Flagstaff’s Second Hand Ordinance One Year Later

By Elisha Dorfsmith

It’s been almost a year since the City of Flagstaff passed a second hand ordinance that charges just about any business that buys items from the public a $3.00 fee per transaction so police can document the sale. The ordinance was passed to expand city regulation beyond pawn shops which were already impacted prior to the second hand ordinance being implemented.

Last night the Flagstaff City Council received an update from the Flagstaff Police Department touting the success of the ordinance.

This is what Flag PD reported:

ONLY 24 cases were investigated involving secondhand stores in the past six months. 7,465 secondhand transactions were logged into the police database. Police made $22,395.00 in fees on these transactions. Police retain all information on these individuals in their database including a detailed record of what has been sold (serial numbers, book titles, movie titles etc.)

Several local businesses have told me that the $3.00 fee per transaction is excessive and hurting their business. Hastings employees told me that this ordinance was one of the main reasons they closed their Flagstaff store.

After the presentation, the majority of council seemed satisfied with the Flag PD update. A massive burden on countless local businesses seemed to be a fair tradeoff for leads in 24 investigations (keep in mind that these investigations did not always translate to a conviction).



  1. John
    May 29, 2013 at 10:27 am

    The purpose of the ordnance, ostensibly is to help prevent property crime. So the real way to test the efficacy of this kind of law, is to first show a correlation, and then a direct link to any reduction in property crime within the City. Which I’m sure cannot be done.

    But then perhaps this is just another form of municipal revenue enhancement at the expense of local business owners.

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