Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Firearm Records

You should have a record of pretty much anything with a serial number, but for now I'll concentrate specifically firearms.

I know of several cases in which firearms were stolen in a burglary (one involved a personal friend - in his case, guns from his father and grandfather) and there were no descriptions or recorded serial numbers, which meant about zero chance of ever getting those guns back. This happens a lot, so don't let it happen to you.

Make records, and make copies. In these days of digital cameras and flash drives and writable CD/DVDs, there’s no reason not to use them. My suggestions on firearms:
  1. Make a list of important information for each firearm such as brand, model, serial number, other identifying marks or numbers, etc.
  2. Take a picture of each firearm. If there are identifying/proof features on both sides, take one of each side.
  3. Label each picture as to what it is. Either put the serial number in the picture name, or keep the list together with the pictures. Preferably both.
  4. Make a hard copy of the list to keep with the other media, just in case something happens to the electronic copies. Paper and ink are cheap. 
  5. Make at least two copies: one to keep with you, preferably in a fire-resistant storage box or safe, and one in a secure off-site location (with relatives, safety deposit box, whatever).
Flash drives or other re-writable media are great; you can update them at any time. Paper records will have to be printed again when things change; again, paper and ink are cheap.

Don’t store your only record on your computer! In fact, you shouldn't leave any copy on the computer; once you copy anything on it to the storage media, securely wipe the files on the PC (laptop, tablet, whatever), just to be safe in case of viruses.

These records are good for more than just theft; if there's a fire, or flood, or a small SMOD, you'll need to be able to show the insurance people just what you have. These directions will also work on other things, like your computer or TV or power tools. But if, for some reason, you don't have an inventory of everything, at least make one of your firearms.

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