[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Hamilton as Ch. 74 of the 1994 Code of Ordinances; amended in its entirety 9-17-2019 by Ord. No. 19-043. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
No person shall engage in the business of the purchase of precious metals and gems and all forms of previously owned jewelry without first obtaining a license from the Municipal Clerk. Licenses shall be issued for a period of one year commencing May 1 and ending April 30 of the succeeding year.
The purpose and intent of this chapter is to assist law enforcement officials and victims of crime in recovering stolen precious metals, gems, gemstones and/or other articles by requiring minimum reporting, maintenance and distribution criteria for secondhand and transient dealers.
No person shall use, exercise or carry on the business, trade or occupation of buying scrap gold, old gold, silver, jewelry, home electronics/audio and visual equipment, musical instruments, telephones and telephonic equipment, cell phones, scales, computers, computer hardware and software, typewriters, word processors, coins, electronic tablets, cameras, scanners, sporting goods of all kind, platinum, all other precious metals, tools of all kind, televisions, DVRs, GPS, camcorders, car stereos, gift cards, furniture, clothing or other valuable articles, hereinafter referred to as "secondhand goods or articles" or being a secondhand dealer within the Township of Hamilton without having first obtained a license from the Township of Hamilton Municipal Clerk as hereinafter provided.
The provisions of the preamble hereof are incorporated by reference in this chapter.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, words and their derivations shall have the meanings ascribed herein. Words used in the present tense shall include the future, words in the plural number shall include the singular number and words in the singular number shall include the plural number. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
- ACCEPTABLE IDENTIFICATION
- Acceptable forms of identification include a current valid New Jersey driver's license or identification card, a current valid photo driver's license issued by another U.S. state, a valid United States passport, or other verifiable U.S. government-issued identification.
- Any article of merchandise, including any portion of such article, whether a distinct part thereof, whether separable or not, and also including material for manufacture, and as so defined in N.J.S.A. 51:6-1.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of Police of the Township of Hamilton or his or her designee/representative.
- A computerized internet-capable database with hardware and software compliant to that set by the Chief of Police.
- Any person, partnership, corporation, or other entity, whether permanent or itinerant, who on one or more occasions (through any means) buys or sells or otherwise exchanges or trades secondhand gold, silver, precious metals, gems, or jewelry, and includes anyone advertising the purchase or sale of any of the aforementioned items.
- DESIGNATED VENDOR
- A person or entity who is appointed or designated by the Chief of Police who is authorized to collect and maintain precious metal transaction information, or other purchase information as defined herein, for the Township of Hamilton.
- GIFT CARD
- A restricted monetary equivalent or scrip that is issued by retailers or banks to be used as an alternative to a nonmonetary gift.
- ITINERANT BUSINESS
- Any business conducted intermittently within the Township of Hamilton or at varying locations.
- Any individual natural person, partnership, joint venture, business, society, associate, club, trustee, trust, corporation, or unincorporated group, or an officer, agent, employee, servant, factor or any form of personal representative of any thereof, in any capacity, acting for self or on behalf of another.
- PRECIOUS METALS
- Comprised of gold, silver, sterling, platinum and/or their alloys as defined in N.J.S.A. 51:5-1 et seq., N.J.S.A. 51:6-1 et seq., and/or N.J.S.A. 51:6A-1 et seq.; gems, gemstones, coins and all forms of jewelry herein contained.
- Individuals and retail sellers, not to include wholesale transactions or transactions between other merchants.
- The exchange of money and the exchange, deposit, pledge, sale, conveyance or trade of any tangible or intangible article.
- REPORTABLE TRANSACTION
- Every transaction conducted by a dealer in which precious metals, or other tangible property, are purchased or exchanged from or with the public.
- SECONDHAND GOODS
- Any article previously sold, acquired, exchanged, conveyed, traded, or otherwise formerly owned, including but not limited to scrap gold, old gold, silver, jewelry, home electronics/audio and visual equipment, musical instruments, telephones and telephonic equipment, cell phones, scales, computers, computer hardware and software, typewriters, word processors, coins, electronic tablets, cameras, scanners, sporting goods of all kind, antiques, platinum, all other precious metals, tools of all kind, televisions, DVRs, GPS, camcorders, car stereos, gift cards, furniture, clothing or other valuable articles.
- TRANSIENT BUYER
- A dealer who has not been in any retail business continuously for at least six months at any address in the municipality where the dealer is required to register or who intends to close out or discontinue all retail business in the Township of Hamilton within six months. Or as so defined in N.J.S.A. 51:6A-5 and N.J.A.C. 13:47C-1.1. Vendors doing business during a community event sponsored/sanctioned by the Township of Hamilton shall not be considered a transient buyer.
Upon receipt of an application for a license under this chapter completed pursuant to Chapter 285, Licenses and Permits, of the Code of the Township of Hamilton, the Municipal Clerk shall refer such application to the Division of Police and the Department of Community Planning and Compliance for review and recommendation as to whether a license should be issued or denied. The review and recommendation shall take no more than 10 days. The Division of Police shall institute such investigation of the applicant's moral character and business responsibility as it deems necessary for the protection of the public welfare. The Department of Community Planning and Compliance shall cause to be investigated weight and measure devices. Upon completion of the investigation, the Division of Police and the Department of Community Planning and Compliance shall return the application or a copy thereof to the Municipal Clerk, accompanied by a recommendation as to whether the license should be issued or denied. If the recommendation of the Division of Police and the Department of Community Planning and Compliance is to deny the license, the grounds for such recommendation shall be stated. Grounds for recommending denial of a license may include information indicating that the applicant is not of good moral character or is of questionable business responsibility, and a recommendation of denial shall be given if the applicant has been convicted of any crime involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. Upon receipt of the recommendation of the Division of Police and the Department of Community Planning and Compliance, the Municipal Clerk shall issue or deny the license accordingly. Any person aggrieved by such denial may appeal to the Township Council, who may confirm or reverse the denial as deemed advisable.
A dealer of precious metals, gems, gemstones or secondhand goods shall, prior to buying, attempting to buy or offering to buy, register with the Chief of Police, providing the following information on an application prescribed by the Police Department:
Name and address of the dealer.
Address from which the dealer shall conduct business.
Copy of valid zoning and/or construction permits from the Township of Hamilton.
All licensees under this chapter shall require of each person offering an item for sale to produce identification and to sign a receipt for the item.
Every dealer within the Township of Hamilton shall, upon the purchase of any precious metals or secondhand goods from the public, be required to do as follows:
Record on a numbered receipt the name, address and telephone number of the purchaser; the name, address and telephone number of the seller or sellers; the time and date of the transaction: the net weight in terms of pounds (Troy), pennyweight (Troy) or kilograms/grams of the precious metals; fineness in terms of karats for gold, and sterling or coin for silver, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 51:5-1 et seq., and N.J.S.A. 51:6-1 et seq. This information is to be documented through use of an electronic database software system as designated by the Chief of Police. These records shall be subject to the inspection of any authorized police officer of the Township of Hamilton.
Through the use of applicably required computer equipment, and using the electronic format approved by the Chief of Police, enter all transactions into the electronic database within 48 hours from the date of purchase. The information entered will contain the information in § 273-6A above, plus the following:
A physical description of the seller.
The receipt number.
A full description of the item or items purchased, including but not limited to marks, numbers, dates, sizes, shapes, initials, monograms and serial numbers.
The price paid for the item.
The form must be signed by the seller.
The form must be legibly initialed by the clerk or the dealer who made the transaction so as to readily identify that individual.
A color photograph or color image of the seller's presented identification.
A color photograph or color image of the seller.
A color photograph or color image of all items sold. When photographing or imaging all items must be positioned in a manner that makes them readily and easily identifiable.
Items can be grouped together more than five at a time when photographing or imaging.
In the event of a database failure, or dealer's computer equipment malfunction, all transaction information is required to be submitted on paper forms approved by the Chief of Police. In the event that paper forms are used, the dealer is responsible to enter all transaction information into the database as soon as possible upon the dealer's equipment being repaired or replaced, or the database coming back into service. Failure by the dealer to properly maintain computer equipment in a reasonable fashion, or failure by the dealer to replace faulty computer equipment, may result in the dealer being cited for a violation of this chapter and subsequently being subject to the penalties for doing so.
It shall be the requisite duty of every dealer, and of every person in the dealer's employ, to admit to the premises during business hours any member of the Hamilton Township Police Department to examine any database, book, ledger, or any other record on the premises relating to the purchase of precious metals from the public, as well as the articles purchased or received, and to take possession of any article known by the police officer or official to be missing or to have been stolen, or where the police officer or official has probable cause to believe the article is missing or stolen.
This chapter shall not apply to purchases made by jewelers or other dealers from wholesalers or other suppliers, but shall only apply to those purchases made from the public or other retail purchases.
No dealer within the Township of Hamilton shall purchase any precious metals from any person under the age of 18 years.
Each licensee under this chapter shall deliver a bond to the Municipal Clerk, executed by the applicant as principal, with a surety company authorized to do business under the laws of the state as surety. The bond, to be approved by the Township Attorney, shall be in the penal sum of $10,000, conditioned for the due and proper observance of and compliance with the provisions and requirements of all ordinances of the Township in force or which may be adopted respecting the conduct of this business, and conditioned also that the bond shall be and remain for the benefit of any person who shall have received judgment against any person licensed under this chapter by reason of any damage sustained by any such person as a result of having made a sale to such licensee, due to dishonesty, fraud or deceit practiced in effecting purchase.
The fee for initial application for a license under this chapter shall be as set forth in Chapter 215, Fees, of the Township Code. Each annual renewal fee shall be as set forth in Chapter 215, Fees, of the Township Code. If on the effective date of this chapter a person has been in business pursuant to § 273-1 for a period not less than five years, the fee for initial application shall be as set forth in Chapter 215, Fees, of the Township Code, and investigation pursuant to § 273-4 may be waived by the Municipal Clerk.
Any license issued under this chapter may be revoked or suspended for violation of any provision of this chapter or for any reasons listed in § 285-10, Grounds for revocation.
The Township shall institute proceedings for any license suspension or revocation by service of an appropriate notice at least five days prior to the effective date of the license suspension or revocation, and a reasonable opportunity for hearing before the Mayor or his designee shall be afforded to the licensee prior to the effective date. If the license is denied, the applicant may appeal to the Township Council.
Violation of any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a minimum fine of $100 or a maximum fine of $2,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days and a ten-day suspension of its license. Each and every violation shall be considered a separate violation. Every day that a violation continues shall be a separate violation. Each violation shall result in an additional ten-day suspension. Any person who is convicted of violating the provisions of this chapter within one year of the date of a previous violation and who was fined for the previous violation may be sentenced by the Court to an additional fine as a repeat offender. The additional fine imposed as a repeat offender shall not be less than the minimum or exceed the maximum fine provided herein, and same shall be calculated separately from the fine imposed for the violation of this chapter.