Are Pawn Shops a Good Place to Buy Handguns?

Pawn shops get a bad rap, especially when it comes to guns. People assume pawn shops only carry junk and stolen goods, but that’s not the case. Although it’s illegal in Michigan to pawn a handgun, there are many people who decide to sell their used handguns outright to pawn shops..

Pawn shops are a good place to find your next collector’s item or conceal piece. Just keep the following things in mind:


Pawn shops are safe.

Not all pawn shops buy and sell firearms; only the businesses who acquired an FFL (Federal Firearms License) through the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms are legally allowed to buy used firearms or offer them for sale.

All firearms dealers, including ones located within a pawn shop, must comply with local and federal laws regarding firearm purchases and sales.

When a pawn shop buys a firearm, the transaction is recorded, and the information is run through databases to make sure the item isn’t stolen. Additionally, pawn shops can’t accept guns that are missing serial numbers.

When that gun is sold the purchaser will have to comply with background checks and licensing requirements just as he/she would at any other gun store.

Know whom you’re buying from.

It pays to do your research. You want to do business with a reputable company who’s been around for awhile. See if they’re known for fair evaluations and pricing.

It’s also a good idea to look at shops who specialize in firearms; they’re more likely to work with you if you have a certain model in mind that hasn’t come in yet. Reputable companies are more likely to carry better quality products. They’ll be more discerning about what items they’ll have bought from people, and likely have inspected the gun before taking it in. Reputable companies are also more likely to offer it to you at a fair price.

Thoroughly inspect the item before committing.

Examining the gun is the most important step of buying a gun from a pawn shop because you have no idea how many rounds have been put through it, whether the previous owner ever cleaned it, or if it was ever dropped.

Some external wear and tear is to be expected since you’re not looking at a new gun. Things like holster wear are normal and don’t interfere with how the gun performs. But rust and cracks are signs of trouble.

Take a look at the screws and fittings. None of it should be loose, scratched, or worse, wallowed out.

Inspect the inside of the barrel. Make sure there are no pits in the rifling.

Whether you’re after a specific older model gun or just a good bargain, buying a handgun from a pawn shop is a pretty good idea. The process is just as safe as a new gun store. Do your research and remember to inspect the firearm before taking it home.

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