McCracken County passes gold-buying ordinance

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Reporter - Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky.- McCracken County commissioners may have agreed unanimously to pass the new gold-buying ordinance Monday night, but that doesn't mean everyone in the county is on board.

The ordinance is a revised version of the ordinance passed last year. This version requires any person or business acting as a secondary jewelry or precious metal dealer to register with the county finance department. In addition, they must require a photo I.D. of anyone trying to sell jewelry or precious metals, as well as register that information along with pictures and descriptions of the property with the McCracken County Sheriff's Department by using LeadsOnline.

Sheriff Jon Hayden said the national database is the best and most used by departments all over the county, which helps them catch and return stolen items in a greater search area.

But some people like Lisa Bradshaw are against LeadsOnline. As the owner of Gold Buyers of Paducah, she says her problem is not with helping to track stolen property, it's with the database.

In a workshop preceding the meeting, about a dozen business owners voiced their support and concerns.

"LeadsOnline is the main concern," she said. "LeadsOnline is a private, for profit group that confidential info is being given to." She added that although law enforcement is supposed to be the only ones with access, the website could be hacked. "Then that liability comes back on me if I sign that LeadsOnline contract."

Assistant County Attorney Todd Jones disagrees. He said the shops would not be liable and the likelihood of the system being hacked is slim. He added that even if it does happen, all a hacker would get is the information on a person's drivers license which he says is already in several different databases like national retailers.

"I don't think this is a privacy issue," he said.

Bradshaw said her other concern is how the county went about agreeing to the private, third-party database. She thinks the county should bid it out.
 
Jones said the Sheriff did appropriate research and because the cost is about $1,900 a year, they do not have to bid it out.

Bradshaw said she will be pursuing a legal opinion.

Anyone caught violating the new ordinance could face a misdemeanor along with a fine up to $500 or up to 90 days in jail for each offense.
 

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