Background Checks

There is a lot of talk these days about background checks for firearms purchases. What most of these pundits and politicians don’t seem to realize is that every firearm sale from every licensed dealer, whether a gun store, sporting goods store or even pawn shop like us, already requires an FBI background check. The only exception to this rule is when the person buying a firearm already holds a carry permit from the state where the transaction is occurring. Here in Texas, that used to be called a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) and is now called a License to Carry (LTC), since we passed an open carry law. Discussion of that topic will be reserved for another day.

Basic restrictions are that you must be 18 years old to purchase a long gun, whether a shotgun or a rifle, and you must be 21 years of age to purchase a hand gun. If those requirements are met, the person making the purchase must fill out the ATF form 4473 and must be the person to whom we release the firearm. And, with few exceptions, you must be a resident of the state where you are making the purchase, or redeeming the pawned item.

The FBI background check is requested at point of sale, either over the phone or online, and we get one of three responses from the FBI NICS e-check system: Proceed, delayed, or denied. When the would-be buyer is approved, they will tell us we may proceed, then we may complete the transaction and release the firearm to the customer. Sometimes the transaction is delayed. This means the customer may retrieve the firearm after three business days, unless the FBI calls us and tells us otherwise, which they sometimes do. With the third option, the customer is denied. The FBI never tells us why, only that we may not release a firearm to that individual under any circumstances. This process is the same whether the person is buying one of our guns that is for sale, or if they are redeeming one that they have pawned. The process is the same. Any gun that is on our property is in our gun book no matter if we own it or if it is collateral for a loan we made. Sometimes loan customers get denied when they try to redeem their own gun. It does happen.

If someone is denied from the FBI there is a process of appeal. They can contact the FBI NICS section and request a review of their case. Everyone makes mistakes, even the FBI from time to time, and they will go through the review process to verify that the person is not allowed to buy or otherwise own a firearm. If they were denied by mistake, the FBI contacts us with an update to release the firearm to that customer.

In some states, like Colorado, the state has a system to run these, but the criteria is the same. Even if someone does have a carry permit, they are still required to fill out the form 4473 we get from the ATF. These forms are filed and held by the firearms licensee at the place of business.

What about internet sales? Any time you purchase a firearm from an online dealer, it must be transferred from one dealer to another. Then the receiving dealer does the paperwork and, if required, the background check before the final release to the buyer. We do these transfers all of the time as a service to our customers.

ATF field agents regularly visit every licensed firearms dealer in the country and review their records. At the time of the licensee audit, the ATF agents review every one of the forms 4473 for accuracy and completeness. Regardless of the cause, every “infraction” they find is reviewed and documented. Though we are all human, we are expected to be perfectly precise on the firearms transaction forms that we complete. We do our best to achieve that expectation.

We consider it a privilege to be a licensed firearms dealer and it is a significant part of our business. We take very seriously the requirements of that license and take care on each and every transaction. With that being said, we offer great deals on many firearms of every type. Whether for home security, personal protection or all types of shooting sports, we have something for almost everyone. Stop by and see one of our professional staff members and let’s see if we have something for you! Even if we don’t, we can probably order it.

The Pawn Box

When a Cash Loan From The Pawn Box Really Works

People come into our stores and get cash loans every day. Many of them are what some call the “Under Banked.” That just means they either do not have bank accounts or credit cards, or in certain circumstances they choose not to use them. Many though have both. What many also have is a gap between income and a payment that is due. Or they had an unexpected expense that had to be paid, and not enough ready cash to cover it along with their regular monthly obligations.

We see this all time time. Small business owners that have been shorted by a client on a job and still have to pay their help. Commissioned sales professionals that had a slow month but still need to cover their expenses. The credit card payment is due Wednesday and your check doesn’t come ‘till Friday. Or the bank is about to auto draft your electric bill three days before pay day. We do so many things with auto pay that it can bite you from time to time if the days don’t quite line up.

The Pawn Box provides quick cash loans that can put money in your bank to cover these untimely expenses and actually save you money, and embarrassment. That gold necklace that you don’t wear every day can help you solve this problem. Bring us the item, we will loan you cash that credits to your bank immediately. Even if your bank is closed, you can deposit it into the ATM and it credits instantly. Then you can make the payment, or cover the auto payment without late fees, re-connect fees and the embarrassment of having to make the calls to get your problem resolved.

For instance, if you borrow $300 from us the cost for the whole month is $45.00. However, if you pick it up within ten days, it is only $15.00. That saves you on the over draft charge to your bank, late fee to your credit card or reconnect fee to your utilities, which are usually much more. Those can be $35 to $50 or more…each.

And we do not report to the credit rating services. So if you decide not to come in and pick up your item, no harm, no foul. After about two months, we just pull it out of the back room or vault and sell it to recover our investment. Still, no reporting on your credit. But if you do come and get it, you can use it to get cash again, if you need it.

So if your kid side swipes someone in the school parking lot, if your closing on that million dollar house gets postponed for another week, or if the bank decides to hold the check you deposited from a big client and you have to cover your payroll two days before they will clear it, You can bring us some items of value and we can help you get the cash you need. And your stuff is safe with us. We don’t mess around when it comes to protecting our customers property.

So if you run into a cash crunch, maybe we can help. Call us to see.

Who Started Cyber Monday Anyway?

It seems that the online sellers have created this big hoopla called “Cyber Monday” to drive shoppers away from local retailers. Though the phrase was coined as a reaction to a growing trend of e-commerce traffic on the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend, (see here) it has gotten lots of momentum push from the big online sellers. Companies like Amazon, eBay, Rakuten and Alibaba want you to stop going to local brick and mortar stores by pushing the idea that you will save if you buy from them. But that is not always the case.

I do admit that the convenience factor is big, especially in our modern economy. More and more people like to order things in the comfort of their own home and not venture out into the real world. But that real world is where your neighbors work. That is where the local business owner goes every day to try to provide goods and services to the community, people like you. That is where local jobs are created and how he or she plans to provide for their families.

Also local business owners are very likely to donate to local charities and give back to their communities either buy themselves or through organizations like Rotary and Exchange Clubs and other charitable organizations. Small business owners are usually the ones with the swim team or soccer team photo on their wall of the team that they sponsored. And for them it is a much larger percentage of their revenue to do things like this than it is for a wall mart.

So though it’s unreasonable to think that people will not be shopping online this “Cyber Monday,” did you go out and visit the small businesses in your neighborhood on “Small Business Saturday?” If not, and even if you did, remember to Shop Small. Stop buy your local retailers and give them your business too. We really appreciate it and that one sale means much more to us than it does to Walmart or Amazon.

The Pawn Box

Now that the storm is over...

So they said we were going to have a very sever storm. As a concerned homeowner, you bought that generator in case the hurricane knocked out your power. You stopped by the gas station and filled it up knowing that gas will be precious immediately after the storm, and possibly for days to come, so you wanted to be ready. Hopefully you did not need it this time, but you sure felt better knowing it was there if you did.

So now that the storm is passed it may be months or even years before your power gets knocked out. Here is what you need to do to make sure that generator will run next time, when it is needed.

First, start the engine and the turn off the gas valve under the tank. Let it run until it dies. This will drain the gas from inside the engine. Since we all use regular gas from the gas station, most of us use a fuel called E85. This gas contains ethenol, which is a very corrosive additive derived from corn. It's great for the big corn farming companies, but very bad for our engines. So if you leave this in your engine, it will eat the lining from the inside of the fuel system and leave a gummy residue that will keep you engine from running well, if it runs at all. 

Now for the gas in the tank. If you think there will be a storm in the very near future, you can simply add fuel stabilizer to your tank and make the gas you have last for a little while. Gas gets old faster than you think so it is best to use a stabilizer, preferably a marine based one, to help your gasoline stay fresh for the next few weeks or months. Read the instructions on the stabalizer for specific recomendations as to the life of your fuel. 

If after that time you still do not need the generator, you should drain the gas tank. You will need a large gas can, probably five gallons, and a funnel. There is probably a flexable gas line coming off the valve on the bottom of your generator's gas tank. Sicve you alreaddy shut off the gas valve, disconnect the fuel line after the gas valve and place the funnel under the valve so it will drain into your gas can. Then open the valve and drain the tank. You can use this on your car because it will be consumed fairly quickly, and your car is built to run e85 better than your generator is. Then next time a storm is approaching, just fill up your gas can(s) and wait. If you need the gegerator, transfer the fuel to it. If you don't put it in your car or lawn mower. But remember, do not leave gas in a gas can or in any unused machine for months at a time. It will not be very good if you do. 

This applies to your mowers, chain saws, edgers, string trimmers or any gas powered device that you have. If you use it regularly, just continue to use it. If you do not use it regularly, drain the tank and run it dry before you put it up. That is also known as winterizing your lawn equipment. It will make your stuff last much longer. That way you will not need to come see me to replace it, as often.

What does a Pawn Shop sell?

Another great question. If you walk around your house and look at everything except the furniture, we probably have sold one. And if you look at the tools in your garage or shed, the ones the remodelers use when they updated your kitchen or bathroom, and for the most part, the ones your lawn crew uses every week when they cut your grass, we sell those too. Plus whenever you go to church, or see the high school orchestra, the instruments that they play and the microphones and sound systems that they use and, to some extent the equipment used in making their recordings can be found in our stores.

If you go hunting or enjoy shooting sports, you should come see us. Do you cycle to exercise? Run on a treadmill or lift weights? At times we have all of these things too. Like photography or shooting video? We are the resource for many professionals and amateur enthusiasts in all of these fields. We have the phones tablets and laptop and desktop computers to edit and share your creations on as well. Are you a gamer? We have those systems too. And the TVs to display them on, along with the movies and sporting events that you enjoy watching.

And everyone should know that friends don't let friends pay retail for jewelry or fine watches. Come see us at The Pawn Box. If we do not have what you are looking for, we can find it. We have been in the jewelry and watch business here in the Houston area for over four decades. We know diamond dealers, watch dealers, custom jewelry makers and a host of other professionals that can find what you want and save you a bundle. And our selection in our stores in all of these departments is pretty nice too. Stop by regularly and see what you can find at The Pawn Box.

What does a Pawn Shop do?

That is an interesting question. A Pawn Shop is primarily a lending institution. We serve those who may not be able to get a bank loan but need quick cash. We make cash loans on tangible merchandise, like jewelry, electronics, guns, musical instruments and a host of other things. We hold the merchandise during the terms of the loan and return it to our customer when the loan gets paid. And yes we do charge interest on the loan. And so as long as the person keeps up with the monthly finance charge, which is often a few to a few tens of dollars, we will keep the item stored for them. However, these are designed to be short term loans and our minimum finance charge for big loans (that's $75.00 to $1340.00) is $15.00. That is cheaper than the service charge at your bank. It's cheaper than a late charge on your credit card. And it's cheaper than the reconnect fee from your utilities. And we do not report to the credit reporting agencies. That means we won't ruin your credit if you do not pay us back. We just transfer the item to our for sale inventory and sell it to recoup our investment. No harm no foul. I hope that answers your question.