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Ordinance near for precious metal, gem dealers
Crackdown aims to thwart thieves
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Forsyth County News

A new ordinance regulating dealers of precious metals and gems could go into effect Thursday after a public hearing before the Forsyth County commission.

Similar to the recently enacted pawn shop ordinance, the regulations on dealers would aim to recover stolen goods and deter criminals.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard explained before the first hearing Nov. 7 that dealers who buy precious metals and gems from someone other than a manufacturer will be required to obtain a permit and keep stricter records.

“It’s a fairly complex regulatory system,” Jarrard said. “And, obviously, the intention is to capture that sort of material — precious metals, gems, etc. — that may have been secured impermissibly or illegally … so we’re able to catch up with it, if you can, before it is fenced.”

Dealers must get a fingerprint and photo ID from the seller, as well as a digital image of what’s being sold. Materials must be held for at least 30 days before resale.

They must also submit electronic reports each day of the materials they intake to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. Establishments with security cameras must maintain video for at least 30 days.

Jarrard explained that the ordinance included a definition of dealer, and some “fairly significant exceptions,” which include consignment, transactions between individuals and coins for the purpose of collecting.

The sheriff’s office will issue the permits and check for compliance, he said. The county commission will set the fee for the permit and hold public hearings in case of violations to determine whether a suspension or revocation is in order.

Jarrard expected to have a proposal for the fee to present at the Thursday meeting.

Only one person spoke at the Nov. 7 public hearing, receiving clarification that title pawn shops won’t be subject to these regulations.

A similar ordinance for pawn shops passed in July, setting the increased reporting requirements and other measures.

The pawn shop proposal had originally been presented along with one for precious metals and gems, but the commission delayed the latter at the request of the sheriff’s office to allow more time for review.