A pawn shop background check is fairly similar to one conducted by any possible employer and would, at the very least, look into the following four major areas:
- Reports on credit
- Driving histories
- Records of education
- Infractions of the law
Pawn shops have had a less-than-stellar reputation at times, and in an effort to improve their image, complete background checks are now performed to guarantee that pawn shops are not selling items (particularly firearms) to persons who are dishonest or have a major criminal history.
The criminal offenses component of the background check is what people doing it are most interested in, and it will review your criminal history files, including any criminal crimes. Aside from the pawn shop’s reputation, this also assists local institutions such as firing ranges in making adequate risk assessments and considering potential security issues in the nearby region. It is critical to understand that this includes not just current convictions, but also any arrests, non-convictions, and any non-expunged criminal history files.
When is a pawn shop required to do a background check?
It is important to consider when and why a pawn shop would perform a background check; a pawn shop, by definition, offers loans based on collateral – that is, anything of particular value to them – that are usually intended to be repaid over a short time period, such as between a month and half a year.
If the loan is not returned, the pawnbroker owns whatever was supplied as collateral and can sell it as they see fit. When it comes to weapons, most, if not all, pawn shops must follow federal regulations, including the Patriot Act, and are controlled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in the same manner that a specialist seller of arms is.
A pawn shop is not required to conduct a background check when pawning weapons – that is, if a person sells a firearm to the pawn shop – but will normally ask the individual to provide a valid state-issued identity card.
This is not always the case, and individuals may be required to provide fingerprints, a photograph, or another kind of identification in order to properly pawn a handgun, depending on state restrictions or even requirements imposed by the business itself. If there are concerns about stolen products or dangerous persons, this information will be communicated with the proper authorities. However, if a person wishes to get a firearm, the background check will commence.
What exactly happens during a check?
As previously noted, practically all pawn shops are subject to ATF regulation and regulations such as the Patriot Act. This implies they have strong limits and policies in place around the sale and purchase of guns. To acquire or reclaim a handgun, the buyer must have at least three items: a valid state-issued identity card, permission to buy or carry a gun, and the relevant document, generally a guns transaction record. The document will be extremely significant since lying on it may result in up to ten years in jail and huge fines of up to $250,000.
What information must be included on a Firearms Transaction Record Form?
The Firearms Transaction Record Form (also known as the ATF 4473 form) is a 16-question form that asks a potential buyer to reveal a variety of personal information. Your criminal background, any history of drug use (past or present), military service citizenship, domestic violence convictions, open warrants, and mental impairments must all be disclosed on the form.
All of these factors are considered in order to guarantee that persons acquiring weapons are in good mental health and can be trusted to own and use the firearm lawfully and properly. It is critical not to lie or seek to conceal anything that this form needs, as doing so is a severe felony.
What forms must the pawn business complete?
A pawn shop must fill out a form on the firearm being sold, keeping a record of the kind of firearm, model, caliber, serial number, and the buyer’s identity presented at the time of purchase. This information is then reviewed against the National Instant Criminal System (NICS) to do the real criminal background check, which compares the buyer’s entire name and birth year to a list of people who are ineligible to acquire a firearm.
This can take minutes, but it can also be delayed for a variety of totally reasonable reasons, requiring the buyer to wait many days. This check might result in one of three outcomes:
Proceed — the firearm may be acquired right away, and the transaction is completed. This is the expected outcome for the most majority of individuals, and it should make the procedure quite simple and uncomplicated.
Delayed — The firearm may be purchased, but a more thorough background check is required. It is possible that there is no legitimate reason why an individual would be denied a firearm, but common issues include: having an extremely common name, which means the system is unsure if you are trustworthy enough or have any criminal convictions; having security clearance in the military, which is not usually an issue; having a social security number that is similar to that of a convicted felon; and having unpaid speeding or parking tickets.
This is by no means a complete list, but it does provide some instances of why an individual may get delayed communication. In this instance, the individual will merely have to wait the right amount of time (usually up to 3 days).
Denied – this individual is unable to acquire a weapon at this time. This is most usually due to a felony conviction or another conviction involving violence, such as domestic violence. Without a valid explanation, the individual will be denied the right to purchase a handgun.
In the event of a refused result, the pawnbroker must also notify local law enforcement within 48 hours – if you are not permitted to acquire a handgun (e.g., a criminal without special permits), it is critical that you consider that the attempted purchase will be reported to the authorities.
This background check may be done on your own before seeking to buy a handgun from a pawnbroker, but it is best to consult with an attorney beforehand, especially if you have felony convictions on your record.
Restrictions in general
A buyer may be denied for a variety of reasons, in addition to the normal background check requirements for felonies and domestic violence offenses. The most apparent is age — a buyer cannot acquire a rifle until they are 18 years old, and they must be 21 years old to purchase a handgun.
They cannot also have a criminal record that demonstrates a history of violent criminality, particularly convictions for drug and gang-related offenses or any other criminal activity during the last three years.
Buyers must be fugitives, illegal aliens, or military personnel who have been dishonorably dismissed.
Increasing your prospects as a convicted criminal
The simplest and most likely successful strategy to increase your chances of passing a background check is to try to have the criminal offense expunged from your record.
The amount of time since the offense, efforts made by the guilty individual to improve themselves since the time of the crime, and if weapon rights have been restored in general are all elements that might impact the likelihood of success in expunging a criminal record.
A felon’s best plan of action is to seek legal advice and apply for a federal pardon or other special recommendation from a state lawmaker.