1) 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.
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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.
2) 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:
PriceMyGun.com | A simple, no-nonsense approach organized by weapon type (pistol, rifle, etc.).
FirearmsPriceGuide.com | Organized by the manufacturer, Firearms Price Guide has deep details on specific weapons.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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 PawnGuru.com, or write to us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.