INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Businesses that pay cash for gold could face tighter regulation under legislation being proposed by a southwestern Indiana lawmaker.
Democratic Rep. Gail Riecken of Evansville wants to require gold buyers to register with the state and operate from a fixed location. She also is proposing requiring them to hold goods for seven days and report their purchases to law enforcement officials.
Riecken told the Indianapolis Business Journal (http://bit.ly/Z57fHX ) she is pushing the bill at the urging of pawnbrokers and gold buyers amid concerns that the gold-buying industry has become a vehicle for jewelry thieves.
"The ones who are legitimate and would never accept anything that has been stolen feel there has been a negative image about their business," Riecken said.
Cash-for-gold stores have multiplied in the last five years as gold prices have doubled. Gold hit its peak of $1,858 an ounce in September 2011, but it's still trading at around $1,700 an ounce.
Police say the industry provides an easy outlet for stolen goods.
Riecken said she hopes the bill will generate interest among Republicans who control the Statehouse, noting that officials in Indianapolis and Evansville have taken up the issue.
Evansville passed an ordinance early this year that requires gold buyers to hold the merchandise for 10 days.
The City-County Council in Indianapolis is proposing adding precious-metals dealers to an updated ordinance for the scrap-metal industry.
The measure would require vendors to get business licenses, record descriptions of goods, take ID and vehicle descriptions from people selling secondhand goods and hold items for 10 days before reselling them.
Zionsville jeweler Brian McCall, who owns Midwest Estate Buyers, said he pays out as much as $100,000 a week for items, most of which are brought to him by other dealers from around Indianapolis.
He said a holding period could force dealers who aren't well-funded out of business because gold is so price-sensitive.
Another gold buyer said it's not the industry's job to stop crime and said gold prices are so high that people will be able to avoid regulated stores and still find buyers.
"There ain't no way you can police it," said Randy Robinson, who owns four Indy Gold and Silver shops in Shelbyville, Greensburg and Indianapolis. "All you can do is pass a bunch of laws, knock people out of business."
Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal, http://www.ibj.com