Illinois Wants To Know Who Owns Precious Metals

Living in Saint Louis, I seem to be hearing a lot of local news stories about the gridlock in the Illinois legislature trying to fix their underfunded pensions. While they have proven failures in that area, I can only wonder if they will prove more effective in passing SB3341.

“Creates the Precious Metal Purchasing Act. Provides that a person who is in the business of purchasing precious metal shall obtain a proof of ownership, create a record of the sale, and verify the identity of the seller. Provides that a person who is in the business of purchasing precious metal shall not pay for the precious metal in cash and shall record the method of payment. Requires the purchaser to keep a record of the sale for one year or, if the purchase amount is over $500, for 5 years. Provides that a person who violates the Act is guilty of a petty offense and subject to a fine not exceeding $500. Provides that the Attorney General may inspect records, investigate an alleged violation, and take action to collect civil penalties.”

Here is the full text.

What really bothers me about this Illinois bill is that, other than Rick Santelli, and then the alternative economic blogosphere, no one in the mainstream media has thought the bill was worth reporting. But why not? For a state to suddenly begin tracking every purchase of precious metals is rather breath-taking intrusion. And one can’t help but wonder why this innovation “just happens” to be proposed in what is probably the state with the worst financial situation in the nation. To put it lightly, I think there is a story here.

Nothing in the bill, as far as I can tell, gives us an official reason why the government of the state of Illinois needs the knowledge that this law would require residents to give them. As Santelli summed it up, “the long and short of it is they want an audit trail to any precious metals, whether you’re talking coins or bullion.” Why?

The only explanation I can think of is a disturbing one: Illinois, knowing it is facing financial apocalypse, wants to know who is holding al the precious metal in the state so that they can confiscate it from them if they want to do so.

If I were to find the Federal Government was planning such a thing, I would consider it horrible and evil. But I wouldn’t be too surprised because I know they did it before under FDR during the Depression. So it isn’t hard to imagine a president trying to do so again.

But it is hard for me to imagine a state getting away with it. Wouldn’t victims be able to sue through the courts?

But even apart from where it may lead, the idea of mandatory precious metals registration seems extreme and wrong by itself. Are we now claiming the government can demand of us that we reveal to them any information they ask for just because they want to know it? Does the Illinois state legislature have the authority to mandate to residents that they keep track of how much rice they purchase and, if the sell any, keep a record of who the buyer is?

Why should whether or not I own precious metals be anyone else’s business?