Can I get my gun back if I pawn it?  Are the steps the same in getting my gun
back as it is with a non-firearm pawn?  These are just a few of the questions I get
from customers when they’re considering pawning a firearm.  I’ll try to clear up
any questions you may have.

First, let’s describe what a “pawn” is.  In general, a pawn is a transaction
between you and the pawnbroker where you use a physical piece of property as
“collateral” in order to secure a “cash loan” from a pawnbroker.  You offer to the
pawnbroker an item of value that they will hold onto for a specified time period
while you are using their money loaned to you.  Most states today govern the
time period and the amount of finance charge a pawnshop can charge during the
contract.  Most states allow 30 to 60 daytime periods.  Monthly finance charges
across the U.S. range from 4% to 25% monthly.  Keep in mind, the lower interest
states are also allowed additional fees, such as storage, ticket fees, etc. The
higher interest states that allow 20 to 25% are typically all inclusive, where
additional fees cannot be added on.

So, in general, a pawn is an agreement that you will place an item on collateral
with the pawnbroker for a stated period of time and for a stated finance charge in
exchange for your product and their cash.  Now, if you don’t want to pawn your
item, but rather sell it, most pawnbrokers allow this option too.

Pawnbrokers typically take a wide array of products, such as jewelry, electronics
like TV’s, stereos, video game systems, musical equipment like guitars, amps,
speakers, digital devises such as Ipads, tablets, IPods, Bluetooth speakers, etc.
Some even take firearms and defense accessories.  But, not all pawnbrokers
deal in firearms because of ordinances, laws and liability concerns.  So, if you’re
interested in obtaining a pawn loan using a firearm, I’d advise to call or email
beforehand to make sure they accept firearms.

For the most part, pawning a firearm is similar to pawning any other item, but
some federal and state laws must be followed in order to retrieve your pawned
firearm back.  For example, In Illinois, if you pawn a firearm, you must wait 3-
days after you pay back your loan to pick up or “retrieve” your pawned firearm.
This is because the pawnbroker is required by law to perform a federal
background check on you upon redeeming the firearm.  In Illinois, there is a 72
hour “waiting period” to physically take possession of any newly purchased or
pawned firearms.  Other state laws vary, but just keep this in mind when
considering using your firearm as collateral.  In addition, federal law states you
must fill out the same questionnaire, called a 4473 form that you filled out when
you purchased your firearm from your retailer.

Overall, pawning a firearm is an easy task.  Just keep in mind of these few added
steps to retrieve your firearm.  The plus side of using a firearm as collateral for a pawn is most firearms will be a higher value than other items like a TV, speakers,
etc. so your pawn would be higher in value, thus meeting most of your financial

When you bring in your firearm to a pawnshop to negotiate a loan value, make
sure it is unloaded before leaving your house and secure it in a suitable case.
Once inside, the pawnbroker will check to make sure it’s unloaded and will begin
discussing the potential loan with you.  They will ask how much of a loan will help
you, how long do you think you’ll need a loan, etc.  I always tell my customers
only ask for as much as you need.  Never obtain more money than what you
immediately need because you’re going to be paying interest on every dollar
borrowed.  If you don’t know and just want to see what the firearm is worth, then
the pawnbroker will start using resources they know to help identify the firearm
and obtain its value.

So, to answer your question, yes, a firearm can be used as collateral in a
pawnshop in order to obtain a quick cash loan, called a “pawn.”  If you have any
more questions, please feel free to email me at