As a cashier at Godfather’s Pawn in Princeton, customers regularly come to Adrianne Wright to buy a gun there.
But just because it’s a pawn shop, not all of them can. Anyone who wishes to purchase a gun must fill out an application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
This applies to pawn shops and any other stores that sell guns. It’s called a 4473 form.
The application asks questions about criminal history, drug use, U.S. citizenship status and more. The pawn shop or store then sends it to the ATF to do a background check on the person trying to buy the gun.
“It really helps keep a tighter leash on who has guns because we really don’t want guns ending up in the wrong hands,” Wright says. “You know, you don’t want felons to have hand guns or long guns or anything like that. And you really gotta know who has what.”
Submitting a 4473 form to buy a gun is federal law. Tommy Bailey, Princeton police sergeant, says before filling out the application, the customer must first show ID.
“This form just stops them from coming into a legal business that sells guns and getting a gun,” Bailey says.
Bailey says it’s important for all businesses that sell guns to enforce the ATF’s procedures.
Because if they don’t, deadly weapons could end up in dangerous hands.
“The people who aren’t supposed to have guns, like felons,” Bailey says. “That’s why it’s important to keep the guns out of wrong hands.”
Lying on the ATF form about the identity of the actual buyer of the gun is called a Straw Purchase. It’s a felony that’s punishable by 10 years in prison and a fine as high as $250,000.