The problem is that the concept is proven. Let's take pawn shops, for instance. They take in a lot of used jewelry, some of which may be stolen. (Note that guns aren't included - since they are covered by the FFL requirement to record each gun transaction with a 4473). The law enforcement types can't stake out each and every pawn shop ever opened to observe the clientele, looking for criminals.
Which no doubt vexes the "boys in blue." But, wait a second - we've got an idear! Let's put the burden of proof on the pawn shops! Make them record each and every transaction for just about anything that can be stolen! After all, it's just pawn shops. If you were a proper citizen, you'd avoid such evil places in favor of Costco and the higher end malls. After all, it's just Common Sense Legislation. For the Children®. Or something. No matter the extra costs of doing business - singling out a particular type of business, or the essential assumption that all involved are guilty of something (can we say Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment?). Pawn shops will be the only businesses bothered by this - so it's no big deal. The masters of the universe won't be bothering anyone else. Oh, wait........
Moms come into New to You Kids in Greenfield every week to sell their babies' outgrown rompers to the small resale shop. But the business says it will have to close if it has to comply with a new city ordinance requiring it to take each mom's picture and send that, along with detailed descriptions of the items she sells, to a police database every day.Well isn't that special. Lord knows the used clothing and book market is rife with corruption and crime. That's certainly what the crooks who stole from me took first. Oh, wait, they left my clothes and books and even the electronic goodies alone - it was guns they were after! Oh, dern, just some anecdotal evidence so it doesn't count.
Half-Price also is thinking about filing a lawsuit against Greenfield on First Amendment grounds, because the new ordinance, which takes effect next summer, will require the bookstore to send police a daily list of customers who sell books to them, with identification and titles sold.
But Greenfield Police Detective Chuck Fletcher has news for resale operators who think they can escape the reporting requirements by moving to another town: There soon may to no place to run, no place to hide.
"You may be able to jump over to Greendale or West Allis, but guess what," said Fletcher, noting that with more cities adopting stricter ordinances, retailers may have trouble finding a place without restrictions.
The new code being adopted by cities around the state is based on a state law that already requires pawn shops and businesses that buy metals and jewelry to take and keep information on sellers and items. The code expands the requirements by including businesses that haven't needed to report transactions in the past and by mandating that the businesses install software from the Northeastern Wisconsin Property Reporting System and input seller identification and detailed merchandise descriptions each day. Businesses must photograph sellers and items, and they must keep the items for a set period of time - 10 to 30 days in most cities that have adopted the ordinances - before reselling them. Desch of Half-Price Books said it would be impossible to comply with that provision because of the storage space it would require.Of course, there are fees involved. Be still my beating heart - I'm shocked. Truly I am...
Greenfield will require retailers to pay 50 cents for each purchase they make up to $10, a dollar for every transaction from $10 to $100, plus an extra 1% of the transaction amount for sales over $100. Wausau, which enacted its ordinance in July, is charging a flat $1.50 fee per transaction. The Wausau ordinance has no exclusions for any resale businesses and includes consignment transactions.There are actually some voices of restraint:
"But the fees are the tip of the iceberg," he said. The shop already keeps information on the identity of sellers, but the new ordinance will require his store to do merchandise documentation that it doesn't now do. He will need to hire two people to type product descriptions of 140,000 items per year - many of them carrying prices below $1 - into the police database. The wages for those jobs will cost him $40,000, and the store doesn't bring in enough money to offset that, Reinhardt said.
At Music Go Round, a musical instrument store in the Greenfield Fashion Center, owner Skott Moriarti estimates the new ordinance will cost him at least $17,000 to implement in the first year. That includes wages for extra employee hours and the purchase of a computer and photo equipment, because the parent company for his franchise store, Winmark Corp., won't allow him to connect third-party software to the store's system. There are concerns about a data security breach and about liability for damages in the event that a breach occurs, Moriarti said.
Milwaukee aldermen approved a resale ordinance in July but excluded bookstores and clothing resale shops.Oh, really? Who'd a thunk it?
"I think it's a very good crime prevention technique," Milwaukee Assistant City Attorney Adam Stephens said. "But you may defeat the purpose if you regulate too much."
Slippery slope. Give 'em an inch, they'll take a mile. Crack open the door - they'll force their way in.
H/T Andrea Harris
And, I'm real interested in what Cedar View Paint Horses has to say about this, since this is all happenin' in Wisconsin....