Pawn Shop owners decry Law G

Posted at: 11/29/2012 11:29 PM
By: Dan Levy

ALBANY - The intent of Law G -- also known as the Pawn Shop Law -- is to reduce crime, but Thursday night, local pawn shop owners were saying it would be a crime for the Albany County executive to sign it.

Earlier this month, the Albany County legislature voted 20-14 to pass the controversial bill, now the issue is in the county executive's court.

Ill-conceived and burdensome is how second hand dealers refer to Law G. If enacted, it would require all pawn shop owners in Albany County to collect names, addresses, and telephone numbers of their customers, record detailed descriptions of the items they buy, and provide those records to police.

"People finding it necessary to sell their family heirlooms are embarrassed by the fact they need money in this poor economy to pay their bills and they are wishing nothing more than privacy," said Josh Fritz, a second hand dealer.

If people are reluctant to unload their family heirlooms, second hand dealers argue, it won't just affect pawn shops.

"If this law passes, you are going to see a reduction in sales tax revenue and next year we'll be looking at another increase in the tax because that revenue is going to be gone," opines Jason Pierce, president of the Albany County Dealers Association.

Pierce says his members already have an effective crime stopping communications network in place, all it requires, he says, is for police agencies to notify them.

"Let the people who deal with these problems on a daily basis write the law," says Bob Gordon, who spoke out against the bill Thursday night. "Don't leave it to a person or persons who don't fully understand what it takes to make regulation work correctly."

It's a message second hand dealers have been trying to hammer home, hopeful that Albany County Executive Dan McCoy will be listening.

McCoy says he's heard a lot of passionate speakers during the process who have brought up valid points.

"I did notice through this hearing that police need to be talking to the dealers on a more daily basis of what's going on," McCoy says.

McCoy has already vetoed one version of the law, which has now been amended. He says he'll review the new bill and promises to make his opinion known shortly.