Pawning guns

Colt Robison, sales clerk at BS&G Pawn, said pawning a gun is a relatively simple process.

Gun laws vary from state to state, but with a strong gun culture in the area, Oklahoma’s gun laws are among the most lenient in the country. But those who have run afoul of the law should think twice before pawning their firearms and then trying to get them back again.

When it comes to pawning firearms, Colt Robison, sales clerk at BS&G Pawn, said it’s a relatively simple process that only requires a valid state-issued identification card. An individual must be 21 to pawn a pistol and 18 to pawn a rifle.

But for convicted felons and other prohibited individuals, picking the weapon back up may not be as easy. Although a pawn shop only needs valid ID to accept a weapon, the owner must past a background check to get it back.

“When they come to pick it up, they’ll fill out a form and we either call the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives], the FBI or we do it on the computer and they get either a proceed, delay or deny,” Robison said. “If they are denied, then they cannot have the gun. If they are a felon and they pawned a gun and lied on this form, the ATF will show up at their house.”

When returning to pick up a firearm, the transferee – the person who pawned it – will fill out an ATF 4473 form that asks questions regarding his or her status as a felon; if he is an unlawful drug user; if he has have ever been found guilty of domestic violence; or if he has been adjudicated mentally defective. There are other questions about eligibility to be a gun owner on the form as well.

Robison said the only box supposed to be marked “yes” on the form asks: “Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form?”

“If they check anything different, then we aren’t even allowed to call it in,” Robison said. “So if they check ‘no’ but they are a felon, that means they lied on a federal form. So when we do call it in, that’s another felony on them.”

A local man call the Press recently to explain how he ran into issues when trying to pawn a firearm, and that he was uninformed about the process. The man, who did not want his name used because he’s a convicted felon, pawned weapons for a couple living with him. However, he said the shop clerks didn’t tell him he would have to fill out paperwork as if he himself were purchasing the weapons when he came to retrieve them.

The customer said he felt like the store owner practically stole from him.

“He ended up getting about $1,500 worth of guns for $200,” the man said.

The customer said that because he’s a felon, he initially lied on the paperwork, but then thought he might get in trouble, so he went back and told the clerk the story.

“His eyes lit up when I said that, and he told me I couldn’t have the guns back and practically kicked me out of his shop,” said the customer.

Oklahoma’s Constitution, Article 2 Section 26, reads, “The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.”

Despite relatively loose gun regulations, some Oklahoma lawmakers believe citizens should not have to ask the government for permission to openly carry their weapons and then pay a fee to do so.

Recently, Rep. Jeff Coody, R-Grandfield, authored a bill, which later died in conference, that would have allowed gun owners to carry their weapons openly without state-issued licenses. Those wanting to carry concealed weapons would have still been required to obtain state permits, however.

More than 20 states already have laws allowing open carry without a permit for all nonprohibited citizens.

Prohibited citizens include convicted felons, individuals who have been adjudicated as delinquents, or individuals who are considered legally incompetent.

Supporters of the bill claim it is a constitutional right to own and carry a gun, and other states have adopted similar laws without any major incidents because of it.

Opponents of the bill point to the loss of revenue such a bill would cause and the overall state budget crisis in which Oklahoma is currently embroiled. Fiscal analysis of the bill indicated it would mean $6 million in losses for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which could lead to loss of jobs and reduced operating expenses for the OSBI.

State Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, said people seem to be worried about gun rights, but not much else.

“There’s no thought process up there [at the capitol],” Brown said. “It’s ‘I’m pushing it through for my rights.’ People don’t want to oppose it because it’s politically charged. The part I had a problem with it is that open carry didn’t require any training, but a concealed carry did. The state will lose millions from background checks and there will be people who slip through the cracks that those checks would have caught.”

Brown said he has no issue with people carrying concealed weapons, but he does object to people slapping on a sidearm without knowing how to use it properly.

“We require people to have a license to operate a car; it’s also a deadly weapon,” Brown said. “It’s a Second Amendment right, but it comes with the obligation of knowing what to do with it.”

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