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The police weren't supposed to turn over any property of the deceased to anyone but the executor of the estate. The background check is a side issue and has nothing to do with the ownership of the guns.
At this stage you, as the executor, have a duty to raise the issue with the court and to sue the landlord and possibly the police for the return of the guns.
The Sheriff's Office really has no way to correct he problem at this point. They weren't supposed to turn them over to them in the first place but once they did there is really no way for them to reverse the decision without filing a lawsuit which they aren't going to do. As an executor you have a "fiduciary duty" to the estate to ace in the estate's best interest which includes bringing lawsuits, etc.