How to Locate Personal Stolen Guns

How to Locate Personal Stolen Guns

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Because guns have a high value on the street, they are often a prime target for thieves. Although your insurance company may compensate you for the monetary value of your gun, it can do nothing to ease the emotional attachment you may feel to your lost weapon--especially if the gun was customized or a gift from a loved one. There are steps you can take, however, to attempt to locate and recover your stolen gun.

Write down a description of the gun. Include any custom features or engravings the weapon had along with the type of weapon it is and its serial number.

Take the gun's description to the police department and file a police report of the theft. Not only is this a crucial part of locating and recovering your missing firearm, but in some states, such as New York and Ohio, it is illegal not to file a police report when your gun is lost or stolen. Get a copy of the police report for your own records.

Ask the police department to submit your gun's serial number to the National Crime Information System (NCIS) database. The NCIS database is referenced by law enforcement officers in every state, thus you have a much higher chance of recovering your gun if it appears in the system (See References).

List your gun, its serial number and its basic description on any one of the numerous firearm recovery websites, such as or If you have a photograph of the missing firearm, you may post that as well to help others identify your gun if they should see it.

Visit all the pawn shops in your area. Thieves often pawn the items they steal for quick cash. If you should find your stolen gun in a pawn shop, alert the police immediately. State laws vary, and you may need to go so far as to get a court order to have the firearm returned.

Take out an ad in your local newspaper or put up flyers in your neighborhood letting the public know that your gun was stolen. Unfortunately, you cannot always depend on the altruism of the public. Offer a reward for the return of your stolen gun.


  • If you find your stolen gun in a pawn shop, don't notify the shop owner until after you have contacted the police.


  • If you don't find your gun at first, don't give up. The police will run the serial number of every weapon they recover. Should your gun ever turn up, you will be immediately notified.
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