Paranoia or Historical Precedent? Huh? What does that have to do with buyers and sellers of precious metals having to be registered, have their fingerprints taken, have “mugshots” taken and being subject to what is basically little more than infringement of the rights of the people to free trade? The Houston City Council has passed a local ordinance requiring anyone and everyone who buys or sells gold to get fingerprinted and have a mugshot taken. That was the initial report at least but as it turns out, as with any law or ordinance, there is more. This is actually the case for anyone in Houston who wants to buy, sell or trade gold, silver or any other precious metals.
A lot of people are going to believe that this is actually a good idea and may honestly believe the Houston City Council when they claim that this will reduce local crime rates but what precedent is there to bear this out? There is a lot of precedent to be found but absolutely none of it indicates for even a moment that this will actually assist in any way to reduce criminal behavior or criminal activity. What history has shown us is that criminals, by their very nature, do not uphold the law, do not follow the law and thus, are not adversely affected by the law unless they are caught. For the Houston City Council or for anyone else for that matter, to openly claim that this ordinance will reduce crime is disingenuous at best or a blatant attempt of deception at worst.
Let us take a look at the options now mandated by this ordinance first. Anyone who buys, sells or trades gold, silver and/or precious metals must be fingerprinted, have a mugshot taken and register. Assuming for a moment that this ordinance is as presented, an effort to curtail theft, let us look at those people who may be selling stolen goods. If they have the gold, silver or other precious metals to sell or trade, they have already obtained them. If they have obtained them in an unlawful fashion, the crime has already been committed. If the crime has already been committed, how is getting them to register now going to help to prevent a crime that has already happened? To even insinuate that some ordinance from on high is going to prevent a crime that has already happened is patently absurd. Sure this cannot be what the Houston City Council is promoting as reasoning these days?
Hate Crimes Legislation has shown that the omniscient government can not only prove, but actually prosecute based on intent … based on what a person is or was thinking during the commission of a crime. Let me put on my politician pot for a moment … a hat, not that kind of pot … what kind of criminal enterprise do you think government is? … Never mind. Strike that last question from the record please. Let us look into the mind of a desperate criminal who has just successfully committed a crime and now has a pocket full of gold, silver and/or precious metals … and maybe some precious stones as well … which by their reasoning, should also be included in this ordinance.
Has the light bulb in your head gone off yet? No? Well please allow me to enlighten you from the apparent position of a professional politician. We know that this same, troubled young individual has been forced into a life of crime due to circumstances beyond his control and the societal ills brought on by Capitalism. We also know that he cannot readily participate in the election process which he would gladly do were he not disenfranchised by the need to present a valid State issued identification. There is the political caveat that is going to actually reduce the level of crime. This troubled young man who in reality, is actually nothing more than a victim of the ills and woes of society, is no longer going to commit criminal acts because he does not have the prerequisite identification to sell the goods once they have been legitimately stolen! Or is that reasoning a little bit strange as well?
Maybe taking a look at the people who actually buy all of this property will help. Certainly all of the pawnshop and many other business owners are suspect. After all, everybody who goes through all of the headaches and hassles of setting up their own business is just as guilty as someone who sets up their business for the facilitation of criminal activities right? Is that not the assumption behind the reasoning and rationale for these types of laws, ordinances, decrees and whatever other legal term you want to use are? Are they not all presumptions of guilt requiring lawful buyers and sellers to work under the guise of already being guilty? Why do we allow for an attack on the innocent and law-abiding business owner in hopes of preventing crimes that have already occurred? Why do we foist more paperwork on the already over-burdened small business owner in hopes of catching just one guilty party? What makes anybody believe for even one moment that people conducting lawful transactions will be inconvenienced while the criminal element will seek out criminal enterprises rather than legitimate business interests? Oh, maybe this local Houston Ordinance requiring all persons buying and selling gold, silver, precious metals and likely precious stones as well will only have to be used by businesses who are already conducting illegal activities? Maybe there really is no inconvenience or hassle here for legitimate business owners or for the law-abiding citizens?
Looking at the entire scenario realistically, the stolen merchandise may pass around the street for a little bit. Depending on how “hot” it is, it may be used as a method of barter in exchange for drugs or other goods that are available on the street. There may be a few drug dealers or other street criminals who already have the infrastructure in place to pawn off or purchase stolen goods. Are these criminals suddenly going to be in fear for their lives and their freedom because of a new local ordinance? Are they somehow or another going to be convinced of the direction they are heading in and go down to open a legitimate business, burden themselves with oppressive taxes, licensing fees and more legal hoops than many lawyers can fully understand just for the sake of being able to legally buy, sell and trade precious metals and stones?
We live in a land of law and at the state and local level, we have a much greater right to enact laws, ordinances and decrees to keep the population safe and maintain civil order. While this is certainly true what we do not need are vast tomes of laws and ordinances that serve absolutely no purpose or do what they profess to do when they are passed. We have to take our nation back city by city, county by county and state by state or else we will surely be forced to take it back street by street. In order to have order, the rule of law is absolutely and unequivocally a large part of the solution. Still, we must have laws and ordinances that do not violate the rights of the law-abiding citizen, do not presume guilt over innocence and do not create undue burdens on those who are bearing the largest brunt of the burden when it comes to taxes, licensing and fees paid in to support the government that we need.