Pawnshop owners weigh in on proposed ordinance

Published 5:07 pm Friday, July 29, 2016

The City of Bainbridge continues to work on drafting an updated pawnshop ordinance with input from pawnshop owners and proprietors of additional businesses that will be affected.

The original draft would have only applied specifically to the three current pawnshops and any that may open in the future. City manager Chris Hobby has said that they are looking into broadening the scope of the ordinance to include all business that buy and sell items.

“I didn’t realize it would apply to me since we don’t pawn,” said Ronnie Godwin, whose store Godwin Jewelers buys scrap gold.

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Godwin said that currently they make a photocopy of the sellers drivers’ license and also take a photograph of the item being sold. Additionally, he said that they always pay for scrap metal with a check instead of cash to help create a paper trail.

The ordinance as currently proposed would also require them to keep a digital record through a third-party system that can be accessed by law enforcement.

“I just think that’s a little bit too much,” Godwin said about the electronic records.

Claude Shirley who owns City Pawn expressed a similar concern.

“I’m not computer literate,” he said. “Mine is handled by pen and pencil on paper. All I’ve been trying to do is hold it down where I didn’t have to do that as far as submitting people. I do have reservations about giving people’s names.”

Godwin said that the amount of scrap gold that they purchase has dropped considerably over the last few years, and if the city requires him to use a third-party system for records he will stop buying it all together.

“I would get out of it,” he said. “I’m not doing it. I’m not giving my data to some third party and bearing the expense of that just for the one or two people that might break the rules. I just think that’s asking too much.”

Shirley said that he is comfortable sharing his paper records with police.

“I don’t mind sending them the information daily, weekly, whatever,” Shirley said. “A picture ID, what we do now and a description of the items. State law already tells you how long you must hold it and what all you must do. I think that if we do that, that pretty well covers it.”

Chris Hobby said following the City Council meeting on July 19 that he will not bring an updated ordinance before the council until he is comfortable that everyone affected is “reasonably happy.” The ordinance is not on the schedule for the council’s meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2.


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