Town of Southwick, MA
Hampden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting 5-15-2012 by Art. 24. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 139-1 General.

The Board of Selectmen may license suitable persons to be pawnbrokers to conduct business as a pawnbroker in accordance with M.G.L. c. 140, §§ 70-85. Such licenses shall be valid only in the building or place designated in the license, unless the Board of Selectmen consents otherwise. Applications for new licenses may be filed at any time with the Board of Selectmen. Such licenses may be issued in April, to take effect on May 1, following. All licenses issued under this bylaw shall expire on May 1, unless sooner revoked.
Applications for such licenses shall be examined and reported upon by the Chief of Police or his designee(s). The Chief of Police shall be informed as to whether or not the applicant wishes to engage in business as a pawnbroker or second-hand dealer of any of the articles stated herein. The applicant will be required to provide information as to whether or not they have previously held similar licenses in another jurisdiction, and if such license was ever revoked, suspended or surrendered, and there reason therefore.
Persons who engage in or carry on the business of lending money on mortgages, deposits or pledges of wearing apparel, jewelry, ornaments, household goods or other personal property purchasing such property on the condition of selling the same back again at a stipulated price, when the property so mortgaged, pledge or purchased is deposited with the lender, must be licensed as pawnbrokers.
Every person so licensed, shall, at the time of receiving the license, file with the Board of Selectmen a bond in the amount of $300 as stated in M.G.L. c. 104, § 77.
The fee for a pawnbroker license shall be set at $100.

§ 139-2 Rate of interest.

The rate of interest licensed pawnbrokers may charge shall be fixed by the Board of Selectmen by regulation.
No licensed pawnbroker shall charge or receive any greater rate of interest than that fixed by the Board of Selectmen, and interest shall be determined on the precise sum advanced by the lender. Further, no licensed pawnbroker shall make or receive any extra charge or fee for storage, care or safekeeping of any goods, articles, or thing pawned.

§ 139-3 Inspections.

The members of the Board of Selectmen or any officer authorized by the Board may, at any time, enter upon any premises used by a licensed pawnbroker for the purposes of the pawnbroker's business, ascertain how the pawnbroker conducts business and examine all articles taken in pawn or kept or stored upon said premises. All books and inventories shall be exhibited under such circumstances whenever a demand shall be made for such exhibition.
A licensed pawnbroker, clerk, agent or other person in charge of such premises who refuses to admit thereto an officer authorized to enter the same, or who fails to exhibit to him on demand all such articles, books and inventories, and any person who willfully hinders, obstructs or prevents such officer from entering the premises or from making the examination authorized in the preceding section, shall be punished, pursuant to G.L. c.140, § 74, by a fine of not more than $200 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

§ 139-4 Records.

A. 
Computerized records: Every pawnbroker shall keep a computerized record of style and design approved by the Board of Selectmen or its designee. Included shall be all transactions of pawn loans and purchases, which shall be recorded, in the English language. A clear distinction shall be made between pawned items and purchased items and shall reflect the amount of the pawn or purchase.
B. 
Identification of customer: For all loans and purchases, every pawnbroker shall also require positive identification and record the type of identification presented and record the date of birth on approved cards from any person pawning, selling or pledging any article. Positive identification shall mean any picture identification card issued by a governmental agency.
C. 
Requirement that records be kept, provided and retained: The pawnbroker shall record the name and residence, date of birth, and social security number of the person pawning, selling or pledging such articles. The Pawnbroker shall furnish a correct and complete record of such transactions by an approved method once daily, or as otherwise determined, to the Southwick Police Department or to any person designated by the Board of Selectmen. The above described records shall be transmitted electronically in a specifically stored format along with any other information deemed necessary by the Board of Selectmen or its designee. No entry of said entry shall be erased, obliterated, defaced, or changed.
D. 
Photographs required: Every pawnbroker shall photograph any person pawning, selling or pledging articles and keep such photographs with said books as part of his records for at least 10 years. The required photographs shall be clear and of such quality that the person pawning, selling or pledging the items can be clearly identified. A photograph shall be required each time a person makes a separate transaction. The photos shall be stored in a digitized format. The image must be retrievable and a clear copy provided to police upon request. (M.G.L. c. 140, s.79)
E. 
Accurate transaction records required: The transaction records shall accurately describe all items including but not limited to, all distinguishing marks, model names or numbers and serial numbers. Any etchings or engravings will be noted. Any jewelry with affiliation of any institution or organization shall include the name any year indicated along with inscribed initials. Jewelry items inventoried shall include a complete description to include the material, ring size, weight, chain length, shapes, carat weight and color. Coins, stamps, collectable cards, autographed items, figurines, or other collectibles of any description shall be recorded with a complete description, including but not limited to all of the following which may apply: particular identifying features such as name of item, date, denomination, color, size, brand name, vintage, and image represented. Required elements of the description may be amended by the Board of Selectmen or its designee by written notice to the Licensee.
F. 
Inventory of media: All forms of media transmission whatsoever, (cassette or video tape, compact disc, electronic games, game cartridges etc. or any future medium developed) shall be inventoried by title and artist. Any electronic, or computer or computer associated equipment or software shall have it's identifying numbers and titles inventoried.
G. 
Items must be recorded in Southwick: Notwithstanding the origin of an item taken in pawn or purchased by a Licensee, said item shall be recorded as if the item were originally obtained at the licensed premises in Southwick. Items transferred from another licensed pawnshop located within or outside Southwick shall be recorded in the licensed premises to which they are transferred. Any item taken in pawn or sold, which is disposed of other than by sale or auction at the licensed premises, shall have a notation in the record indicating the method of its disposal.
H. 
Maintenance of records: All records required to be maintained by these regulations or by any other statute, rule or regulation shall be maintained for the time required by the controlling statute, rule or regulation, but in no event shall any records be maintained for less than two years.

§ 139-5 Pledger's card.

Each pledger shall be required by the pawnbroker to sign his or her name, age and address on a card. In the event the pledger is unable to write, the pawnbroker shall fill in the name, age and address on such card, together with a notation stating that the pledger was unable to do so. Licensed pawnbrokers shall retain such cards for seven years in an alphabetical index file.

§ 139-6 Pledger's memorandum.

Every licensed pawnbroker shall, at the time of making a loan, deliver to the person who pawns or pledges any goods, article or thing, a memorandum signed by the pawnbroker, containing the same information of the entry required to be entered in the record book required by § 130-4; no charge shall be made or required by the pawnbroker for any such memorandum.

§ 139-7 Report to Board of Selectmen.

Every licensed pawnbroker shall make a report to the Board of Selectmen every week, setting forth the information included in the record book required by § 130-4, as follows: an account and description, including distinguishing marks and numbers, of the goods, articles or things pledged or pawned, the amount of money loaned thereon, the day and hour when it was pawned, the rate of interest to be paid on such loan, the number of such article, and the name and residence of the person pawning the same. If during the preceding week no goods, articles, or other things have been taken in pawn by a licensed pawnbroker, the pawnbroker shall make a report of that fact to the Board of Selectmen or its designee.
If any goods, article or other thing pawned or pledged and in possession of a licensed pawnbroker are determined to be stolen property by a member of the Southwick or State Police Department, or if the rightful owner of property identifies the same, and the property is confirmed by a member of the Southwick or State Police Department to be stolen pawned goods, said property shall be returned to the rightful owner at no cost to such owner.

§ 139-8 Posting of pawnbroker laws and bylaw.

Every licensed pawnbroker shall post in a conspicuous place in his shop or office a copy of the statutes, bylaws and any regulations relating to pawnbrokers, to be furnished by the Board of Selectmen, and shall put in some suitable and conspicuous place on his shop a sign having his name and occupation legibly inscribed thereon in large letters.

§ 139-9 Hours of operation.

The hours of operation may be set by the Board of Selectmen by regulation.

§ 139-10 Retention of pawned items.

Non-perishable articles deposited in pawn with a licensed pawnbroker shall, unless sooner redeemed, be retained by the pawnbroker on the premise for at least four months after the date of deposit; and, if perishable, for at least one month after said date. After the expiration of the applicable period, the pawnbroker may sell the article by public auction, apply the proceeds thereof in satisfaction of the debt or demand and the expense of the notice and sale, and pay any surplus to the person entitled thereto on demand. Not less than 10 days prior to the sale, written notice of the same must be made by registered mail to the person entitled to the payment of any surplus at his residence as appearing in the records of the licensed pawnbroker. Proof of registered mail shall be retained on file for one year after the date of sale.
Articles of personal apparel shall not be considered of a perishable nature for the purpose of this bylaw.

§ 139-11 Prohibited acts.

No licensed pawnbroker shall make a loan directly or indirectly to a minor, knowing or having reason to believe the person to be a minor.
No licensed pawnbroker shall loan money secured by deposit or pledge of firearm, rifle, shotgun or machine gun.
No pawnbroker shall hold a license to sell, rent, or lease a firearm, rifles, shotguns or machine guns.

§ 139-12 Complaints and enforcement.

Complaints regarding licensed pawnbrokers shall be made to and may be investigated by the Board of Selectmen and/or the Chief of Police or the Chief's designee. In the event that the Board of Selectmen and/or the Chief of Police or the Chief's designee determines after investigation that this bylaw or regulations of the Board of Selectmen regarding pawnbrokers have been violated, the Board of Selectmen shall cause to be served upon the licensed pawnbroker by certified mail or in hand notice as to the time, date and place of hearing of the charge with a statement of the reasons for its belief that the bylaw has been violated, and of its intended action (i.e., revocation or suspension) with regard thereto. The Board of Selectmen may also initiate the complaint process.
The Board may, however, suspend or revoke a pawnbroker's license without hearing if the public health and safety so require. In such circumstances, the Board must forthwith give notice of the suspension or revocation and serve the pawnbroker by certified mail or in hand with notice of the opportunity for a hearing.
Offenses which may result in the suspension or revocation of a pawnbroker's license include, but are not limited to, the following:
a) 
Violation of any provision of this bylaw;
b) 
Violation of any provision of the statutes regulating pawnbrokers;
c) 
Violation of any provision of any other statute or bylaw.

§ 139-13 Gold, silver and platinum dealers.

Whoever is in the business of purchasing gold, silver or platinum shall:
A. 
Enter in a book kept for that purpose a description of the item, quantity purchased, the price and name and address of the seller for each and every item regardless of the purchase price;
B. 
Furnish a correct and complete record of such transaction by an approved method once daily, or otherwise determined, to the Town of Southwick Police Department or to any person designated by the Board of Selectmen. These records shall be transmitted electronically in a specifically stored format along with any other information deemed necessary by the Board of Selectmen or its designee. No entry shall be erased, obliterated, defaced or changed.
C. 
Photograph the item purchased and retain said photograph with the records of the transaction for a period of not less than two years.
D. 
Retain purchased items for a period of 20 days on site from the date of purchase.
E. 
Keep said record book open to the inspection of the Chief of Police of the Town of Southwick or any other officer having similar duties or any officer authorized by him, or a state police officer.
F. 
Any person who sells gold silver or platinum shall be required to show to the buyer prior to said sale identification which includes a photograph of said seller.

§ 139-14 Noncriminal disposition.

The provisions of this chapter, and any regulation of the Board of Selectmen adopted thereunder, may be enforced by the Board of Selectmen, any Police Officer of the Town of Southwick, by any available means in law or equity, including but not limited to enforcement by noncriminal disposition pursuant to G.L. c. 40, § 21D and Article I § 1-6 of this Code. Each day a violation exists shall constitute separate violation.
When enforced through noncriminal disposition, the penalties shall be as follows:
First violation: $100.
Second violation: $200.
Third and subsequent violations: $300.