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Erie men arrested for possessing allegedly stolen guns

A 20-year-old man was arrested by Erie police last week after officers found an allegedly stolen gun in his car during a traffic stop. His arrest came days after police arrested another man on suspicion of a similar offense.

The 20-year-old gun crime suspect was jailed on a $10,000 bond after police found the .45-caliber handgun in his car. He had been pulled over for having no taillights. He has been charged with receiving stolen property. Police could not say where they believe the gun had been stolen.

Earlier last week, a 19-year-old man was arrested after police found him with a handgun they believe was stolen from Vernon township in 2006. The man had been in an altercation that involved 30-40 teenagers that ended with gunfire. He has been has been charged with simple assault, recklessly endangerment, terroristic threats, harassment, possessing instruments of crime, prohibited offensive weapon and criminal mischief.

The men's arrests highlight the importance gun owners must place on properly documenting their firearms and making sure they purchase firearms in an entirely above-ground manner. Doing so will help avoid stolen gun complications. The following tips might prove useful to avoid any problems with the legitimacy of a weapon:

•· Weapons purchased from certain sources, such as flea markets and swap meets, should be viewed with extra caution as it isn't immediately clear where the seller obtained the gun. Purchases through the mail or over the Internet are especially hard to verify.

•· Keep all paperwork regarding your firearm in a safe place, but do not hide it so much that you wouldn't be able to produce it, if necessary.

•· If possible, buy from someone you trust. A reputable seller or a seller you know personally may be less likely to sell you a stolen gun.

Sources:

•· Erie Times-News, "Erie man charged with having stolen gun," 10 June 2011.

Erie Times-News, "Erie man faces two sets of gun charges related to weekend shooting," 7 June 2011.

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