask them what they would do to find the owner.

The type of object shouldn't matter.
I'll do just that, thank you.
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Old 03-16-2013, 20:02   #16
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ive been trying to reach you , gimmme my guns back !!
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Old 03-16-2013, 20:09   #17
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ive been trying to reach you , gimmme my guns back !!


I was wondering who'd be the first to say that!
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Old 03-16-2013, 20:11   #18
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I was wondering who'd be the first to say that!
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Old 03-16-2013, 20:27   #19
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If you just do not want possession of them, sell them. Put the money somewhere safe and never touch it. If someone comes to claim them, give them that money you set aside from the sell. I'm only guessing that your friend has not had much, if any, contact with the original owner over the last 2 years. If that's the case, I just can't seem to fathom that they are in a position TO get them back. There might be the possibility that there is a sentimental attachment to the guns but, if your friend was not made aware of it (and did not inform you of it) you shouldn't be held liable to secure the emotional attachment to something that someone entrusted in another person without informing them of that attachment.

I have a vague understanding of why you don't want to possess firearms, but from what I read here, you shouldn't have to feel guilty, or mandated, to hold on to something that your not comfortable holding on to. Garands may, or may not be hard to come by, I haven't done the research. Either way, if you sell it at a fair market price, you can reimburse the original owner if/ when they come to collect.

You are going above and beyond what your average person would do to help restore ownership of them in its original hands. You shouldn't have to feel burdened to hold onto them any longer than necessary.







And for the record, no, I'm not interested in buying. My post is strictly my opinion to cater to your wishes, as well as enduring you get to do the right thing by the original owner.


ETA: I got on a rant and missed the point of the OP. No, I don't know the laws on abandoned property, but I would think it would be much shorter than 2 years. If I lose an envelope of cash and someone turns it in, I think( in my county) I only have 30 or so days to collect it. I would think you would be in the clear considering they were given to your friend 2 years ago. On the other hand, I have had a few tonight, so take my opinion for what it's worth; about 60 ozs.

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Old 03-16-2013, 20:40   #20
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What guns?
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