Pawning a gun can be a quick answer to a cash-flow problem or help cover an unexpected expense. Doing a little work ahead of time to prepare your gun and research its value will help you get the best price for it. You can even pawn a gun online.
Prep Your Gun First
Before you begin trying to find out your gun's value or seeking a pawn shop, you should do the following:
- Before you show your gun to anyone, make sure it's looking its best. A clean gun looks well cared for and makes a better impression than a grungy one.
- Know as much as you can about the gun you're selling — make, model and any modifications. If it's an antique, know its history and bring any documentation you have that confirms it.
- Some pawn shops do not accept guns, so call ahead to avoid wasting your time.
- Transport your gun unloaded in a locked case.
- Know the value of your gun. Some pawn shops are reputable and some are not. Be sure you know what it's worth before you accept an offer.
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Determine Your Gun’s Value
Newer high-end guns usually sell for more than older, low-end guns. Antique guns, depending on rarity, condition, their history and demand can sell for a small fortune. A set of George Washington's pistols sold for almost $2 million, while the Smith & Wesson that killed Jesse James sold for $350,000. Both were sold at auctions.
The pawn shop value of most guns is anywhere from $1 to $1,300. The average pawn value of a gun is around $300. A couple of places you can check for gun values before pawning a gun are pricemygun.com and bluebookoffgunvalues.com.
Don't expect to get full market value for your gun from a pawn shop. The biggest advantage of pawning a gun is that you get cash for it right away. But the trade-off is that you won't get as much for it as you would if you took the time to sell it through other channels.
Process of Pawning a Gun
One of the first questions a pawn shop owner asks is whether you want to sell or pawn your gun. If you're going to pawn it, they will hold onto it until you pay the cash loan back (with interest). Gun laws vary a lot from state to state. Depending on where you pawn your gun, you'll be asked for any or all of the following:
- The gun's registration.
- Your gun license.
- Your driver's license.
The pawn shop owner may make a copy of these documents so that, if it's required, a background check can be done. Important: You cannot pawn a gun that doesn't belong to you. If the gun's registration or license does not match your ID, don't even try to pawn or sell it. If it was ever reported stolen, pawn shops are required to report the attempted pawn to police who will soon be knocking at your door.
You'll have a limited amount of time to repay the loan. It's usually 30 to 120 days to pay back the cash and get your gun back. If you don't pay the loan back, your gun becomes the property of the pawn shop owner. They will keep it or sell it.
Pawn Shop Alternatives
Instead of driving around to different pawn shops for the best deal, there are online alternatives. One of them is pawnguru.com. When you list your gun with Pawn Guru, you'll receive offers from local pawn shops. When you see an offer you like, you accept it and bring your gun to that shop.
There are a lot of other websites that will help you sell a gun or buy your gun from you. But none of them will give you instant cash like a pawn shop will. If you can wait a bit for the money, a few to check out are gunbroker.com, gunsamerica.com and budsgunshop.com. They each operate a little differently so be sure to read all of the fine print.
Another alternative, if you're not in a big hurry, is to sell your gun on consignment at a local gun shop. To save time, call first to ask if they take guns on consignment and if they'd be interested in the kind of gun you have. Ask what percentage of the sale price they keep. And no, you can't sell a gun on Craigslist.