February 11, 2013
Last week the Houston City Council passed an ordinance requiring people who sell precious metals to be fingerprinted and photographed.
According to KTRK-TV, the ordinance is “meant to help track down criminals who try to resell stolen valuables. Gold-buying businesses will now be required to photograph and fingerprint sellers as well as photograph the items that are being sold to the dealer.” In other words, citizens who sell gold will be considered criminals until they demonstrate otherwise.
“It’s going to allow us the tools necessary to combat a lot of the high-end jewelry thefts that’s going on in the city, whether it’s robberies or burglaries,” Houston Police Officer Rick Barajas told the news station last Wednesday.
Audi S8s, Shelby Mustangs, BMW M5s, Dodge Chargers and Honda S2000 roadsters are stolen thousands of times a year and yet people who own them are not required by government to be fingerprinted and photographed in order to sell their cars. Ditto folks who sell expensive items at pawn shops or on eBay. Can you imagine the chaos in commerce that would occur if every item over say $1,000 required the seller to surrender fingerprints and photographs – more accurately, mugshots – which the buyer would be obliged under penalty of law to submit to the state within 48 hours?
“No precious metals thief is going to agree to a mug-shot and thumbprint,” said Houston City Council Member Helena Brown in response to the law. “That’s like declaring that the thieves are going to be turning themselves in. It’s ludicrous. I don’t know who told HPD that this is going to help them. It’s not going to help anyone, but rather it will be damaging to an industry and to our self-respect and liberty.”
Instead of reducing crime, the new law will instead put a damper on the sale of gold, silver and other precious metals. Jim Guidry notes that despite a claim made by Houston police, the precious metals industry will be hard pressed to comply with the turnaround demanded by the city, will balk at the prospect of alienating customers by demanding their fingerprints and mugshots, and the industry will ultimately suffer through loss of its customer base and through fines and criminal charges.
Finally, it is hardly a secret that government hates the idea of citizens trading in gold and other precious metals. In 2009, the U.S. Mint made it more difficult to purchase gold and rationed the sale of American Gold Eagle coins and the previous year suspended the sale of American Buffalo 24-karat gold coins. Bernard von Nothaus of Liberty Dollar was prosecuted for daring to challenge the fiat money monopoly held by the Federal Reserve and the banks (and daring to have a political agenda, namely getting rid of a parasitical Federal Reserve).
“The modern and oppressive State is against freedom. The argument regarding gold versus fiat money has been settled both theoretically and empirically,” writes Monty Pelerin. “The good fight fought against fiat currency is a long and lonely one. This fight will not be won by intellectual persuasion, but will be determined by the brute forces of the markets the State believes it can control. A currency collapse is likely inevitable. That will expose the fraud and corruption of the current fiat currency regime. Even when that occurs, the elites will do whatever they can to avoid an honest money system.”
“The defamation of gold wrought by central banks and governments is because gold exposes the devaluation of fiat currencies and the flawed policies of government. Governments hate gold because the people cannot be fooled by it,” writes Ron Paul. “If the government persists in debasing the Dollar – as money monopolists have always done – then the people would be able to protect themselves by using alternatives such as gold that are both sound and stable.”
The City of Houston and its police, however, are not colluding with the Federal Reserve in an effort to control the sale of precious metals. The police are reacting as police always do – as gold and precious metals rise in value, it is quite natural that there is an increase in theft and fraud, a situation police react to quite naturally by demanding authoritarian laws that inevitably create a new class of criminals requiring more police and more prisons.