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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 6, 2015 10:04 AM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward and Sen. Donald C. White
To: All Senate members
Subject: Statewide Registry for Pawnbrokers, Precious Metal Dealers, Scrap Metal Dealers and Second-hand Store Owners
We will be re-introducing legislation to establish an online statewide registry to track the resale of precious metals and scrap materials in Pennsylvania.

In recent years, there has been an upswing in criminal activity in regards to the theft, purchase and resale of precious metals, such as gold, silver and platinum, and scrap materials, such as copper and steel. To combat this, law enforcement in Maryland, Delaware and in the City of Philadelphia have established registries to license and track the transactions of precious metal dealers, pawnbrokers and others. These registries have been instrumental in tracking stolen items and cracking down on criminal activity.

Modeled after Delaware’s law and Pennsylvania’s Precious Metal Sale Regulation Law of 1984, our legislation would amend Title 44 (Law and Justice) by adding a new chapter which would do the following:

  • Create an online reporting system. The current system of tracking the transactions of precious metal dealers and pawnbrokers is paper-based and antiquated. The bill would direct the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) to create or contract with an entity to provide for a statewide electronic registry that would serve as a depository for sales transactions that law enforcement would be able to access to check for stolen property.

  • Pawnbrokers, precious metal dealers, scrap metal dealers and secondhand store owners dealing in precious metals or scrap materials will be required to register annually. Under current law, precious metal dealers are already required to obtain an annual license by the sheriff of the county in which their business operates. My bill builds off of this process. Applicants would have to show a clean criminal history record in order to be eligible for registration.

  • Registered dealers would be required to provide information to the online reporting system on their transactions by noon of the following business day. The bill will also provide for a five day holding period of the property to give law enforcement time to react to the transaction.

The bill would also repeal any conflicting sections in the Precious Metal Sale Regulation Law of 1984, the Pawnbrokers’ Licensing Act of 1934 and Scrap Material Theft Prevention Act of 2008.

This legislation was Senate Bill 1177 of last session and previous co-sponsors were Senators Vulakovich, Rafferty, Schwank, Costa and Kasunic.

If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Senator Ward's office at 787-6063. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB799