Chatham County, GA Police Asking for Firearms Serial Numbers for Database

Chatham County, GA Police Asking for Firearms Serial Numbers for Database

Fox28 News reports that the Chatham County Georgia Police Department is asking residents to provide the serial numbers of their firearms in order to help police find them if they are stolen. In a statement by Capt. Daniel Flood…

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a big increase in the number of guns that have been stolen from unlocked cars. From burglaries and that type of thing.” He added, “About a third of them don’t have serial numbers. [The gun owners] don’t record the serial numbers.”

The CCPD is asking county residents to provide the serial numbers of their guns to a third party database that the agency contracts with so that guns that are reported stolen to the police may later be ID’d and recovered.

The serial number website is called ReportIt.

Chatham County, GA Police Asking for Firearms Serial Numbers for Database

Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, if you read the fine print on the bottom of the website, it clear says “ReportIt is not a law enforcement function and does not automatically search for property that may have been lost or stolen.”

My personal answer to their request is…

This is a third party company that is gathering the information. Another term for that is data mining and it’s very profitable. Numerous online companies sell information all the time.

In Florida for example, it’s against state law for any government agency to have a registration or record of any firearm that’s legally owned. But a third party provider would be free to provide that information to any government office if they choose to contract with and purchase that information. The law enforcement agency isn’t maintaining the list. All they do is provide a search query to the record holder. No violation of state law.

Furthermore, ReportIt says the data is secure. But what would happen if that information is hacked as it has been from so many other companies (think Yahoo, Target, Equifax, eBay, JP Morgan Chase…just to name a few)?

As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. A good way for both law enforcement and gun owners to resolve this is simple. Gun owners can (and should) keep their own personal records of their firearm serial numbers in a safe location on paper. That way, if a theft occurs, they can provide it to law enforcement officials. Other than that, keep that information to yourself.


  1. avatar Sam I Am says:

    If a person does not record firearm serial numbers in their home, business, or smartphone, and those firearms are stolen, and there is precious little chance they could identify their firearms if recovered by police, then just don’t report that particular item(s) as being stolen. What’s the point? Evan an insurance company would need unique identifiers in order to reimburse the loss.

    When it comes to government contracting out essential government services, government cannot legally accomplish through a third-party that which government has no authority to do on its own. Comes under the law of agency. Of course, we are talking law, not actual experience (except federal, experience which I have).

    1. avatar SoBe says:

      But, Sam I Am, only I know those serial numbers (and so does the store that sold them – if I bought at a retailer, and NICS – unless the data is really deleted – wink, wink, and the manufacturer – if I claimed the rebate and/or free magazine, case, cap or tee shirt, etc., etc., etc.), I have cyanide pills to ensure no amount of torture will compromise them, and until and/or when my firearm(s) is/are stolen no one else has a need to know. Once and if they are stolen what do I care who knows the serial number(s). In fact, I will publicize them in every way I can. Insurance, ha, ha, ask governor Soprano about my firearms insurance policy.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        I may have been unclear.

        If a gun owner does not have serial numbers recorded anywhere, and the firearms are stolen, what is the point in reporting the theft (unless required by law)? Police cannot identify and return stolen property that has no unique identification markings, so the theft victim will not recover the lost items (guns, jewelry, artwork, etc). I.E., registering valuable items with police is pointless, if they cannot be identified as actually belonging to the victim of theft.

        Reporting the theft of valuable items to the police is just as pointless. The whole theory of registering anything for post theft recovery is that when police stumble onto stuff, they will hurry to search the database, and notify the victim to come recover the items. Like that is going to happen.

        1. avatar PsyGuy says:

          Its not pointless in the tracking of thefts in an area and other stats as well as maybe narrowing down where targets may be and increasing scrutiny and possibly catching people who are doing this.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Its not pointless in the tracking of thefts in an area and other stats as well as maybe narrowing down where targets may be and increasing scrutiny”

          Reporting theft of non-identifiable items is pointless if the purpose for registration is to simply get the items back to the theft victim (as advertised by the cops in this episode).

          As for crime statistics analysis, cops already know where the gun/item was found, so that bit of info is not dependent on registering valuable items. Plenty of analysis can be done on where stolen goods seem to keep popping up. Dry up the market for the stolen goods, and the need for tracking the items to gain the result of fewer stolen goods on the market is kinda self-healing.

          The whole idea that tracking crime guns can accomplish anything is blunted by the fact that tracing valuable items does not reduce theft, anywhere. Nor does tracing gun ownership account for more than a handful of successful events of tracking a weapon to a criminal (that’s just Hollywood stuff).

        3. avatar SoBe says:

          Good point, that is the point of the Cyanide. The serial numbers are already out there unless you believe the premises I had postulated. Thus, once gone what is the point of maintaining the charade of secrecy. No chance of recovery, and even if they happened to have located them they won’t return them, any chance of them being returned, and no chance of an insurance claim. The only thing a database of serial numbers can possibly accomplish is to tie you into a crime dissociated from you.

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “No chance of recovery, and even if they happened to have located them they won’t return them, any chance of them being returned, and no chance of an insurance claim.”


  2. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    Nope. Keeping records is part of owning things with more than $100.

    1. avatar TruthTellers says:

      That’s another part of the plan: excise taxes on gun possession. Most gun owners own more than one gun and the colllective value of those guns owned can exceed the value of a vehicle, but the thing is guns don’t really depreciate in value unless they’re badly damaged by accident or neglect, so the estimated value of the personal firearms owned will stay the same.

      The only way you can levy a tax on gun ownership is by registration and then you can go a step further and mandate insurance, just like with cars. That will keep the poor who already have a hard time owning guns from keeping them because it’ll cost too much and the goal over time will be to make it so expensive with taxes and regulations that only the richest of society will be able to afford them.

      1. avatar Brian in WI says:

        I would go further, this system appears to want to inventory ALL of your valuable items, not just firearms. The same tax could be assessed for other categories. How much would the government like to know about any art, jewelry, electronics, camera gear, antiques or other potentially very valuable items in order to tax them? I would argue they would very much like to find new streams of revenue and this would be a great way to get one. All sold under the guise of helping you out in case some criminal steals it.

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        “…but the thing is guns don’t really depreciate in value unless…”

        Unless you sell them to Cabela’s. FTFY.

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          …or a typical pawn shop…

  3. avatar Michael says:

    C’mon all a you lobsters, they’re goin’ for the slow boil. It’s ’bout a quarter past time we get out of the pot! -30-

    1. avatar Michael Buley says:

      Precisely. Up that temp a notch or two more … there … nobody really notice? Perfection!

    2. avatar VaqueroJustice says:

      Dad-a-chum ?
      Did-a-chick ?

      1. avatar ferret427 says:

        You go Gunslinger!

  4. avatar Ken says:

    SecureIt and ReporIt are very different companies. You mixed them up in the next to last paragraph.

    1. Thanks for pointing out the error. Fixed.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        “Tom in Oregon” update?

        1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

          Tom last reported he has regained full use of his arm.

          His wife is undoubtedly pleased as his chores have been stacking up… 🙂

  5. avatar Kman says:

    Askin ain’t gittin.

    I have my serial numbers and can provide them if guns are stolen.

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      exactly. If any of my firearms are stolen I will provide the serial number to the police when I file a report, there is no need to “preemptively” provide this data.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Filed a police report in San Antonio on stolen Python in 1969, complete with SN and full description, time of day, etc, all within an hour of theft. In 6 months it will be 50 years I have not heard shit from them. I have no SN records, consider that I self insure, do not plan to ever report gun thefts again. WTF for?

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Oh, and I also self police my gun safe, will call officials to collect the bodies.

  6. avatar JD says:

    My personal answer to their requests would be…… FUCK. OFF.

  7. avatar former water walker says:

    I’m “supposed” to keep a record of every firearm bought & sold in ILLinois. Which I have. Part of the FOID BS. No chance I’d willingly give it to a 3rd party…

  8. avatar Craig in IA says:

    Sure- WTH? Give the numbers to them, right along with your cute little “Ancestory” DNA kit.

  9. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Even if you list the serial numbers of your personally owned guns and rifles.
    If stolen. The odds you will get them back is pretty bad. Near zero if used in a crime. Give those numbers voluntarily to the local Gendarmes. The odds they will be the 1st taken. Go up pretty good.
    I don’t think so is the proper answer to the local cops.

  10. avatar MyName says:

    Yeah, No.

  11. avatar tdiinva says:

    I have a list of serial numbers. If any of my guns are lost or stolen I will be the one providing the serial numbers to the police in the police report.

  12. avatar Enuf Istoomuch says:

    Whether they ask politely or make demands the answer is the same: NO WAY IN HELL!

    I already maintain my own private records of my firearms. I take photos on my phone and save them where and how I chose. If I need them I can get them, no worries. To my thinking everyone should do this in whatever fashion satisfies them. If a gun is stolen you should report it. If the house burns down, records safely kept someplace else are a wise investment for your insurance claim.

    But putting that info where a government suggests or directs? Not a good plan at all.

    Also, think about all the personal and private info lost to hackers over the years. Who is truly at ease with a private company having that sort of information?

  13. avatar Ark says:

    lol, nope. I have my own serial number documentation. Law enforcement will receive that information when I judge it damn well necessary.

  14. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Only a gun owner who totally trusts the government would give them personal weapons information, BEFORE their guns were stolen. Unfortunately there are far too many Low Information gun owners out there.

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    The Commiewealth of Massivetwoshits already has all the serial numbers of all my guns. There’s not much I can do about that. But give the same info to a private company other than my own insurance carrier? NFW.

    1. avatar Anonymous says:

      Yeah, I don’t know why you stay there.

      1. avatar Warlocc says:

        Same reason as me. Moving is easier said than done.

        Unless you’re going to set us up with a home until we find a job in the new place, you’re just talking crap.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          After graduating from HS and college I was faced with the concept of finding a job. First consideration on my list was certain states I would not live in. That was 49 years ago, and I have not lived in any of them yet, though I have added some new ones, notably CA. Not all about guns, but staying awake, not just being run over.

  16. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    And don’t forget the possibility of our very own government “hacking” or outright stealing (through coercion) the data in that database.

  17. avatar fteter says:

    I’ll keep my own private list of serial numbers for my guns. And I’ll be happy to share those serial numbers with law enforcement if the guns are stolen. But not before then. So thanks, but I’ll take care of this myself. Have a nice day.

  18. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Um … the info on the encrypted flash drive my lawyer holds for me isn’t good enough?

  19. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    I can produce the serial #s when that’s useful for me. If they hold them, they can produce and access them when it’s useful to them.

    Who’s this for, again?

  20. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    I have any idea that I’m sure the Chatham County Georgia Police Department would fully support. In order to ensure safer residential neighborhoods the names and addresses of all sworn officers should be publically released so in emergencies neighbors could immediately contact the closest law enforcement officer.

  21. avatar Scooter says:

    If any of my gats get got, I’ll pony up the serial number. Until said time, each number is record and securely stored securely within the security of a security device in the security of my secure residence in a secure location. In other words, that is “need to know” info, and you don’t need to know until you need to know, you know?

    1. avatar Snake Plisskin says:

      Major Flagg is that you? Always liked you on M*A*S*H.

  22. avatar PMinFl says:

    Just a first step in regulation / confiscation…………..don’t hold your breath!

  23. avatar painlessbob says:

    An analogous program from 20+ years ago had the cops generously offering to store the fingerprints of children for the same reason: Theft, i.e., kidnapping, lost, murdered, etc.

    It was just as stupid as this gun S/N storage scheme and the only sensible response was the same: Fingerprint your kids and put the cards in your [gun] safe and tell the cops, “No f’ing thanks.”

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Did they want naked pictures, too? For “ID”, of course?

  24. avatar james says:

    I would love to help but all my guns got lost in the hurricane.

  25. avatar RMS1911 says:

    Any excuse to get in your business will do.

  26. avatar PeterC says:

    Guns? What guns?

  27. avatar Sam I Am says:

    My Daddy always said, “If you find there is a list for something, stay off it.”

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:


  28. avatar Alan says:

    My personal response, others are free to do as they like, to a request from Christ knows who, for serial numbers or other identifying data of firearms that I may or may not own or control is as follows. Politely put, Go Away.

  29. avatar Robert says:

    I will gladly provide serial numbers for my firearms IF and WHEN they are stolen.

  30. avatar GS650G says:

    “Hello there Mr. Gun owner. We would like to know where the gun with serial number 47638373 is because a gun like it was used in a crime last night.
    We are going to take it now and run tests on it. We’ll give it back when we’re done”

  31. avatar DJ says:

    Civil forfeiture. Remember they would NEVER abuse that.

  32. avatar binder says:

    Come on, the whole reason for all this S.N. B.S. is so that a straw purchaser or their FFL can keep telling the cops the gun was stolen AFTER they trace it back to them. When is TAG ever going to understand that the majority of “crime” guns are straw purchases and NOT stolen guns. But the fact is that unless you confess ( and I’m sorry, but real gun runners are not that stupid) there is almost no way to bust straw purchasers.

  33. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I didn’t know it was April already.

  34. avatar Hannibal says:

    It’s a very good idea to record your serial numbers and keep that record in a safe place. If you do that, and you should, I don’t see why anyone else would need them. If someone steals one, can’t you just give the serial number to the police THEN?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Good question! Here’s another – WTF do you think the police are going to do with it? Enter it into their magic SN detector so they can track it with their iphones?

  35. avatar possum says:

    Yeh, my gunz serial number is GFY666

  36. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Chatham County Georgia Police Department is asking residents to provide the serial numbers of their firearms in order to help police find them if they are stolen. Pound Sand

  37. avatar Sora says:

    Police won’t do shit after you report it as stolen.
    They don’t have people searching up and down Gun Broker and asking for serials.

    Criminals who are out to shoot people will shoot anyways, serial or no serials.
    If the thief sells to a non-criminal, the buyer won’t know anything and still won’t go out to shoot others just because it was a stolen gun.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      When the police find a gun- say on a traffic stop search or on a burglar in another house, etc- they run it through a national stolen serial number registry. If you enter your gun in it (after it’s stolen, obviously) they now not only that the gun was stolen but who the victim is so that they can pursue charges (and, eventually, return the gun).

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        and provide more and more justification why all firearms should be registered on pain of death, so they can return your guns to you (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Recommend you do not hold your breath.

  38. avatar Roy Johnson says:

    How I can report what I don’t have?

  39. avatar joefoam says:

    What an interesting pitch from this data miner. are they collecting serial numbers from items that are more likely to be stolen such as TVs, computers, phones or small appliances or just guns? Great way to create a registry for LE to use come confiscation time. Keep your own records.

  40. avatar KG Maiden says:


  41. avatar Tom in McDonough says:

    I just maintain my own database of the numbers for those items that have them. I’ll release what I have to for recovery by police if it comes to that. But until then, nobody but me needs those numbers.

  42. avatar Alan says:

    According to Reportit, the data, serial numbers, “is secure”. Pardon me for so noting, but I have heard this song before, altogether to many times.

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