GA considers requiring ID scans at pawn shops

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The next time you sell something at a pawn shop, you may face more security checks. The General Assembly is considering a bill to crack down on stolen goods at pawn shops. But will it mean more expense for pawn shops?

At Ameripawn, dozens of customers a day sell jewelry, electronics, and other valuables to get a loan or cash they need.

Democratic State Delegate Mamye BaCote of Newport News says state police told her they need help tracking down stolen items.

"The State Police asked us to do this," said BaCote.

She's sponsoring a bill requiring pawn shops to scan your photo ID when you sell something.

"Prohibiting pawn brokers from accepting items where the serial number is ineligible or has been defaced," she explained.

At Ameripawn, Manager Steve Hartley says they already scan photo ID's, and he showed us that they enter items' serial numbers and descriptions into a database that they share with Richmond Police. So this bill means no change for them.

"If it helps solve crimes, we're all for it," he said.

In fact, many pawn shops already do the same, but BaCote says this law will ensure they all do.

"So why not do it for the entire state?," asked BaCote.

BaCote's bill passed through the House last year, but was carried over by the Senate because it originally required pawn shops to photograph every item them get. They found sending thousands of photos a day from every pawn shop in the state would crash the system. So that requirement was dropped from this year's bill.

"A lot of the pawn brokers said the burdensome amount of that time and the amount of information you'd have to transmit on a daily basis, really, we found from the Maryland State Police, that shut down their server," said George Peyton with the Retail Merchants Association, which worked with BaCote on this bill.

But will the ID requirement scare away some customers from selling their wares?

"Only the ones we don't want," answered Hartley.

Pawn shops could face the expense of buying scanners and extra computer memory to scan ID's, but BaCote responds that, "in the end, it may not be a large amount of money the pawn broker has to pay, because you're protecting them as well."

A committee has sent the bill to the House for a vote.  We'll let you know what happens.

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