City of Duluth changes proposed gold-buying ordinanceThe Duluth City Council will take up a revised ordinance governing the sale of precious-metal objects when it meets on Monday.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
The Duluth City Council will take up a revised ordinance governing the sale of precious-metal objects when it meets on Monday.
The original ordinance drew fire from business owners who were concerned that new reporting requirements would be burdensome and might be viewed as an invasion of customers’ privacy. But Duluth Sgt. Chad Nagorski, who works in the department’s property and financial crimes unit, said several changes have been made to address some of the objections raised to an earlier draft of the ordinance.
Initially, businesses were going to be asked to take a digital photograph of any person who sold them an item containing at least 1 percent gold, silver or platinum.
“Overwhelmingly, businesses were opposed to that,” said Nagorski.
As a compromise, the revised ordinance now requires a photocopy of a driver’s license or other official photo identification to accompany a picture of the item or items sold.
If the ordinance passes, jewelers and other buyers of precious metal items would be required to electronically enter these images of sellers and items into the same automated reporting system already used by pawn shops throughout Duluth.
Nagorski said the system helps police solve crimes and return stolen items to their rightful owners. He noted that from 2010 to 2011, the number of burglaries in Duluth rose 27 percent, and the most frequent type of item taken was jewelry.
City Councilor Patrick Boyle asked whether it was necessary for the city to take a blanket approach to the sale of all items containing precious metals.
“It could be a real pain for people who deal in coins,” he observed.
Nagorski said there, too, the would-be ordinance has been amended.
“We don’t get a lot of reports of coins being stolen, so we removed that requirement from the ordinance,” he said, explaining that coins would be exempt from the reporting requirements. He described the theft of jewelry as the dominant issue in local burglaries.
City councilors are expected to vote on the ordinance Monday evening.