It’s taken over a year of public debate and compromises, but the Madison Mayor and City Council finally passed unanimously a new pawnshop ordinance that city officials say will help law enforcement track down stolen goods and deter crime. The new pawnshop ordinance requires owners to submit merchandise records to the local police department in an effort to better locate stolen goods and requires a 7-day hold on firearms before reselling them.
However, Steven Stempinski, owner of Steve’s Place in Madison, has objected to the ordinance and was dissatisfied with the council’s decision last Monday evening.
“Not only does this require a tremendous amount of paperwork, but it still requires the reporting of firearms which is forbidden under state law and it still requires the holding of firearms which is forbidden under state law.”
But City Attorney Joe Reitman and Madison Police Chief Bill Ashburn disagreed with Stempinski’s interpretation of state statutes.
“All we are trying to do is prevent crime and track items that are stolen,” said Reitman, who noted the ordinance was crafted after other communities in Georgia with very careful wording to abide by state law.
“This is just common sense here, asking that you abide by state law and I cannot figure out why this is taking so long to get done,” said Ashburn.
Stempinski insisted to the council that ordinance was not in compliance with state law, but against it.
A frustrated council decided to move forward with a vote.
“So, we basically have to decide who understands state law better, our city attorney and police chief or you?” said Chris Hodges before the vote.
“This has gone on long enough,” said Madison Mayor Fred Perriman. “We could go round and round on this all night long. I am going to ask our council tonight if we can just go ahead and adopt this and get this behind us and move forward.”
The council voted unanimously to adopt the new pawnshop ordinance.