The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously at its Nov. 19 meeting to update city code to reflect that the City’s definition of a “secondhand dealer” include “cash for gold” businesses.
According to a city staff report, the change, which is consistent with state regulations, refers to sales of tangible personal property, as determined by the state attorney general, within the definition of a secondhand dealer, therefore requiring that cash-for-gold businesses record and maintain information from sellers.
The updated code, which is consistent with the California Business and Professions Code, also requires that such businesses hold tangible, personal property for 30 days, identify gold sellers and complete similar procedures as a “pawn shop,” including obtaining an identification and thumbprint of the seller and a description of the item sold, according to the staff report.
The code amendment was brought forward in hopes it would “possibly deter criminals from attempting to sell stolen jewelry to these businesses.” The staff report states, “Ultimately, this may result in reduced property crime.”
The item regarding cash-for-gold dealers was first brought up in August by 6th District Councilmember Dee Andrews, 9th District Councilmember Steve Neal and Vice Mayor Robert Garcia.
The councilmembers sought to seek stricter regulations on gold-dealing businesses after reports by police officials that illegal and unregulated gold sales in recent years have contributed to a rise in property crime in which thieves trade stolen jewelry and other items for cash.
Industry experts and business owners, however, have stated that all cash-for-gold businesses seeking licenses to operate are already required to comply with state regulations and the increase in reports of illegal deals is primarily because of a lack of city enforcement.
All second-hand dealers, including cash-for-gold businesses, face misdemeanor charges for purchasing known stolen property and not reporting it to police. Fines range from $1,500 for the first item and up to $25,000 for the third item.
The Council also approved updating city code to remove “outdated and offensive language” in the City’s definition of “fortune telling” in the business-license section. The change removes the requirement of a $250,000 bond and background check for fortune tellers, but maintains they apply for a business license.
The amendment further removes a requirement of a conditional-use permit and allows fortune-telling in commercial zones in the same manner as personal services. The code change comes after the City was threatened with litigation in July that stated the code was “outdated, unclear and constitutionally offensive.”
Another change made to city code classifies “cottage food” operations as “home occupations” to conform with a state law known as AB 1616, which the State recently adopted to allow cottage-food-operation uses as a permitted use in residential zones.