This is a nice 19th century Gorham sterling silver kettle on stand. It's purposes on this post are merely illustrative. Due to the passage of the California law Penal section 6530, it is now illegal for me to either sell this antique or even have it in my shop, which the authorities would deem an intent to sell. These violations could result in a fine of up to $5000.00 per item.
Why you might ask? Because of the little round ivory insulator on the handle. Ivory has been used for this purpose for at least the last 500 years but short sighted legislators, propelled by fanatical animal rights activists, have now outlawed the sale of any object containing ivory and a multitude of other materials that have been used for hundreds of years, no matter how old the age of the object in question. As I wrote earlier this month, it is now illegal to sell an old piano with ivory keys in my native California.
This is causing a nightmare in my business. Fish and Game agents are swarming the auction houses, antique faires, shops and flea markets, criminalizing the innocuous trade in a whole slough of material that has been used for centuries. This is sending shock waves through the trades and putting a lot of good people, already battered by the recession in real danger of losing their livelihoods.
I walked the Hillsborough Antique Show on setup and cautioned quite a few of my fellow dealers to remove objects that contained ivory or turtle shell. "But this plaque is from the seventeenth century," a bewildered older dealer protested. Doesn't matter. The gorgeous 18th century japanese knife with a bit of shell in the handle? Now dangerous, illegal contraband.
Do the people drafting these laws give any consideration to the ramifications of their decision making? First they came for the silver dealers...
If this wasn't bad enough, now we have new proposed legislation A.B. 391. This will require every second hand dealer (like yours truly) to fork over about six hundred dollars to the government in fees, fingerprint every client who wants to sell me anything, create a whole new bureaucracy to oversee the retail market and waste the time of local law enforcement throughout the state, who are already stretched beyond capacity and not able to adequately fulfill their primary function, which is purportedly to stop crime.
I got this letter a few weeks ago:
Assembly Bill 391, in the guise of creating an electronic reporting database to recover stolen property will force you to:
1) Obtain fingerprints and photo ID from anyone who sells you merchandise.
2) Report daily or on the first working day following the receipt or purchase of secondhand tangible personal property to a statewide electronic database.
3) Hold all merchandise for 30 days prior to selling anything.
4) Register as a Second Hand Dealer, submit fingerprints relative to a required criminal background check and pay an initial licensure fee & annual renewal fee of up to $300.
5) It appears the way the bill is written, you would be required to obtain the above licensure for every location you sell in.
Needless to say this would devastate the antique industry and force a majority of Dealers out of business. This would also lead to the end of events such as our faire.
Please review the latest updates to Assembly Bill 391 using the link below. It is moving quickly through the Legislative branches and is in the last phase at the Senate Public Safety Committee before coming to a final vote. If it passes, it will take effect immediately.
We believe the legislators do not understand what you do for a living or how you sell. Many of you do not have brick and mortar shops or a means of submitting electronic reports in the manner and timeline they are requesting. If AB 391 goes through, many of you will no longer be able to engage in the business of buying used goods and selling them at venues like our antiques faire.
AB 391 is very serious. Call the Senator for your District and those on the committee below NOW!
I have to figure that this is an attempt to get a little mordida out of the swap meet and underground cash economy. The reality is that this type of draconian, nanny state oversight will have the opposite effect of its intent. It will drive more and more people into cash transactions to keep the government out of their businesses. The thirty day hold will be enormously difficult for people to work with, many who have to quickly "flip" merchandise to survive.
Existing law generally requires secondhand dealers and coin dealers, as defined, to report specified transactions to the local law enforcement agency where their businesses are located. Under existing law, secondhand dealers and coin dealers are required to report this information using an electronic reporting system 12 months after the Department of Justice develops that system.
This bill would instead require that secondhand dealers and coin dealers report this information using the single, statewide, uniform electronic reporting system on and after the date that the system is implemented, as specified.
Existing law requires a local law enforcement agency to issue a license to engage in the business of a secondhand dealer or pawnbroker to an applicant who meets designated criteria. Existing law authorizes the local licensing authority and the Department of Justice to charge an initial licensure fee and a renewal fee, as specified.
This bill would require the Department of Justice to charge a licensure fee and a renewal fee of no more than $300, as specified. The bill would also require licensees issued a license before the effective date of this bill to pay an additional fee of no more than $288 for the purpose of funding the single, statewide, uniform electronic reporting system, with payment due within 120 days of the enactment of this bill. The bill would require that the fees assessed by the department be deposited in the Secondhand Dealer and Pawnbroker Fund, which the bill would create in the State Treasury. The bill would continuously appropriate the money in the fund to the department for the purpose of paying for specified regulatory costs, including the cost of implementing, operating, and maintaining the single, statewide, uniform electronic reporting system, and would appropriate $2.5 million dollars to the department for the purpose of implementing the system. The bill would also require applicants for a license to submit fingerprint images relative to a required criminal background check, with associated fee revenue to be deposited in the Fingerprint Fee Account, and would continuously appropriate those revenues to the Department of Justice for these purposes. The bill would make other related conforming changes.
The bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.