Legislature puts proposed pawn shop local law on hold for further review
The Genesee County Legislature on Wednesday tabled a proposed local law designed to closely regulate secondhand dealers, but as far as one longtime Batavia businessman is concerned, the board should scrap it completely.
“I can’t sleep over this; I’m livid,” said Michael Barrett, owner of Batavia Marine & Sporting Supplies on West Main Street. “To put the onus on the business in the county is terrible.”
Barrett said he doesn’t like the proposed $150 licensing fee and what he perceives as extra layers of government intervention. Businesses not complying with the law would be subject to being charged with a Class B misdemeanor.
“I don’t need to be checked out by the sheriff’s (department), I don’t need to have to log everything in a book and I don’t need to have to download it to the sheriff’s (department),” he said. “That is their area of expertise, not mine.”
Legislature Chairman Robert Bausch said county lawmakers have “gotten comments about it – pro and con,” which has led them to ask for clarification of some the language of the law.
He said that District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, in conjunction with police agencies and the county attorney’s office, will be revising portions of the law.
“We’re going to get something out there eventually, but it is going back to the Public Service Committee and they don’t meet until January 14th," Bausch said.
Wednesday’s tabling action means that a public hearing scheduled for Dec. 12 on the matter will be cancelled.
Bausch said that the primary focus of the law is to pinpoint the source of items being sold to pawn shops and similar businesses and to curtail criminal activity -- “not to interfere with their business activity."
“We’ve heard that Pawn King (the county’s lone pawn shop, located on Veterans Memorial Drive) is doing the right thing in other counties (with a LeadsOnline tracking program),” he said. “Our concern is that there (be) no collateral damage to other businesses.”
He also noted that when a similar law was proposed five or six years ago, no one objected except for scrap dealers. The law did not take effect due to lack of support from legislators. This time around, scrap dealers are exempt from the proposed ordinance.
Commenting on concerns from business owners who offer gift cards, Bausch said that is not part of the equation.
“I don’t even worry about the gift cards as part of normal business activity, unless people are selling gift cards to the pawn shop,” he said.
Legislator Andrew Young, who has come out as being opposed to the law, acknowledged that the intent is "admirable," but feels that it is too restrictive.
"We've gone way too far ... it's nine pages of limitations and regulations," he said. "And it is ambiguous as to who it really covers."
Young said he hopes some of the points he made during recent committee meetings will take hold and that he is looking forward to discussing the revised document at a Ways & Means Committee meeting next month.
Public comments on The Batavian and other sites have been mostly against the law.
Barrett, who takes in used gun parts such as empty cartridge brass, scopes and reloading equipment, said there already are many layers of regulations and is “overburdened as it is.”
“Business is bad in the county … so many empty buildings in our town,” he said. “I’ve talked to one business owner and he said if this goes through, he’s taking his business out of the county.”
Barrett said he’s read the proposed law very closely and believes that other than “used cars, clothing, books and scrap, everything else is open.”
He said he plans to be there when the public hearing does take place and hopes that he is joined by other business owners.
“Wild horses couldn’t drag me away,” he said.
Thanks Legislator Andrew Young for trying to stop this money grab. This idea creates a brand new local law that is not needed, then charges business another $150 fee, on top of all the other fees they already have to pay. Yea, way to go trying to be business friendly.
Mr. Barrett, owner of Batavia Marine, has never had any problems selling used parts for decades. But, now, he will be just one of the victims of a money grab if this ever becomes law.
Right on Michael Barrett!
"The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from the government."
Thomas Payne 1791
Some good news. Legislator John Deleo said he was voting no with Legislator Young on this