The Laurel City Council voted this week to restrict the sale of certain precious metals, coins and jewelry for one year despite objections from the business community.
The measure prohibits dealers in precious metals, such as gold and silver, from buying these items from minors. Hal Ammann, sponsor of the bill, said youths steal silver, coins and other valuable metal to finance drug purchases.
A local businessman, William Souders, testified in opposition to the measure, saying it would affect a minority of businesses while placing burdensome restrictions and requirements for paper work on all businesses.
"I do not condone theft, crime, illegal business practices or the use of drugs," said Souders."But neither do I condone an ordinance that applies to only 7.7 percent of all crime committed in Laurel. I fail to see how you can direct an ordinance at such a small segment of the business community. . . . It is an inequitable law that will unnecessarily burden the one-and two-man shops."
"Things cannot always be yes or no," said Ammann. "In a situation like this, some will be more affected than others. But I think that legitimate business people will abide by the measure and that there will be no mass exodus of dealers from Laurel. There is a similar measure in effect in Baltimore and there has been no flight of business from that city."
The measure, which passed on a vote of 4-to-1 with Mayor Robert DiPietro abstaining, will go into effect April 24 and will end one year later unless the council takes action to renew it.
In other action, the council agreed to let city officials explore alternatives to the present pension plan for city employes.
Last week's meeting was the last for retiring council members Richard Rice and Warren Marton Jr. In the general election last week, the slate including Ammann, James E. Cross III, Dani Duniho, Edward Ricks and Lynn S. Roehrich was elected for a two-year term. The new council members were sworn in this week.