Maryland Senate Bill 99 is but one example of the above.
We are not going to offer you our views of the politics, merits and shortcomings of various anti-theft laws in this blog posting. We do have some definite feelings about the above and we may share them with you at some other time. We have directed our energies and efforts into making our customers compliant with them.
The electronic record-keeping requirement appears to be an outgrowth of state and local scrap metal anti-theft laws and pawnshop reporting requirements. The anti-theft laws require a scrap metal recycling company to scan a vendor’s driver’s license, fingerprint the vendor, capture a digital signature of the vendor and/or photograph the metal and or the vendor, and limit cash payments. Our ScrapWareSV software supports all of these anti-theft features, and more.
The contractors that operate the pawn shop databases for various governments appear to be lobbying for legislation to apply those reporting rules to scrap metal dealers in localities where it does not yet exist. However, scrap metal recycling facilities are very different businesses from pawnshops.
We have not run across any scrap metal dealers that knowingly purchase stolen material. However, a scrap metal dealer may unknowingly purchase stolen metal. That material may be baled, shredded, chopped or melted down well in advance of when law enforcement has determined the material is stolen. That is probably not the case when a pawnshop unknowingly purchases a stolen item.
The electronic record-keeping requirement tends to be the one of the more onerous, contentious and flat-out hated of the scrap metal anti-theft requirements. Many issues come into play with this requirement, including, but not limited to, data security and privacy of business information that may or may not be a matter of public record.
As a result of the above record-keeping requirements, we have upgraded and modified our ScrapWareSV software so that our customers are in compliance.
There is not a federal standard at this time for electronic record-keeping for scrap metal purchases. That does not mean there won’t be one in the future.
What we have now is a patchwork of state and local laws. Some of the state laws supercede local laws. Some require reporting for transactions where copper or aluminum was purchased, but exempt brass or ferrous items, etc., etc.
Many localities are creating data warehouses comprised of uploaded data. Within these data warehouses, law enforcement is attempting to relate one or more scrap metal purchases across one or more scrap metal dealers to one or more material thefts. Law enforcement is trying to work both hard and smart. The success of this strategy remains to be seen, as well as whether or not it functions as a deterrent to metal theft.
Our ScrapWareSV software can easily export data in a format that can be uploaded to local law enforcement. These formats include XML, pdf or text files. The data contained in these files vary from locality to locality. These data are usually required to contain one (1) days worth of business.
Basis what we have seen across the country, you should not be under any impression that your original electronic record-keeping requirement will be a static one.