Many felons can recall having a gun before their felony conviction. They may have owned a gun or wanted to sell or buy one at a pawn shop.
This blog post will address the question of whether or not pawn shops run background checks for guns.
- What Is Included in a Background Check?
- Pawn Shop
- Pawn Shop Background Check?
- Firearm Restrictions
- Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?
- Recommended Action
What Is Included in a Background Check?
Places like a pawn shop could review a customer’s background because they may not want to allow access to someone who is dishonest and has a criminal record. This may be a challenge for felons. Their criminal history can be a problem even if they are now committed to living an honest lifestyle.
A background check completed by an employer or a pawn shop may view at least some of the following:
- Credit reports
- Driving records
- Educational records
- Criminal offenses
When going to a pawn shop, criminal offenses will be the focus of any background check that is run. This allows a gun range to identify risks for security and safety issues.
The criminal record review conducted of a background check includes examining criminal history files for any criminal offenses, which will reveal all convictions and non-convictions, including cases not prosecuted or ones dismissed. Convictions can be reported with no time limit while a non-conviction will show up for seven years. A crime will not show up on a background check if a felon has his or her record expunged.
Pawn shops offer loans, secured by something of value as collateral. When an item is taken in, the pawnbroker will offer a loan. If the loan is accepted, the pawn broker then keeps the item until the loan is repaid. The length of the loan is usually one to four months. If an item is not reclaimed during that period, and the loan is repaid, the pawnbroker keeps the item to resell.
Pawn shops are governed by federal laws that apply to financial institutions. The federal laws that regulate the pawn industry are:
- Patriot Act
- Truth in Lending Act
- Equal Credit Opportunity Act
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Rules
Pawn shops that deal in firearms are regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Pawn shops may also be Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders.
When it comes to pawning firearms, it only requires a valid state-issued identification card. A person must be 21 to pawn a pistol and 18 to pawn a rifle. For convicted felons and other prohibited individuals, picking the weapon backup may not be as easy. Although a pawn shop only needs a valid ID to accept a weapon, the gun owner must pass a background check to get it back.
Pawn Shops Run Background Checks for Guns?
When someone pawns an item, a pawn shop may be legally required to at least see an ID. State laws in many states require pawn shops to take someone’s ID to begin. Sometimes pawn shops may be required to take a photo along with a fingerprint. This is used by the police department to determine the identity of anyone involved with another crime. Pawn shops report to police departments daily regarding potentially stolen goods.
Pawn shops that buy guns typically are federally licensed gun dealers. In order to claim back or purchase a gun, a customer must have a valid state ID and a permit to buy or carry a gun. All buyers and sellers must complete a firearms transaction record, which includes questions regarding:
- Criminal history
- Drug use
- Military service citizenship
- Domestic violence convictions
- Mental deficiencies
Lying on this form can lead to a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine.
Pawn shops complete the form and maintain a record of any gun transaction by recording:
- Type of firearm
- Serial number
- Buyer’s ID
A pawn shop will process the application through the National Instant Criminal System (NICS) for a background check. This will check to see if a buyer’s name and birth year match the identity of anyone who is ineligible to buy a firearm.
This check can take 10 to 15 minutes, although the FBI can take three days to complete the review. This background check will result in one of three conclusions:
Proceed means someone can purchase a firearm immediately. Delayed means having to wait to hear the results. Possible reasons for the delay include:
- Having an extremely common name
- Having had a security clearance in the military
- If the Social Security Number is similar to that of a convicted felon
- If there are unpaid speeding or parking tickets
Denied means a pawn shop cannot release the firearm to someone. This can be because of a felony conviction or any conviction for domestic violence.
Buyers must be at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun and at least 18 to buy a semiautomatic rifle. Buyers are not allowed to have a crime of violence on their record. There also can be no prior convictions involving:
- Gang-related crimes
- Other criminal activity within the past three years
Buyers are not allowed to be fugitives from justice, illegal aliens, or dishonorably discharged from the military.
Anyone who receives a firearm from a pawn shop is subject by law to a background check, which will be the same as a background check done when someone purchases a firearm through any gun dealer.
A licensed pawnbroker may conduct a NICS background check when someone attempts to pawn a firearm. If NICS advises the pawnbroker that the possession of a firearm by a person attempting to pawn a firearm would violate the law, the pawnbroker must advise local law enforcement within 48 hours.
A pawnbroker cannot return a firearm to a person who is ineligible to receive or possess firearms because of age, disability, or criminal history. Redeeming a pawned firearm is subject to all record-keeping requirements under the gun control act. An ATF Form 4473 must be completed along with a NICS background check.
Anyone who wants to buy a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL), which is the case for most pawn brokers, is subject to a background check. A potential buyer must complete form 4473 which includes 16 questions relating to background, drug use, and criminal history.
Anyone considered to be high risk or possessing a firearm will not be allowed to purchase a firearm, including:
- Criminal and mental health history
- Dishonorable military discharges
- Unlawful immigration status
- Open warrants
- Documented history of domestic violence
- Drug use
Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?
Doing a background check on him or herself before trying to buy a gun at a pawn shop will allow a felon to know exactly what will be discovered when the pawn shop does its review. A felon with any questions can contact an attorney. It is essential to take action and not risk a chance on the results.
There are different kinds of personal background checks that a felon can run:
- From the court in which he or she was charged
- A credit report will help determine how financially responsible an individual is
- Driving records for any job involving driving, such as a truck driver
- An educational report through the National Student Clearing House
While a felon is denied the ability to use or own a firearm and cannot buy a gun at a pawn shop, there are procedures available to regain this right, known as restoring firearm rights. First, the applicant must not have been convicted of a, “forcible,” felony within the past 20 years. Also, at least 20 years must have elapsed since the end of any incarceration for that felony.
Next, the applicant’s criminal history and reputation must indicate that the applicant will not act in a manner considered dangerous to public safety. Additionally, restoring firearm rights must not be considered contrary to the public interest or federal law.
Another way to have firearm rights restored is by seeking a presidential pardon. In order to obtain a federal pardon, felons must wait five years after the completion of their sentence. Then they may contact the federal government regarding clemency. They should first seek legal counsel.
In order to be successful in re-establishing gun rights to be able to legally buy a gun at a pawn shop, it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. Already prevalent are negative perceptions of being:
- Unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures
Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. You, as a felon, don’t have to be defined by your crime. You can begin again and live an honest life in order to achieve your goals, no matter how difficult they might seem.
What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of having a pawn shop running a background check for guns? What was that like, and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.