Firearms Serialization And Bureaucratic Momentum

Opinion
Editors Note: Some say firearms serial numbers are just another invasive tool of the government to keep track of your guns. What do you think?

Firearms Serial Numbers
Firearms Serial Numbers

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- Serialization refers to the act of assigning a unique identification code to each item in a series. Although each identifier is typically called a “serial number,” it can include letters, numbers or symbols.

Firearms Serial Numbers

Serialization of various parts of military rifles and pistols was necessitated in a bygone era of manufacturing, where much hand-fitting was necessary at the end of the production process, and parts were thus not interchangeable between individual guns.

Accordingly, consumers understandably wanted a way to keep together all parts assembled at the factory into one gun.

In those days, guns were “roughed-out” by machine, then “finished” by hand. Individual parts were carefully adjusted and modified, as appropriate, so that they worked perfectly together.

Thus, “matching serial numbers” were valued, indeed highly prized.

Today, “hand-fitting” is confined to expensive sporting and “collector” guns.

With current production military guns, and other guns designed for serious purposes, matching serial numbers, at least with regard to functionality, are irrelevant.

With modern serious guns, matching serial numbers attain relevance only within the arbitrary discipline of “collector value”

Until 1968, it was not legally required that rifles manufactured in the USA be serialized at all, although by then most were.

Even so, serialization was required only of receivers.

With modern manufacturing methods and parts that are completely interchangeable between individual product copies, serialization of any part is no longer necessary for the sake of quality control, as noted above, although it is still a legal requirement for receivers.

Most manufacturers continue to serialize other parts as well, mostly due to tradition and bureaucratic momentum.

Many Glocks we see in our Courses are “parts guns.” So long as all parts are “OEM” (Original Equipment Manufacturer), those guns are every bit as functional as new, out-of-the-box pistols.

With ARs, it is pretty much the same.

Firearms serial numbers for good or bad? What do you think?

/John


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc

As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

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tetejaunjack macWillStWaynepigpen51 Recent comment authors
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jack mac
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jack mac

It is apparent why our governments has mandated serial numbers on firearms. That is to trace firearm buyers for possible prosecution. Anybody can be prosecuted for allowing the possession of firearms or ammunition to the prohibited person underclass. Unknowingly allowing access is a weak or no defense of the charge. The same if the firearm was used in performing a criminal act by anyone. The allowing of access is now including theft. Serializing a product is an aid in manufacturing and an aid to proving ownership by the owner. It should be used only by the manufacturer and the product… Read more »

StWayne
Member
StWayne

Serialization is a double edged sword. Like many have reported, it’s way to track a lost or stolen firearm. On the other hand, it helps the left identify who it was that didn’t properly secure their firearm to begin with. Then they will “persecute” the gun owner for failing to adhere. If it’s not already here, it’s coming.

CourageousLion
Member
CourageousLion

I would think that if you were “making” a home made gun of sorts, like completing a 80% lower into a functional rifle, it might be a good idea to get the receiver serialized so that if it was ever stolen you could report it and if it was recovered hopefully you could get it back. Plus for insurance purposes stolen firearms without numbers or a way to trace them would be pretty hard to make a claim for.

Bluemax
Member
Bluemax

Serial numbers are now used as a weapon against the gun owners in Washington State. Guns must be locked up when not carried or used for hunting. If that gun was stolen and not locked up, you will be charged for that as an offense. If you sell to a private individual, they have to go through a back round check Federal and State now to transfer the serialized weapon to the new owners name. A State registry by serial number. If a gun registered to you is used in a crime, you can be charged for letting the criminal… Read more »

tetejaun
Member
tetejaun

…and yet, just as in New York State, the people of Washington State kneel and lick the hand of the tyrant.
Until Americans STAND UP and stop kneeling, these attacks will continue.
It should be a bad life choice for a politician to be anti-Constitution and anti-gun.
Kneel and comply, slaves!

Tionico
Member
Tionico

I am glad MY arms have numbers. Should one be stolen, lost, destroyed, the serial number helps to identify it, things oike age, sub-model, type, etc. And if it is ever located “out there” and the number has been reported as stolen, there is a chance I will get it back (unless it is found by a corrupt local government agency that insist on destroying it, or are too lazy to look it up and do the work of returning it to me. ). Where I have anYOOOOODGE problem with the numbers is the misuse and abuse of them by… Read more »

KenW
Member
KenW

Okay we can agree that serial numbers on firearms plays into Big Brother’s hands.

But one reason for serial numbers that isn’t mentioned is production figures, as in how many of say a Winchester Model 94 were made. And with serial numbers we have a distinction between pre-War (WWII), pre 64 etc.

Take the Ithaca M37 pictured, serial number 855,000 is the cut off when the barrels were made interchangeable.

MICHAEL J
Member
MICHAEL J

I hardly ever look at serial numbers except when I buy a gun, just to make sure I’m getting the right one. They are also used to prevent anyone from assembling a complete gun since the receiver or frame is federally controlled by the serial number and by their guidelines is considered a firearm. In California they just passed laws restricting non-numbered gun parts to be government controlled for sale, so I guess the need for any serial number is useless. It appears that serial numbers can only be used to track down original owners but no one else. These… Read more »

joefoam
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joefoam

Serialization is great for collectors and casual owners desiring to order parts for the correct firearm. Where it goes off the rails is when the gov’t steps in and begins a registry. the pitch that it will help law enforcement return guns stolen or used in crime is BS. If it’s a nice piece it will never make it back to the original owner, rather to someone else’s collection or on to the black market. Registration will never help solve crime.

CourageousLion
Member
CourageousLion

As far as I’m concerned every time a check is run on you when you are purchasing a firearm, a record is being kept. They ask what is it on the phone, but not for serial numbers. So if they OK the sale/tranfer, it is for a pistol, rifle or receiver. They can at any time go to the FFL dealer and confiscate his records to make ACCURATE registrations. As it is, right now they are registering you as a firearms owner. Which in their world is still a registry, and in mine too.

pigpen51
Member
pigpen51

In Michigan, you have I think 10 days to register your paperwork with your local law enforcement officials, on hand guns. So they still have a record of those. It pisses me off, but there is literally no chance that it will ever change.

Will
Member
Will

@pigpen51,how about removing the traitor,treasonous son of a bitches from office through whatever means required ?.

tetejaun
Member
tetejaun

BINGO! As is our Constitutional Right & Duty!
But, I will not hold my breath. Cowardice has a tight grip on Americans.

HoundDogDave
Member
HoundDogDave

They have their place. Consider that one model of gun may have been manufactured at different facilities by various manufacturers over possibly decades. It is not unheard of to find a production, function or safety issue months or even years into a production run that get fixed but no other way to know if you have the new version or not without the serial number. That being said, there is no good reason for anyone to know the number other than the owner and maybe the person looking to buy the firearm. The number should only be used to identify… Read more »

Get Out
Member
Get Out

The question is how many Americans have firearms with serial numbers that aren’t in the current system? How many firearms with serial numbers were handed down or bought in private sales?IMOA, Serialization of a firearm only matters to the manufacturer to help them track how many were made. Firearm serial numbers aren’t supposed to be kept when sold through an FFL, but we know it is. Serial numbers don’t help LEO’s in most cases unless the firearm was reported stolen. If a “Ghost gun” is used in a crime, LEO’s would probably use an engraver on the gun to record… Read more »

Will Flatt
Member

It doesn’t matter what the antigun mob says. Their lies have no power over us. Most important, we need to remember ALL GUN LAWS ARE INFRINGEMENTS.

Will Flatt
Member

I gotta go with @Nam62 on this. The best and really only defensible reason for firearm serialization is for insurance purposes. However, @Finnky is right about serial numbers being bad, from a governmental angle. When things are required by law to have serial #’s, guns – like cars, etc. – end up being more heavily regulated by the government. Uncle Sam ALWAYS places extra burdens on the manufacture, sale, purchase, possession, transfer, loan, or other disposition of serialized items, starting with taxation but having NO END TO IT. The nation’s founders would be ashamed at us for what we allow… Read more »

Terry
Member
Terry

Nice picture Will but I can hear the black helicopters circling your house even a we speak!

Will Flatt
Member

LOL Terry, very funny. I’m not there.

Nam62
Member
Nam62

Firearms only need to have serial number so they can be insured or returned to the owner if stolen or lost.

Finnky
Member
Finnky

I’d have to vote “bad”. If, for some reason, you need to identify your own firearm in a group it is best to have something more recognizable. If I trust a gunsmith enough to leave them my firearm, then I trust them to keep all parts together, separate from anyone else’s parts. Otherwise see no reason for identifying marks.