Something I wrote about the recent City Council shenanigans regarding precious metals:

On Wednesday February 6th the City of Houston amended Chapter 7.88 of the City of Houston’s Code of Ordinances with new requirements for the sale of precious metals, including silver. These new requirements go beyond already established guidelines and invade individual privacy.

The State of Texas already regulates the Precious Metals Buyers Industry. The City Code is being updated to include the more than two dozen State requirements:

a transaction report form for each transaction… preprinted and pre-numbered
The full name of the seller
A physical description of the seller to include date of birth, height, eye color, and gender
The physical address where the seller is residing at the time of the transaction
The seller’s driver’s license number or personal identification number
A description of the crafted precious metal purchased by the dealer…
Type, color and purity of each kind of metal purchased (e.g., 10 karat white gold, 0.925 sterling silver)
Weight in troy ounces, grams, or pennyweights for each kind of metal
Amount paid by the dealer for each kind of metal
The total amount paid to the seller by the dealer

(To see full list, click here, and scroll to page 117.)

Violations of these rules already have consequences. Under the City’s new amednment, violations, intentional or by human error, will result in misdemeanor charges and possible imprisonment.

So what changes have been made? The new City mandates include the following four major mandates:

A record of each transaction must be kept in a web-based database
Records must be submitted daily [State allows 48 hours]
A clear digital photograph of the seller
A clear thumbprint from the seller

Representatives of the precious metals industry attended city council meetngs to voice their oppostion. This is going to hurt their business they say, “Customers do not want to have their mugshot taken.”

This action comes after a recent presentation by the Houston Police Department. In the report HPD says as a result of more Americans moving into the Precious Metals (Silver, Gold, Platinum) market we see a rise in theft of these metals. These changes, they say, will curb theft.

“No precious metals thief is going to agree to a mug-shot and thumbprint,” Council member Helena Brown stated. “That’s like declaring that the thieves are going to be turning themselves in. It’s ludicrous. I don’t know who told HPD that this is going to help them. It’s not going to help anyone, but rather it will be damaging to an industry and to our self-respect and liberty.”

Many citizens HFT spoke to voiced their concerns about privacy and disbelief that this would actually lower crime rates related to precious metals. Others speculate about other possible reasons for this change. We heard concerns from more than one person about fears of being consider a “domestic terrorist” for their use of precious metals as alternative currency.

In 2012 Bernard von NotHaus was found guilty of counterfeiting after producing the Liberty Dollar. His coins were used by many as an alternative to the Federal Reserve Note. At the end of his trial his actions were called, “A unique form of Domestic Terrorism”.

With Federal and Local governments discouraging use of alternative currencies, through fear and invasion of privacy, will this actually have the opposite effect? If the stores are required to take photos and finger print your precious metal exchanges, and the government believes you’re a domestic terrorist, where do you turn to?

More and more people have begun to study the ideas of Agorism, Counter-Economics, and community alternatives. The idea is if the dollar is losing value as metals are spiking, why not invest in metals and trade in them? The Houston Exchange Network is a forum where businesses who are willing to accept silver, barter or some other medium of exchange can connect.

Ideas like these are spreading globally, either as a reaction to economic conditions (the European Union) or to avoid a coming currency collapse (United States). If the State does not want you to use their “legal” route pursue exchange through so called Black and Gray Markets aka Agorism. These are peaceful solutions for underthrowing the Status Quo.


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