Pawning Guns: Everything to Know

March 01, 2020 - Guns & Other Firearms

Are pawn loans different for guns?

In a word: no. But if you’ve never pawned before, you’ll want to know some key terms. When someone pawns an item, they’re receiving a cash loan on the basis of its value. Your firearm is that basis– called the collateral – and they’ll keep it in case you cannot pay back the loan. If you don’t want the gun back, you can choose to sell it instead.

Indeed, the first question a pawnbroker will ask is whether you want to pawn or sell your gun. Whichever you choose, understanding the market value of your gun is the best way to know how much you can realistically expect to get. In general, you’ll want to know as much as you can about your firearm.

If you own a gun, you can pawn it easily and not have to struggle to find a buyer. However, you do need to know a couple of things about pawning a gun first.

Pawning a Gun: Pawning versus Selling

There is a difference between pawning and selling, even though you can do both at a pawn shop. When you are pawning a gun, you are giving it to a pawn shop as collateral for a loan. The loan amount is the value your gun is appraised at by the pawnbroker.

The loan will need to be paid back by a given date that you and the pawnbroker agree on. When you pay back your loan and by the given date, you should expect to receive your gun back.

Selling a gun at a pawn shop is very straightforward. The gun is appraised and you either agree to sell it to them outright for that amount, or you don’t. You have negotiating power, but do keep in mind pawnbrokers tend to keep a good pulse on the current pricing of electronic devices.

Pawn shops are a reselling business so they need to be able to sell your gun for a profit. It is easier for them to buy it from you than it is for them to issue you a loan. You will get more money if you sell it to them than if you pawn your gun.

Understand the Legal Aspect

Guns are not toys or any other possession, which you can acquire or give away without any accountability. You need to ensure that you are dealing with a pawn shop, which is allowed by the law to sell firearms.

The pawn shop needs to follow the gun regulations set by the federal government. In addition to that, the shop needs to abide by the state regulatory laws regarding background checks before selling a gun, and also the return of a gun to the owner once a pawn loan is done.

What you must know is that if you are dealing with a reputable pawn shop, they have to share information with the local legal authorities. In addition to that, they will also not allow any minors to pawn a gun.

Pawning and Selling Paintball and Airsoft Guns

You can also pawn and sell imitation guns like Paintball and Airsoft guns to pawn shops. Just understand though, within the past decade, the paintball sports equipment sales decreased from $300 million to $157 million. It’s a good idea to sell your used paintball guns to get some profits before they run out of value. They do not retain their value in the same way non-imitation guns do. In a significant number of states, you have to be 18 or over to buy and sell imitation guns, but you do not need a license anywhere in the United States to buy, sell, or own imitation guns.

The pawning and selling process for paintball and airsoft guns is much more similar to the process for any non-gun item. You pawn or sell the imitation gun to a pawn shop and walk away with cash, with or without a pawn loan.

Can I Pawn A Gun That Is Not Registered In My Name?

The Legal Considerations of Pawning a Gun not Registered in Your Name

You must know that when you bring a firearm into a pawn shop, the transaction process is more involved than if you were pawning a laptop or jewelry.

However, just like other items, if someone brings a gun into a pawn shop and it has been reported stolen, the pawn shop is required to report your attempt to make that transaction. This information goes to the police.

What is the first red flag that the gun has perhaps been stolen? You guessed it. A major red flag is that the gun is registered in a name different that what appears on your ID—which, by the way, the pawnbroker will ask for upfront.

Can I Pawn a Used Gun that’s Been Gifted to Me?

If you have been given a used gun from a friend or family member, there is a good chance this gun is still registered in the original owner’s name.

Before accepting a gun as a gift, you want to ask to see the original paperwork. This will show you if that person indeed owned that gun, or if you are inheriting a gun that might have been stolen. The latter is obviously a large concern.

You do not want to be in possession of a stolen gun. If you find that either of the aforementioned scenarios are true, return the gun back to the person who gifted it to you, and let them know your concern.

How can I find out the value of my gun?

While your gun might fetch a higher price if you kept it on the market, pawn shops will give you money quickly. In essence, you’re trading time and convenience to get cash now – taking a discount on the sale price. To get a sense of the fair market value, we recommend: | A simple, no-nonsense approach organized by weapon type (pistol, rifle, etc.). | Organized by the manufacturer, Firearms Price Guide has deep details on specific weapons.

Once you find the market price of your gun, remember this as a price point. Pawn Shops are reselling agents and have to make a profit to stay in business. If your gun does not have any additional features or historic significance, you can usually get about 60% of the market price for selling it, and about 50% if you pawn it. If you do have additional features or historic significance, you can expect more.

How should I prepare my gun?

For starters, you’ll want to bring your gun secure in its locked case – and entirely unloaded. Like any responsible owner, you and the pawnbroker will want to exercise best firearms handling standards. This means treating the gun as if it’s loaded. You’ll also need to bring your gun license. They will ask to make a copy to keep on file so they can run a background check if necessary.

Pawn shops, like a bank, are operating a business, and they will charge fees for loaning services. Also, each shop may have a particular interest in which inventory they accept. Not every pawn shop allows guns, know beforehand if a store accepts your item.

What kind of guns do pawn shops buy?

Any quality handgun or rifle that’s been heavily used, but mechanics still function properly can be pawned or sold at most pawn shops. A gun that’s “like new” will be even more valuable; and even better if you have an antique rifle, like from the Civil War. Regardless, expect that they’ll want to vet and check your antique gun to make sure it’s authentic – while you might know the history, a pawnbroker will still go through the standard process of precautions.

What if My Gun is an Antique?

Gun Basics

There are endless brands and types of guns on the market. You should, however, be somewhat familiar with what you’re pawning.

The two basic types are muzzleloader and cartridge-firing. From there, you have handguns and long guns. Handguns can be broken down into revolvers and pistols and long guns consist of rifles and shotguns.

Different firearms shoot various types of bullets. These bullets are measured in calibers, millimeters, and gauges for shotguns.

It is also helpful to know the manufacturer of the gun, which can tell you a lot about its history.

Although this may seem silly to know, it is actually quite helpful when searching out a pawnshop to make a trade or buy your gun. Having the knowledge may net you more money.

Rating Systems

There are two main ways a pawnshop will determine antique gun values. The first is the NRA (National Rifle Association) Condition Standards and the second is the Percentage System.

It is helpful to have an idea of how your gun ranks on both systems to have an idea of what price to ask.

History, Rarity, & Appeal

Knowing that a gun you’re pawning has a great history is great, but it has to be proven. If you have documentation, be sure to include it when you’re to pawn your firearm.

Another key to getting the price you want is knowing how rare this weapon is. An antique firearm that is widely circulated on the market isn’t going to bring the same value as something far rarer.

Finally, the aesthetic appeal of any firearm is important. This isn’t applicable just to antiques. Any gun collector will want something that catches the eye in their collection.

How Do I Reclaim A Pawned Gun?

Assuming you are the person who pawned the gun in the first place, reclaiming a pawned gun can be pretty easy. You can go in and reclaim your firearm whether you’re a resident of the same state as the pawnbroker or not.

If you are not the person who pawned the gun but are the current holder of the pawn ticket there are a few stipulations to reclaiming a pawned firearm. These conditions include being of age and legally able to buy a gun.

Make Sure You Understand all Terms and Conditions When Pawning a Gun

Since you are probably pawning the gun because you need quick cash, it is best to understand the terms of the pawn loan. Pawning a gun might sound easy; nevertheless, if you do not pay attention to the fine print, you will end up incurring additional costs and other inconveniences, which could have been avoided.

Feel free to browse around for more interesting information about pawning. Whether you are looking to sell or pawn something or trying to find a pawn shop near you, PawnGuru has you covered.

What should I do next?

If you do choose to use your gun to get a pawn loan, make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the offer. These details will also vary by shop, but chances are you’ll have to make a payment in 30-60 days. We will follow up with more advice on how to pawn or sell a gun in our next column. We’ll include specific tips from some of the best pawn shops. In the meantime, you can get offers on your firearm on, or write to us with questions at

Good luck!

Related Reading:

David Stiebel
David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

More Articles


Avatar for Drew


June 18, 2015, 3:15 PM

Great info for anyone wanting to pawn their gun. If it works for you then it is a good option for sure. Thanks for sharing.

Avatar for PawnGuru (@PawnGuru)

PawnGuru (@PawnGuru)

June 18, 2015, 3:26 PM

Thank you Drew! We’re glad you liked it. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or suggestions for future blog discussions on guns or pawning!

– PawnGuru Team

Avatar for S. Smith

S. Smith

October 30, 2015, 2:00 AM

Can someone other then the owner get a gun outa pawn if the person who pawned it can’t?

Avatar for David, PawnGuru Co-Founder

David, PawnGuru Co-Founder

October 30, 2015, 4:24 PM

Great question! It depends on specific state regulations. Every state is different with regard to gun laws and pawn redemption laws. For example, some places allow you to sell your pawn ticket to another person, which would allow them to redeem the item. However, if that’s not allowed, then you yourself are the only one who can redeem that item.

Avatar for Lisa Boshears

Lisa Boshears

September 20, 2016, 11:12 AM

Is the pawn shop suppose to inform you about doing a background check in order to get the gun back if you decide to pawn it in the state of texas

Avatar for Aubrey


May 3, 2016, 2:42 AM

I recently pawned off my brand new .357 magnum in utah. This gun was brand new and never fired so it was spotless. I went to pick up my gun today and when I got home I looked at it and it has clearly been fired numerous times. You can tell someone tried to clean it but there is still carbon all over it. Isn’t this illegal? I feel very uneasy about my gun now.. not knowing what they did with it.

Avatar for Luis


July 4, 2017, 5:26 AM

Hello. I live in Texas. My rifle was pawned. Can I the owner get it back if I have the pawn ticket?

Avatar for John Derringer

John Derringer

April 14, 2019, 3:57 AM

What if an old man I live with gifted me a few rifles and a pistol (pistol didn’t work) and I sold it at a pawn shop, then 8 months after that the old man forgot he gave them to me because he is 81 years old and may have had a lapse, and can’t see well, and may not be all in his right mind 8 months after he gifted it!!!! Is it his word against mine? Or am I F…..ked and go to the pokey? Scary.

Avatar for Roger


October 14, 2015, 4:11 AM

It’s funny I didn’t see any info stating the facts that customers need to know especially first time pawn customers When it comes to pawning their guns in Oklahoma pawn shops are using the laws to steal good people’s guns I pawned my new Hk 45 fde tactical being told I could pay the Loan plus interest within 60 days simple as that. So I pawned it he give me 125 dollars I came back 4 days later give the slip to pawn shop owner same guy who assured me that it was that simple He goes to the back for several minutes he comes back out gives me a form to fill out. I started filling it out then I asked what it was I was filling out he said remember I was telling you that you had to pass a background check to get your gun back if u pawned. Which was a complete lie. I realized rite then I got took for a ride I was furious I had saved for 6 months to buy that gun It’s simply stealing
Seems that all the back ground check process would been done before they loan on the gun I give $1350.00 for the gun and the pawn shop give me $125.00 loan on it. Their was no chance i wasn’t gonna be rite back to pay the loan and get it back. Why don’t we discuss or inform the customers of this secret pawn shops don’t want the customer to know ?

Avatar for R W Smith

R W Smith

January 29, 2016, 9:44 PM

Any time a customer leaves a gun (short or long), they do have to fill out a form for background check and that is in Oklahoma. No matter how long it’s in the pawn shop you do have to fill out a background paper.

Avatar for chip


December 18, 2016, 5:44 PM

Same except I was told didnt need to complete any paperwork and didnt need to show ownership to pawn muzzloader and shotgun. I owned muzzloader and the person with me owned the shotgun. So I pawned for loan and went back 14 days to pay loan and get them back. salesperson go in the back instead of guns, he brings out background form. Never told me that upfront and wouldnt let owner of shotgun pay the ticket or complete form cause the ticket was completed by me. Nice trick

Avatar for chip


December 18, 2016, 8:02 AM

Roger, so im in the same situation. What happened legally with atf. The pawn shop completed atf background check took ownership of the gun and they reported you as seller

Avatar for Jacob Peter Thompson

Jacob Peter Thompson

March 10, 2017, 11:05 AM

How can a pawn shop I have been going to for years as a good customer..with my name and years and years of business allow me to pawn my rifles one 30.06 one .308one .44 Remington mag and one .32 caliber. With no problems .did not have to show Id ,was not told about any regulations that I’d need an Id tho to get them out. Was nor told u have to pass background check…plain and simple I feel like Northstar gun and pawn has ripped off family heirlumes from me. I had never pawned a gun before this moment. I do not have my valid Id due to losing it or wallet got stolen I now gave to wait to get my Id through the mail once I can even afford one…in this case was told had to be me to get them out then was told no u can have family member but my older brother has no bad background and he brought his I’d bit they still REFUSED TO DO ANYTHING TO HELP ME OR US. Saying he did not pass and so I asked well wen I get my I’d I can come in right? WRONG…they said if they didn’t have me leave and stop asking legitimate questions about my own familis guns. Even after I had to pawn other items I use for work as a mechanic just to keep them. That they would call the police on me. I mean I was the one that pawned them I am in there database and have never encountered thus problem until it came to expensive items …I wonder how many others like MD have now lost there prize possession’s due to the neglegents of the old farts working neglecting to tell u any crucial info to get t h em back Before pawning. NOPE THEY WAIT TILL THE DAY I HAVE THE MONEY AND TELL EVERY PERSON T H AT TRIED THAT NOPE IT’S GOTTA BE ME …NOW I CAN’T EVEN GO THERE CUZ OF ASKING QUESTIONS ABOU TH MY OWN PERSONAL PROPERTY BUT BECAUSE I GUESS A PIECE OF PAPER THAT HAD MY FAMILIES INFO ON IT WAS TAKEN. .PROBABLY RIPPED UP BY US THEY WILL NOT LET ME BACK THERE AND T H EY JUST KEEP SAYING OVER AND IVER”WE WANT THAT PAPER ,THAT IS THE PROPERTY OF OURS. ” I MEAN COME ON A PIECE OF PAPER THAT SHOULD BE SHREDDED BY THE PERSON FILLING IT OUT ALSO. DON’T GET ME STARTED ON HOW MANY SHEETS THEY HAVE!!!! FOR THAT PETICULAR FORM.I HOPE SOMEONE WILL EMAIL ME WITH HELP ON WAT TO DO ? BTW Roger I have 4 guns in the state of Minnesota wayyyy north that u a they are trying to steal my guns. My families heirlooms that they said one day we can pay on em so they don’t build interest but then once I got my id back I could puk them up I thought great. We then are told 5 min not even that he never said anything like that. I was raised not to steal or slander but the pawn shop is Northstar gun and pawn. They also own T AND B PAWN Hibbing mn .they keep making me jump hoops for my property wen I pawned and picked up stuff couple dozen times a year and all information about myself is on there database but they refuse to leg me own what is rightfully mine. I mean this has to be upwards of 6 to 9 grand wrth if guns .. assholes

Avatar for Tommy


October 27, 2015, 1:11 AM

Does all pawn shops require a gun license,and if you dont have one could you still pawn one anyway? I have some from my grandfather that passed away and left them to me..

Avatar for David, PawnGuru Co-Founder

David, PawnGuru Co-Founder

October 27, 2015, 3:35 AM

Every state is different, but pawn shops know the rules, so they can tell you. Try submitting the guns on PawnGuru, with your question, and hopefully local shops will respond. (Keep in mind that even if the pawn shop is licensed to pawn the gun for you, you still have to pass a background check if you want to redeem the gun and get it back)

Avatar for rocky


February 27, 2017, 9:04 PM


Avatar for Kyle Henry (@kylehenrync)

Kyle Henry (@kylehenrync)

November 9, 2015, 11:49 PM

Hey I know every state has different regulations, but I would say that the person who pawned the gun has to be the person who picks it up in about 99% of cases. Also plan on being required to fill out a form ATF-4473 and pass a FBI background check when you redeem your firearm. If that’s a problem for you, then don’t pawn your gun. I realize that I’m not in an area serviced by “PawnGuru”, but this “article” has no real information on pawning firearms. Also if you want to know the real market value of a firearm, use an online auction site like Much more helpful than either of the price guide links in this article. Licensed dealers do not need your “gun license”. This has no bearing on firearm pawn in most circumstances. They will need your state photo ID though. Make sure it is current (not expired) and has the correct information (address).

Avatar for Jordan


January 19, 2016, 5:38 PM

We approved your comment so people would see this advice. Thank you for helping us understand the regulations; we’re going to update our blog and credit you for it. You rock, Kyle!

Avatar for Indi


January 20, 2016, 12:08 PM

Everybody must pass a background check to redeem your gun from pawn. Some don’t even tell you they charge $20 to fill out a background check. In Indiana, if you’ve been arrested and charged with a felony, or even some misdemeanors, you may not be able to retrieve your gun. However I am seeing that you can transfer the pawn ticket to someone outside your household, but they cannot transfer the gun back to you unless your charges are dropped. Be sure to do your homework before pawning your gun, ask the Pawn Broker but they are not required to tell the truth and they don’t make money being nice, but that’s what BBB and Rip Off report is for right.

Avatar for JD


January 17, 2017, 10:12 PM

Just a quick note to you Indi- with all do respect I operate a gun shop and pawn store and I run a tight ship and am very upfront with my customers. I don’t make my money by being dishonest and hiding things from them. I do know that most pawn shops are like that, but so are many other professions. We are not your average -I know, but it can be done.

Avatar for Jake Gibson

Jake Gibson

January 26, 2016, 12:42 AM

David, I like your point about knowing what the market value of your gun is. I would imagine that this would help benefit you if you’re planning on buying or selling. My father-in-law loves to collect old used guns. His birthday is coming up, I’d love to get him something unique.

Avatar for Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor

June 7, 2016, 11:52 PM

How about a Vulcan, Pump-action .44 magnum riffle?

Avatar for Amy Siegfried

Amy Siegfried

February 4, 2016, 10:11 PM

I pawned my pistol and a shotgun in Az. Went to get them today, as the ticket was due, and had to “repawn” the guns, because there’s a 3 day wait. Now I’m going to owe an extra $100 to get them out. Pawn shop says nothing they can do, of course. Is this legit??

Avatar for Bill BROCKIE


June 6, 2016, 5:59 PM

I believe in Indiana you can only pawn long guns… Pistols must be sold , not pawned… You can of course sell long guns as well…Any other input on this??

Avatar for Chad


June 17, 2016, 8:26 PM

I’m in Louisiana. I pawned my wifes PT111 ( Pistol ) because we needed money for bills. She was aware to what I was doing. The gun is in her name and the pawn shop didn’t run the guns serial numbers to see if I was the rightfully owned. They say, I am the only one that can get the gun back. Now if the gun is in her name, why can’t she get her gun out of the pawn shop? I would say just report it stolen and they would have to give it to her with no charge but that would leave me with a chance of going to jail. How can they accept a gun from me thats not in my name? And can she legally get back whats rightfully hers?

Avatar for Lobo Israel

Lobo Israel

September 2, 2016, 6:43 PM

How much would a pawn shop buy a AK 47?

Avatar for Gary


September 9, 2016, 9:45 PM

I just pawned my HK .40 Cal. I pawned it for $150, because I just needed quick cash, I’m a single father and school clothes/supplies wiped me out and just needed to get to next week. I am in Florida by the way, and he did tell me after I arrived I would have to pass a background check to get my gun back, which ok fine, I have a Concealed Weapons Permit, so I should be able to get my gun back, but if they try some bullsh*t to cheat me out of my gun, we are going to have problems.

Avatar for Heather


November 15, 2016, 12:36 AM

I have a question if someone asks u to pawn a gun for them so they can get cash but they tell you that you can get the gun cause they can’t afford to get it out, can u legally keep it? I ask cause I’m in this situation however the gun owner (whom does have a bill of sale for said gun, & I do not just his verbal permission to get it out & keep it since I did pay to get it out and now invested in it) now is trying to go back on his word & threatening charges for theft?!?! If the pawn ticket is in my name & I paid to get it out can he legally press charges on me?

Avatar for Derek Mcdoogle

Derek Mcdoogle

November 17, 2016, 2:47 AM

My wife was going through some of the boxes in our basement and found some old antiques that included a gun. You stated that whichever you choose, understanding the market value of your gun is the best way to know how much you can realistically expect to get. Do most pawn shops follow certain regulations or rules when it comes to pricing out certain types of products? Finding a reputable pawn shop might be our best option.

Avatar for Karyann Losano

Karyann Losano

January 16, 2017, 3:32 PM

How old do you have to be to sell a gun to a pawn shop

Avatar for Sandra Young

Sandra Young

February 8, 2017, 7:42 PM

I pawn my gun a Smith & Wesson 40 went in to go get it and they told me I had to pass a polygraph test which the gentleman at the counter never told me that I would have to pass one I am a single parent trying to raise three children and I just needed some quick cash to get through the next week

Avatar for Stephen


February 11, 2017, 3:06 PM

I pawned a rifle and wa snot able to get it back. Now that I have the money to buy it back they informed that unfortunately it sold last month. Are they able to give me the buyers information so I can contact him and attempt to buy it off of him?

Avatar for darren


August 30, 2017, 4:34 PM

So if someone gf loan a gun of one of their parents didn’t tell you and let it go aren’t they liable for stealing said gun

Avatar for Lilia Robberts

Lilia Robberts

June 19, 2018, 4:05 PM

Recently, I have inherited a few guns. I haven’t known what to do with them. I am thinking of pawning them or selling them. Either way, your information was useful. I will make sure I know all about my guns and the history of them. I will also do what you have recommended and look up the fair market value. I don’t know who I will sell to yet, but I will make sure that it is done legally and to a good place.

Avatar for Caleb Streu

Caleb Streu

October 7, 2018, 11:22 AM

With thanks! Valuable information!

Avatar for Ken h

Ken h

July 2, 2019, 7:15 PM

I bought a 270 rifle from a friend cause he needed money. I told him he could buy it back from me because I didn’t need the gun and need money back. He could pay me back when I needed the money. I loaned him $250 originally. So I took gun to pawn shop and pawned the gun for $300. While at pawn shop police came in pick gun up because it was stolen. I get a notice in mail for hearing at Montgomery co Texas court because gun was found to be stolen. The friend had sold me a stolen gun. When I go to hearing am I going to be in trouble. This is in Texas. Now my friend doesn’t want to be part of any of this.

Avatar for Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith

August 26, 2019, 9:09 PM

Thank you for explaining that if a gun still works, you can sell it to a pawn shop even if it has been heavily used. My uncle just passed away, leaving my siblings and I with his extensive gun collection. Due to being raised in the city and not enjoying hunting, we’ve decided to look for a pawn store to sell them at.

Avatar for Skylar Williams

Skylar Williams

October 16, 2019, 5:08 PM

Thank you for explaining that people cannot pawn a gun that is not registered in their name. I want to sell some firearms that my father collected and I heard I could do that at an auction. I’ll be sure to check that the guns are registered in my name before I try to sell them.

Avatar for shooting rest bags

shooting rest bags

November 4, 2019, 11:28 AM

Well, i ‘m not much aware about the term pawn but it is clear after reading your blog that before opting the pawing guns you need legal documents to opt this and before enrolling for the paying gun you need to clear the concept of pawn and how it work’s and after that it is better to go for it.

Comments are now disabled