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View Full Version : Covered/Obscured Serial Numbers??


rorschach
04-24-2006, 4:54 PM
Question: Is it unlawful to own possess a firearm with the serial # covered?? Reason I ask is I have 2 870's with side saddle shell holders mounted to the left side of the receiver, and they cover the "Remington Express Magnum" rollmark, as well as the serial number. I installed the shellholder on one, the other one came installed from Wilson/Scattergun when I purchased it at Turners.

I also have a Hi-Power with a Hogue one piece grip that wraps around the frontstrap. As those of you with Hi-Powers, (P-35's, M1935's whatever you want to call them) know, the ID number is on the frontstrap of the grip, and in my particular case, is covered by the aftermarket grip.

I know it is illegal to obliterate or alter a serial number, but how about if its covered? If for some reason an LEO wants to run the numbers through the DOJ or NCIC and he cant see the numbers, can he seize my weapons? I know for a fact they arent gonna want me handling them and attempting to remove parts so the serial numbers are visible, out on the freeway or at the range or wherever I may be if I get stopped.

Opinions??

I know some LEO's just arent gun saavy as they should be, for example a long time ago, I was stopped by Montebello PD on my way home from the Whittier Narrows. I had the 1st gun I ever bought, a M12 Winchester (80xxx cicra 1915) locked in the trunk, with no ammunition at all in the car. He told me he stopped me because of a broken taillight lens (which I admitted to), and I told him there was a gun in the car. So they got me out, sat me on the curb and got my tube out of the trunk. The serial number was very faint, but still readable in the light. The guy then hooked me up for not having a serial number, and when I told him where it was, he called in and ran it as a "Poly-choke Company 12 gauge, serial number 80xxx" I realized he had missed the giant WINCHESTER-MOD.1912 on the barrel, and was reading the manufacturers name on the adjustable choke!! At the time I was a CHP explorer (i was only like 19 or so,) and he was threatening me that he was gonna call my advisor at the CHP station and get me kicked out for driving around Montebello with a "cohete" and if I was a Montebello PD explorer he would have thrown me out and ruined my chances of going to the academy, blah blah blah. I just took it all with a grain of salt as I knew what kind of idiot I was dealing with. They let me go, but kept my shotgun, and I went and picked it up the same day from the station. Some sergeant came out and told me that because the serial number was so worn that it was an "altered or obliterated" ID number, blah blah blah. Fill out the form sign here have a nice day sir...

xenophobe
04-24-2006, 5:21 PM
As long as the serial numbers have not been removed or altered from the receiver of the firearm, you are perfectly fine.

blacklisted
04-24-2006, 8:35 PM
Damn, what would they have done if the gun never had a serial number like many old guns?

kantstudien
04-24-2006, 8:48 PM
The cop could remove your sidesaddle if he wanted too.

jessegpresley
04-24-2006, 9:15 PM
I think Mesa Tactical shellholders have windows for the serial number on 870's.

xenophobe
04-24-2006, 9:51 PM
Damn, what would they have done if the gun never had a serial number like many old guns?

Anything manufactured before 1968 isn't required to have a serial number, so nothing....

kantstudien
04-24-2006, 9:56 PM
Anything manufactured before 1968 isn't required to have a serial number, so nothing....

So how would you DROS one? Make a serial number up with Mr. Dremel?

jdberger
04-24-2006, 10:01 PM
I think that most handguns made before '68 had s/n's (of course, someone is about to prove me wrong).

Is a serial number required for a long gun DROS?

Ford8N
04-25-2006, 4:51 AM
A lot of the early H&R revolvers, the serial number is under the grip.

Satex
04-25-2006, 9:51 AM
If a serial number engraving on a weapon is worn out, wouldn't be ok to re-engrave it?

EBWhite
04-25-2006, 10:11 AM
If a serial number engraving on a weapon is worn out, wouldn't be ok to re-engrave it?

Yes, its YOUR gun isnt it?

As long as you are an HONEST person with an honest reason and do not change the serial number your doing nothing wrong. You will not run into a problem unless you start messing around like "not putting a serial number back on or changing it...(not a good idea)

SC_00_05
04-25-2006, 9:52 PM
Alright, this may be totally wrong, but I remember reading that it's completely legal to cover your S/N with black electric tape and the cop would need to get a warrant to take it off and run the numbers. He can't legally peel it off to get a little look. If somebody with more legal knowledge can chime in, that'd help.

xenophobe
04-25-2006, 10:32 PM
So how would you DROS one? Make a serial number up with Mr. Dremel?

Serial number would read "NSN - PRE 68"

socalguns
04-25-2006, 10:40 PM
http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/dwcl/12090.htm
outlines that its illegal to OBLITERATE identifyin marks ....

No mention of tape :)
So I think is completely legal for you to put tape on your gun
however the following says that in certain circumstances, you have to let a peace officer to examine your firearm so he can determine that its unloaded

http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/dwcl/12020.htm

(e) In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory. Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of this section.

Some prosecutor could argue that examine includes checking the serialnumber, but I highly doubt he'd get away with it in the end

jdberger
04-25-2006, 10:50 PM
Alright, this may be totally wrong, but I remember reading that it's completely legal to cover your S/N with black electric tape and the cop would need to get a warrant to take it off and run the numbers. He can't legally peel it off to get a little look. If somebody with more legal knowledge can chime in, that'd help.
Hmmm....no.
But even if it is, what would the point be?

EBWhite
04-25-2006, 10:56 PM
Hmmm....no.
But even if it is, what would the point be?


To be a dick back. Make it harder for the govt. to do their job since they burden us with many gun laws.

socalguns
04-25-2006, 10:57 PM
So did you get your gun back?
I think you shouldn't have signed anything.
You should have gotten yourself a lawyer.
He had no cause to examine your trunk.
He had no cause to examine your firearm.
He had no cause to seize your firearm.
Instead of intimidating you, the cop should've given you
a ticket and sent you on your way.
He violated your civil rights,
you should have reminded him (by lawyering up)
thats not in his job description.

socalguns
04-25-2006, 11:00 PM
The point is consent. Some cops forget warrantless search is a no-no.

jdberger
04-25-2006, 11:24 PM
To be a dick back. Make it harder for the govt. to do their job since they burden us with many gun laws.
Sure....

'Cause think of all the money you can sue them for later on.
get real.

How about just being polite. Being nice. Being friendly?

Then, if the sucker really violates you rights, you can go after them.

<exasperated>>

EBWhite
04-25-2006, 11:34 PM
Sure....

'Cause think of all the money you can sue them for later on.
get real.

How about just being polite. Being nice. Being friendly?

Then, if the sucker really violates you rights, you can go after them.

<exasperated>>


No your absolutely right- There is no reason to be mean to a cop unless they cop (no pun intended) an attitude towards you.
Funny story is....
I had just bought a car back- 4 years ago now and replaced the license plates with the stars and bars as I waited for the plates from the DMV. I was pulled over in Glendale and said the reason was no license plates. I said if you check the windshield you will see temp tags. Cop said okay and asked "do you have any drugs or guns in the car. " I said no and i was polite throughout and he had an attitude as he was offended by my personal choice of license plates. Well, he then said once you get the DMV plates put them on or I can cite you next time. He also said "You not allowed to drive around with the stars and bars for a license plate, it is an illegal symbol." I replied, "you can go F- yourself, this is a free country and you are violating my civil rights." He walked back to the patrol car and I did not have any rude comments after that.

But again, treat people how you want to be treated, but if a cop is going to treat you bad for having a gun legally, then make it very hard for him. Be uncooperative and make his life hard (since hes doing that to you) ;)

rorschach
04-25-2006, 11:34 PM
So did you get your gun back?
I think you shouldn't have signed anything.
You should have gotten yourself a lawyer.
He had no cause to examine your trunk.
He had no cause to examine your firearm.
He had no cause to seize your firearm.
Instead of intimidating you, the cop should've given you
a ticket and sent you on your way.
He violated your civil rights,
you should have reminded him (by lawyering up)
thats not in his job description.

The officer asked me if I had any guns in the car, to which I replied yes. It was my understanding that officers may inspect any firearm without warrant. After a patdown, they took my keys, sat me on the curb, opened the trunk and got my shotgun out of its case. They then asked if they could search the car, to which I consented ( I had nothing to hide, and I figured that they would see I'm not some hood that does have something to hide) In the end, they seized it cause they couldnt read the numbers (or so they say) and I had to go sign for it at the station to get it back.

Ironically, in front of the Montebello PD station, they had this disgusting piece of sculpture, like a tall black monolith, made entirely of seized weapons- you can see rifle barrels, cylinders and frames and such, torched and bent all up and welded together. I wonder how many of those they couldnt read the numbers off of.:mad:

socalguns
04-25-2006, 11:59 PM
You kind of stepped in it by answering questions and consenting :)
but you still should've gotten an attorney.

Yes, a cop can ask to examine your firearm,
but you don't have to answer his questions :)
and refusing to answer is not an admission of guilt ;)


12031 (e) In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory. Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of this section.



You still should've gotten an attorney.
At minimum you should've filed a complaint.
If a cop likes to make you go down to the station,
then he deserves to have his record reviewed
(enough complaints and he will).