Skip to comments.[Victory] Federal Court: Ohio Precious Metals Dealers Licensing Scheme Unconstitutional
Posted on 12/06/2012 11:24:23 AM PST by VitacoreVision
Federal Court: Ohio Precious Metals Dealers Licensing Scheme Unconstitutional
Act regulates business in response to constitutionally-protected advertising, and prohibits legitimate purchases of gold and silver
1851 Center for Constitutional Law
December 6, 2012
Nov 16, 2012 - Ohio Coin Dealer Suing State Over Scrap Metal License Requirements
Liberty Coins - Delaware, Ohio
Columbus, OH – A federal court late yesterday ruled that Ohio’s regulatory scheme governing those purchasing gold, silver, and other precious metals – the Precious Metals Dealers Act- violates the First Amendment.
The ruling, made by Judge Watson of the Columbus division of the Southern District of Ohio, paves the way for Ohio businesses, most prominently coin dealers, to resume purchases of items containing gold and silver content, and in particular, to resume advertising their interest in purchasing inventory consisting of precious metals, free from concern over confiscatory prosecution, fines and regulations.
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law took up the coin dealers’ case and challenged the state law after the Ohio Department of Commerce threatened to shut down Liberty Coins, of Delaware, Ohio, if it refused to pay considerable fines and obtain a government license to advertise its business.
The lawsuit had sought recognition that the First Amendment applies to and protects “commercial speech,” such as coin dealers’ advertising, and that the Act’s prohibition of advertising by coin dealers was not a means of reducing gold and silver-related theft.
The lawsuit had also made claims asserting that requirements that business owners demonstrate that they have “good character,” “sufficient reputation,” “sufficient financial responsibility,” and “sufficient experience” prior to being permitted to run their businesses were unconstitutionally vague; and that the Act’s authorization of warrantless searches of business owners’ property and records at any time without notice violated their Fourth Amendment rights.
In his 28 page decision, Judge Watson, explaining that “the Act only prohibits the unlicensed buying of precious metals when commercial speech is involved,” emphasized that “a broad injunction completely prohibiting enforcement of the licensing provision is warranted.”
The order, an across-the-board rebuke to Ohio’s regulations and the cavalier enforcement tactics the Ohio Department of Commerce has against Ohio’s small businesses over the past year, concluded as follows:
* The Department of Commerce failed to show “how holding one’s self out as willing to purchase precious metals contributed to the evils the State seeks to prevent. Moreover, Defendants have not shown how requiring a license only for purchasers of precious metals who engage in commercial speech directly and materially advance those interests.”
* “[The state] has not shown that forcing those who engage in commercial speech to obtain a license is reasonable,” and “the restriction on commercial speech is more extensive than necessary.”
* The Department of Commerce “incorrectly” asserts “that the law prevents fraud, money laundering, theft and terrorism by requiring those who wish to engage in the business of buying from the public gold, silver, and other precious metals to be licensed.”
* “The breadth and number of exemptions undercuts the Defendants’ argument that the licensing scheme is narrowly tailored to protect against theft, fraud, or terrorism.”
Looks good to me. Hurrah!
Liberty Coins and Ministries?
Does he serve God or Mammon?
I understand that the state is trying to deal with the increase in the thefts of metals like copper, gold, and silver. But throwing away the Constitution is not how you do that.
I hope to someday read a court opinion that lays bare the real motivation behind such laws:
“This Court finds it reprehensible that the State has created, and is enforcing, nothing less than a protection racket to benefit certain individuals and organizations that contribute vast sums to powerful legislators, and conceals the true purpoe of these nefarious bought-and paid-for acts behind a smokescreen of the so-called public good.”
now if they can only curtail the state run liquor store business...