What to do if you find a gun magnet fishing?
When your typical magnet fisher is asked what they would most like to find on their ventures, you will often find dangerous items like a gun at the top of the list. There’s no doubt this would be a great find but it certainly raises some questions about what you should do next. Can you take it home? Can you keep it? Do you have to ring the police? Here we will answer all the questions if you come across a gun.
Now, one of the first things people do is snap a picture and share it with the many magnet fishing communities on social media. These communities have members with a wealth of knowledge but these individuals are most likely not firearm or legal experts. If you search for these instances, you will often find comments like:
“barrels aren’t a gun you don’t need a licence for them”
“keep it! just don’t tell anyone!”
“its fine it’s got rust on it it’ll never shoot again”
It’s important to note; make sure the person you are speaking to actually knows what they are talking about. If you are breaking the law, this is your liberty that is in question, not theirs. So, do your due diligence and take internet comments a pinch of salt. Advice should only be given by firearms experts and the internet is notorious for spreading misinformation. On the other hand, if you find someone else has come across a dangerous weapon, only give advice if you are qualified to do so because you could be endangering another person’s life.
What are the consequences?
The consequences can be significant with can include a prison sentence for illegal possession of a firearm. In the eyes of the law ‘I fished it of a canal and didn’t know’ is not an acceptable answer and will not hold up in court. A firearm is a firearm.
Prison time is not the only consequence firearms may also be live and loaded without your knowledge. If the gun discharges you could cause serious injury or death to other individuals or yourself.
The consequence of being in illegal possession of a firearm is significant and can lead to a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years. If you do get caught with a firearm and you stated it was fished out of a canal and you weren’t aware of the illegality behind it, you would still be in trouble. As per Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote, “ignorance of the law is no excuse in any country. If it were, the laws would lose their effect, because it can always be pretended”.
What should you do?
If you find a gun, by all means share pictures of your find with family, friends and the magnet fishing community – there is no harm in this. However, for your own and other’s safety, contact the police and they will advise you on how to dispose of it safely or if it is legal for you to keep. Make sure you call before turning up to a police station- if you are stopped with the gun in your possession, you may get in trouble even if your excuse is that you were taking it to a police station. You may be asked to bring it into the station, in which case you are safe to travel with it since you have been asked to do so. In other cases the police may come and pick it up from you.
If you want more information about the gun, take as many pictures as you can and if you find a serial number, name or stamp you will have a much better chance of identifying it.