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County Adopts “Pawn Shop” Law

OSWEGO, NY – At its July meeting, the Oswego County Legislature adopted Local law No. 3. The law regulates secondhand dealers regarding the sale and purchase of secondhand articles within the county of Oswego.

A speaker during the public session said she supports the law and related an event that happened to her as the reason why.

Some of her jewelry had been stolen; four gold necklaces and a diamond pendant, a Christmas gift from her husband.

When she asked investigators whether the items would be recovered, he said mostly likely not “because Oswego County didn’t have any sort of secondhand law.”

“When I heard that it really disturbed me because there are a lot of people out there that are losing their valuables that mean a lot to them,” she said.

She contacted her legislator, the DA and Sheriff’s offices and other elected officials about her concerns.

Then, she wrote to all the DAs in New York State to see what they had on their books regarding secondhand laws. Of the 61, 33 responded.

She compiled the answers and shared the information with local officials.

“I hope you pass this for the county,” she told the legislators. “I don’t want anybody to have to lose their precious memories. It’s not a monetary thing. It’s more it was something my husband had bought for me, he picked it out himself – and I lost it! It’s replaceable. But what it’s replaced with doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Because of the state many people are in economically, thefts are higher, she said. And because there is no (county) law, it allows people from other counties to come into Oswego County and sell their (stolen) goods here, she added.

The local law is thanks in part to the bipartisan efforts of legislators Jake Mulcahey (D) and Steve Walpole (R).

The law gives police departments around the county a tool to help recover stolen items. It also requires a store to hold an item for a certain period of time and to document the item that they bought or sold.

Stores must, for a period of seven days after acquisition of the article (excluding the day of acquisition) hold the article.

Exemptions to the law include the sale of any item sold at a garage sale, yard sale, estate sale, going out of business sale or moving sale (“garage sales”).

The following requirements must be met however:

•    The garage sale is held on residential property (owned, rented, leased or occupied by the seller or, by at least one seller if there are multiple sellers.)

•    The items offered for sale are owned by the seller and/or the owner to sell the items.

•    The garage sale doesn’t exceed 96 consecutive hours.

•    The seller doesn’t conduct more than four garage sales in any consecutive 12-month period.

•    And, none of the items offered for sale were purchased by the seller for resale of received on consignment for purposes of resale.

Other exemptions apply to sales by antique dealers, religious, non-profit, charitable or benevolent groups as well as some internet sales.

There is a permit fee and application process associated with the law.

The law will become effective as of August 1.