Go ahead, ask me about the guns; 5 rifles, 2 handguns and box after box of ammo. All right there, years ago, on this one little estate. Did I mention that one of the guns was a loaded rifle? Not safe. Oh, and the pin-in grenades! Okay, well they turned out to be dummies, but not before I lost another 5ccs of adrenaline. Let’s just say that I have learned a lot about firearms!
What Makes a Gun an Antique and Why Does it Matter?
Did you know that auction houses can only sell “antique guns?” Yes. And that is why it matters! How do you know if you have an antique gun? Roughly speaking, if your gun was manufactured prior to the beginning of the 20th century, it may well be considered an antique. The specific laws which govern antique firearms vary widely; however, there are a few things here which may help you better determine if yours could be sold at auction.
4 Questions to Ask to Help Determine if Your Gun is Antique
- Was your firearm manufactured more than 50 years prior to today’s date?
- Is your gun certified as “museum quality” by a curator of a city, state or federal museum?
- Is your firearm considered, or will your gun realize a considerable part of its value from being a novelty, significantly rare or bizarre?
- Is your firearm associated with a historical figure, event or period of time?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to talk with an auction house about your firearm; they may be interested and legally able to sell your gun.
Back to the story. So, I called my buddy CJ, a retired sheriff, and he came to our rescue. He unloaded the gun, checked all the others, and turned in and destroyed the 15-20lbs ammo as required by law. I was especially grateful for the ammo-handling! I wasn’t sure about walking into the San Francisco Police station saying, “well you see officer, I have this client ….”
How To Determine if a Grenade is Real?
In determining whether a grenade is real or not, there is ONE rule of thumb (that is if you want to keep said thumb)… Don’t touch it… AT ALL! Leave it just where it is and photograph it in place without getting too close. TIP: Set your camera to the highest resolution possible. Take photo with you and go directly to the cops! You can print out a nice big color print and/or bring a flash/thumb drive with the image on it. That way the police can zoom in to see markings and detail on the digital photo. The bottom line: Have the Police handle it!
You may be asking yourself, “Breeze, what happened to the grenades you found?” Well, I was relieved to learn that while the guns and ammo I’d found were real, the grenades were actually dummies. Whew! I did, however, still need to remove the firepower. What to do?
What Do I Do with the Guns?
My best advice is as follows; you make certain the guns are NOT LOADED . If you do not know how to handle the firearm do not attempt to unload on your own. Seek the assistance of someone who does. Again, call the police for help. Once you know the guns are FULLY unloaded (no ammo ANYWHERE in the weapon), securely wrap the larger guns in paper pads and place the handguns in a small briefcase for transport to a reputable, used gun dealer.
I have to say that when I did this I felt like James Bond! With an official copy of the death certificate in hand, the rifles wrapped and secured in a lamp box and the handguns in their attaché case, I drove 20 miles to the Old West Gun Room in El Cerrito to consign them for legal sale. Whew! TIP: Remember to bring an official copy of the death certificate with you as you will need to leave it behind with the firearms.
If you would rather leave details like this to a professional, you are always welcome to give me a call.