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I know that IP ranges can be returned to RIRs and reassigned, but what about AS numbers?

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AS numbers can be reassigned; quoting RIPE Autonomous System (AS) Number Assignment Policies and Procedures, Section 1.8:

1.8 Returning an AS Number

If an organisation has an AS Number that is no longer in use, it can be returned to the public pool of AS Numbers by sending a message to hostmaster@ripe.net. It can then be reassigned to another Autonomous System by the RIPE NCC.

I can't find a similar public statement from ARIN, but I know someone personally who received a reassigned ASN from ARIN.

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    ARIN probably covers this under section 12, Resource review -- they do not differentiate between IPv4, IPv6, and ASN resources, meaning the policy should apply to all of them. – nicotine Jan 13 '15 at 14:36
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    Anecdotally, there is a post on the NANOG mailing list about the reassignment of AS14558, so it has occurred in the past. – nicotine Jan 13 '15 at 14:41
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AS number can be reassigned or maybe later this year transferred (proposal).

More information can be found: http://www.ripe.net/ripe/docs/2007-01-asn#18 /

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    Please do not duplicate answers - Mike Pennington's answer above already covered the relevant RIPE policy and even provided the excerpt in question. The proposal for ASN transfers might be interesting but would be better added as a comment. – syneticon-dj Jan 13 '15 at 19:15

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