Secondhand Dealer and Pawnbroker Unit

The Department of Justice (DOJ), Secondhand Dealer and Pawnbroker Unit was established in 1981 to provide information to local licensing agencies pursuant to California Business and Professions Code 21641 and Financial Code 21300. The regulation of secondhand dealers occurred subsequent to the passage of Chapter 499, Statutes of 1980 (Assembly Bill 2967), on January 1, 1981. The goal of the bill was to provide law enforcement agencies with a means to curtail the selling of stolen property and to facilitate its recovery by means of a uniform statewide, state administered secondhand dealer licensing and reporting program. Specific licensing and qualifying parameters for pawnbrokers occurred with the passage of Chapter 782, Statutes of 1993 (Senate Bill 399), which added Chapter 3, Licensure, to Division 8, Pawnbrokers of the Financial Code section on January 1, 1994.

Pursuant to Business and Professions Code, section 21641 and Financial Code section 21300, city/county licensing agencies have the responsibility to incorporate the Secondhand Dealer and Pawnbroker licensing process into their local programs. It is the responsibility of the local licensing agency to administer, maintain, and enforce state law regarding the secondhand dealer or pawnbroker licenses.

Persons, entities, or corporations wishing to conduct business as a secondhand dealer or pawnbroker, must first apply for a specific license to conduct such business with the local licensing agency (chief of police or sheriff) that is required to accept an application from any individual seeking a license within their jurisdiction.

Following the receipt of the requisite fees and results of the fingerprint-based criminal history background check, the DOJ Secondhand Dealer and Pawnbroker Unit provides the local licensing agency with the background check results and a license number. Upon receipt of any subsequent arrest and disposition information regarding a licensed secondhand dealer or pawnbroker, the Secondhand Dealer and Pawnbroker Unit will notify the respective local licensing agency.

Chapter 172, Statutes of 2012 (Assembly Bill 391), enacted August 17, 2012, mandates the DOJ to develop and implement a single, statewide, uniform electronic reporting system. With the implementation of the new system, the California Automated Pawn and Secondhand Dealer System (CAPSS), the enacted statute mandates licensed secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers use it to submit the requisite tangible personal property transaction information to the DOJ.

California Business and Professions Code, section 21626, defines a secondhand dealer.

California Financial Code, section 21000, defines a pawnbroker.