Buying Unclaimed Guns Seized by the Transportation Safety Administration

  1. GPS1504
    In a recent article, we discussed the Transportation Safety Administration and what they require of those who intend to take guns on airplanes. If you plan on traveling with your Ruger, such information is a must-have. Those of us who abide by these laws and take responsibility for our firearms during travel (and at all other times) should have no problem taking trips that go off without a hitch. Unfortunately not everyone has the same mindset and some people prefer to wing it instead of following the letter of the law.

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    Photo: TSA Blog

    Despite the fact that legal information is out there for the public to review, guns are still concealed in luggage on a frequent basis. Once these firearms are discovered and seized by the TSA and local law enforcement, some of them go unclaimed, such as in cases where those transporting them may not have had the purest of intentions from the start. In cases such as this, you could possibly be able to acquire such guns at reasonable prices. Different polices exist amongst states as to how these weapons are handled, but in some cases they are auctioned off to responsible gun owners. However, it is possible that a combined effort is made by various agencies to hold these auctions, so in addition to TSA seized items, you could be presented with a plethora of items for sale up to and including vehicles. Though some items are scrapped, plenty are still available for sale. For a list of auction resources by state, click here, and be sure to register beforehand to ensure you will be able to make purchases when the sales begin.

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    Photo: KREM

    If you are curious as to the type of items the TSA finds and ultimately what might come up for sale at any given time, a good way to stay abreast of their finds is by following the TSA blog. It is here that they catalog their finds on a regular basis and some of what is found may surprise you. While the average law abiding citizen would not consider trying to sneak a weapon past security, not everyone abides by the law. In some cases it could be mere forgetfulness and people fail to recall putting a gun, loaded or not, into their luggage. Whatever the case, it happens time and time again. Of the 653 million people screened by the TSA in 2014, 2,212 had firearms in carry-on bags. Of those 2,212, more than 1,800 (83%) were loaded. In fact, just this week alone, 42 firearms were discovered, 33 of which were loaded with 15 containing chambered rounds. Keep in mind, too, that these are carry-on bags only. There are guns in checked luggage as well, which is acceptable if declared. It not declared and found by the TSA, those guns follow the same auction channels. Of these firearms, those that are not claimed can go on to become yours via outlets such as the auctions mentioned above.

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    Photo: Local 10

    In the end, the obvious choice is to either leave your Ruger at home or travel with it per regulation. Since the penalty for breaking gun travel laws can be as high as $7,500, bringing a gun along where it does not belong can amount to quite an expensive mistake. Worse yet is that gun going on to be sold to someone else. Although good deals are to be had by those buying, no one wants to find themselves in a situation where their firearm may be seized and sold while they are left footing the bill for an innocent mistake. Because of this, always make it a point to check twice before you travel.

    Have you ever attended an auction where TSA seized firearms were sold? Did you find a good deal on a Ruger or any other type of gun? Would you attend another such auction in the future? Let us know in the comments.

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