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Do Pawn Shops Run Background Checks For Guns?

Do Pawn Shops Run Background Checks For Guns

The right to bear firearms is a constitutional right. Although gun possession and ownership is controversial, many still wish to exercise this right. There are many reasons for this. To start with, a lot of people feel safer when they have guns on them.

For others, they might just enjoy hunting or target practice. Ordinarily, everyone would have the right to get a permit and purchase a gun thereafter. This only changes in certain cases. For instance, if the person commits a felony or some sort of misconduct.

In such cases, some may opt for other ways to get guns. A pawn shop is a perfect spot to get a variety of tools. They also have different types of firearms and ammo. Most times, people go to pawn shops to get the tools that they need. This includes firearms.

How does a pawn shop work? Pawn shops basically give out loans in exchange for valuables as collateral. These are things like jewelry, vintage tools, electronics, etc. Sometimes, the borrowers might be unable to pay in time. In a case like this, the pawn shop will sell the collateral.

Pawning is also how they get their guns. People pawn off their guns for loans. If they’re unable to pay back, the shop sells their gun. As one can expect, they will have varieties. Regular gun dealers get theirs from wholesalers, manufacturers and other dealers.

Pawn shops that trade firearms must have a Federal Firearm license. They can obtain this through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They have obligations to make sure people own firearms legally. This is why they must run background checks before selling firearms.

What Is A Pawn Shop Background Check Like?

Do pawn shops run background checks for guns? Well, after pawn shops obtain their license, they must use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICBS). So, yes, they run background checks.

Another question is, when do pawn shops run background checks? When one pawns a gun? Or buys? By jurisdiction, pawn shops must run a background check if someone wishes to buy a gun. At this time, they bear the responsibility of legally giving gun ownership. They do not need to run a background check when someone sells their gun.

Still, they will ask for some information like:

  • Valid identification like fingerprints or a photograph.
  • A residential address

Pawn shops will only run a background check if the person wishes to buy a gun.

With this, pawn shops can find out anyone with a felony. A background check will reveal convictions and any other arrests. The system also details the cases that are being prosecuted at the moment. So, it’s an accurate and up-to-date check.

do the pawn shops run background checks for guns

Pawn shops might also check for other useful information. For instance:

  • They could check the customer’s education records.
  • Driving records. They can use this to assess behaviour towards law and order.
  • Credit scores. This ensures them that the client is not a bad debtor.

Pawn shops already have a shaky reputation. So, they will focus a lot more on the criminal history.

There are three possible outcomes of a background check:

  • Firstly, the transaction might proceed. If the buyer passes the background check, they can receive the firearm.
  • Sometimes, the process may be delayed. This could happen if a deeper background check is needed. The buyer might have to wait for days to clear this.
  • Thirdly, the pawn shop could deny the purchase. Of course, this will only happen if the buyer cannot legally own a gun. They must also report this activity to the authorities within 48 hours. So, a felon must consider the odds of being arrested by just attempting to illegally obtain a gun.

It’s possible for anyone to run the background check on themselves beforehand. This could prevent ugly surprises.

Felons And Gun Ownership/Possession

Federal state laws prohibit felons from owning or possessing firearms. This is due to the safety concerns of the public. So, a felon shouldn’t be trying to trade firearms, for whatsoever reason. The firearms must be submitted to the authorities. Some think that the easiest way is to simply sell it.

However, the seller has to submit their identification and address. This can be traced anytime, especially if the sold weapon is used to commit a crime. There are cases of felons being arrested years after they’d sold their gun.

do pawn shop run background checks for guns

There are penalties for owning or possessing a firearm as a felon. If the felon is on parole, the parole may be revoked. The state could also charge them with unlawful gun possession. There are also cases where they attach a fine. The offense is more serious than it seems. It’s not even wise to be around someone who possesses a firearm.

This is to avoid constructive possession. Constructive possession is when one is within reach of a gun, even though it belongs to another. Instead of risking it, felons should obey the law. They can search for gun replacements.

Alternatives to Guns

There are many penalties for illegally owning a firearm. It could be jail time or fines. It depends on the state laws and the circumstances surrounding the infarction. Rather than risk it, one can opt for alternatives to guns. There are weapons like compound bows and pellet guns that can be used in place of firearms. or those who love to hunt or practice, these are alternatives.  All they have to do is check with their state laws regarding this.

There are ways to regain the right to bear firearms. Two of these are:

1 Clearing criminal records. A felon can apply to the state to expunge their criminal records. This can be done for non-violent crimes. It also applies if it’s been long since the felon committed the crime. Plus, they must have a clean record following the crime. In certain cases, the state can demote the felony to a misdemeanor. If this happens, the felon might still be able to retain their gun rights. This is only true in certain states. Before applying for gun restoration, felons must consult a lawyer.

2 Obtaining a pardon for the crime. The felon can obtain a presidential pardon from the president. Through the state, they can option a state pardon. The waiting periods for this are usually very long. What’s more, the approval rates are significantly low. Before embarking on this, one should consult lawyers.


Pawn shops have a wide range of products. Because of the way they operate, many people can find what they’re looking for. For those who might need to purchase a firearm, this might be a way to go. One might be wary and ask, ‘do pawn shops run background checks?’

The answer is, yes. Pawn shops must have a Federal Firearm license, if they wish to trade firearms. They must use the NICBS to run a background check on a purchase. If the buyer has a criminal history, the shops will deny the order. They will also have to inform the authorities about the incident. Non-violent felons can also seek to gain their gun rights back.

To do this, they must first seek legal counsel. In the meantime, going to a pawn shop is a bad idea. The consequences could be dreadful.

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