Quik Pawn Shop Blog

What to know before pawning a firearm


If you are thinking about using a firearm as collateral to get a pawn loan, it is important to understand a few things upfront that may affect your pawning experience. Although most pawnbrokers accept firearms for pawn or to buy outright, if you are a gun owner, you must comply with many state and federal regulations and obligations. The same is true for pawn shops since they are also subject to firearm regulations.


Below, we’ll explain more on a few special rules and regulations you may have to encounter when pawning a firearm. In the end, we hope you understand what will be expected of you and leave well-equipped with insight for whenever you do decide to pawn your firearm.





How to choose the right pawn shop

Ask about their special licenses. Pawn shops follow strict local and federal regulations. Pawnbrokers are required by federal law to have a special license to accept firearms. Before you pawn your firearm, check to see if the location you are going to is even accepting them.


How to prep the gun before you pawn it

Make sure it’s unloaded. First thing to know is one should always be sure the firearm is unloaded before bringing it into the pawn shop. If you have a case, bring the gun in its case. When you bring it to the pawn location, the sales associate will also verify that it is not loaded. We understand that some firearms may be family heir looms and hold a special value to you, but this is nothing personal. Pawn shops just need to take an extra safety precaution for you and for themselves.


How to hold the gun during your pawn transaction

Keep the gun in a safe direction. Also when you bring the firearm in, be sure to keep your finger off the trigger as well as have the firearm pointed in a safe direction. It is always better to treat a firearm like it is loaded and take the proper safety precautions even when you know it is unloaded. Once the sales associate has made sure the firearm is in fact unloaded they will place a safety zip strap through some part of the firearm to make sure it cannot be loaded. Again, this is just an extra safety precaution pawn shops usually take for the betterment of all the people within their four walls.



When you retrieve your firearm from a pawn shop, the pawnbroker is required by law to do a background check --- the exact same form and background check you do when you purchase a firearm. This is nothing personal. Pawn shops understand no one likes having to fill out paperwork on something they already own, but in order to be in compliance with federal law, there are a few things pawnbrokers must ask of you.


In some states, such as Alabama, you will not be required to go through the background check process if you have a valid pistol permit that was issued after August 1st 2013 from a Sheriff’s Department in a county in Alabama. However, if you do not have a valid pistol permit, keep reading for important information you should know regarding the background check and how it works.


How to make the entire background check process easier:

Have the required forms of ID ready. First you will need to have a state issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or a state issued non-driver’s identification. The state issued photo ID is required to do both the pawn itself as well as the background check.


Make sure your current address is on the state issued photo ID. If your current address is not on your photo ID it’s not that big of a deal. However you will still need to have some form of paperwork from a state issued agency with your current address on it for pawn shops to process your background check. If your current address is not on your photo ID, you may also use a valid pistol permit, fishing license, or your vehicle registration since they are all issued by state agencies. A power bill will not work because Alabama Power is a private company, not a state agency. In some instances a water bill may work, but most water works boards are privately owned so this is something you would need to look into beforehand.


If for some reason you cannot fill out the form yourself or if you need assistance, you will need to bring three people to help fill the form out for you. Bring two others with you to sign as a witness. Bring the third person to help you fill out the form. Pawnbrokers are not allowed to assist you in any way with filling out the background check form. The other people you bring to assist with the paperwork cannot take delivery of your firearm. We can only release the firearm to you. After the paperwork is completed, we take it from there.


What happens after your background check is submitted:

Once the form is filled out, the background check is done through the FBI. The FBI’s response will be one of three things (1) proceed, (2) delayed, or (3) denied.


Proceed means you can walk out with your firearm right then and there, the same day.


Delayed means we have to wait to hear from them again before releasing the firearm to you. Delayed is actually the most common thing that happens. Some of the reasons for the delay can be:

  • If you have a very common name
  • If you’ve ever had secret or top secret security clearance on the military
  • If your social security number or name is close to that of a convicted felon
  • If you have unpaid speeding or parking tickets, etc.

After a certain amount of time, your firearm can be released to you. However, due to federal law, pawn shops have to wait for that time to pass. Rest assured that pawn shops should let you know before you leave their store.


Denied means we cannot release the firearm to you. The reason for this could be that you’ve had a felony conviction of any kind at any time. Any convictions of any kind such as for domestic violence, dishonorable discharge from the military, being adjudicated as a mental defective by a court of law, renouncing your US citizenship, etc. may result in a denied response.


In the event that you get a denied, the pawnbroker can refund the money you paid to get your firearm out of pawn or you can complete an appeal form and contest the denied with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).


Hopefully this breakdown helps you gain a thorough understanding of what pawn shops may require of you when you pawn your firearm. We also hope you understand and remember that if you are asked to abide by any of these regulations, it is not personal, but rather a state or federal requirement.


Have more questions about the pawning process or ready to pawn an item? Quik Pawn Shop is a family owned business with a customer first mentality. They have been operating in 15 Alabama locations for nearly 40 years! Speak to our friendly team at 855-402-PAWN (7296) to get started or click here to find a Quik Pawn Shop near you!


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Related articles: How does a pawn loan work? | How does pawnbroking work?

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