Are antique shops really just pawn shops?

A troubling story out of Louisiana this morning got me thinking about a battle that took place across California a few years ago.

The News Star reports the Monroe City, La., city council will introduce an ordinance next week requiring antique shop owners to register and report their inventory like pawn shops are required to do.

An excerpt:

Police Chief Ron Schleuter said including jewelers and antique shop owners in the law, which is
already a part of state law, would help law enforcement catch
criminals. With the price of gold on the rise, the chief said thieves
are taking gold items and selling them to the jewelers and antique
shops at a fraction of what they are worth.

Schleuter
said a Monroe resident recently purchased 16 gold coins as an
investment, and 13 of them were taken from his residence. Ten of the 13
coins were recovered at jewelry stores and an antique shop.

In Monroe City, pawn shops report descriptions of their inventory and
secure   identification of those wanting to sell their items to help
police track down stolen goods. If passed after
a public hearing at the council’s Aug. 11 meeting, the new law will
require the
same of jewelry stores and antique shops.

Although the law’s intention may be to protect the public, this bureaucracy will shut down dealers and snuff out tax revenue.

Can you imagine a dealer amassing a mountain of paperwork on their inventory? Can you imagine while taking a photocopying everyone’s driver’s license that walked through the door with something to sell?

No? Neither can I.

Why? Because proposed laws like this never distinguish between a spoon-carved dresser and a diamond ring.

Laws like this step on the free market principals that allow dealers and collectors to quickly and easily trade items. If Monroe City is really worried about theft, perhaps they should regulate whom in their county posts items on online auction sites? I bet most stolen goods are now fenced online rather than small shops across town.

Why make Monroe City, La., dealers pay the price?
 
-posted by Eric Bradley

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