Secondhand gun dealers come out for public hearing

Carroll County Board of Commissioners, Public Hearing Chapter 112, Pawnbrokers and Secondhand Dealers, Thursday September 27, 2018.

The Board of County Commissioners, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and secondhand firearms dealers are hoping to change a regulation on record-keeping.

Their proposal would change it from one that requires all data to be sent through RAPID — the Regional Automated Property Database — to one where records are kept in whatever manner businesses prefer for three years and made available to law enforcement upon request.


“This basically ensures that the county and law enforcement have the best opportunity to trace and find stolen firearms,” said Carroll County Sportsmen’s Association President Matt Guilfoyle after the Sept. 27 hearing.

The change comes after the commissioners expressed concerns with requirements to use RAPID earlier this summer, and the effects the theft-monitoring system could have on the secondhand gun dealers in Carroll.

Secondhand firearms dealers are already required by the state to retain records of all transactions. But since September 2007, Carroll County has also required dealers to send all purchase records to local law enforcement by 10 a.m. the following day to check for stolen property. Pawnbrokers and other secondhand dealers are also subject to this requirement.

In 2015, at Sheriff Jim DeWees’ request, the county added a requirement for secondhand dealers to uniformly record their purchases in RAPID — a database with subscriptions that costs about $260 annually.

“It might not sound like a lot of money,” Guilfoyle said Thursday, “but it could take Ms.[Debbie] Wilhide from Taneytown months to make that money back. Profits from gun sales are down with President Trump, so every dollar makes a difference.”

Wilhide, co-owner of Taneytown gun shop Lock Stock & Barrel, and the Vosburgh family, owners of Westminster gun shop Brownstone Trading Company — two of the five Carroll County dealers — were present at the Sept. 27 meeting to show their support for the proposed changes.

The Lock Stock & Barrel owner said her main concern was her customers’ privacy.

“We weren’t thrilled about entering our customer’s information into another database,” Wilhide said. “And it was another thing our customers were concerned with.”

If someone buys a brand-new gun from her business and then wants to sell it back or consign it because they no longer want it, why do they need to put extensive personal information into a database, she asked.

“Do you want your information in a database for something you don’t even have anymore?”

And during Thursday’s public hearing, Matt Vosburgh said his issue was with the county’s interference in his family’s God-given rights.

“In today’s society, they are trying to get everyone to be politically correct. As leaders of this county, I hope you’ll throw that away and be biblically correct,” said Vosburgh, whose parents owns Brownstone Trading Company in Westminster. “[The Bible has] never been wrong in history. It has rules in it — it says never bear false witness, and to love your neighbor. I’m not seeing that from some of the people here.

“We do have God-given rights here and one is the pursuit of happiness,” he said. “I do feel that’s being infringed upon.”

Vosburgh recounted a story.


“ATF has spent months going through the records [at our shop],” he said. “By the time they were done, there [my mother] was baking them cookies and ATF gave her a hug before they left.

“I don’t know who has ever gotten a hug from ATF,” said Vosburgh, “They’re pretty serious. But these are salt of the earth people. [These regulations] will affect their livelihood and right to prosperity.”

His mother, Wilma Vosburgh, explained that she writes down information about each gun that comes into the shop and faxes it over to the Sheriff’s Office to make sure right away that it isn’t stolen.

“I know you were worried about paperwork,” she said to commissioners. “We[‘ve] had to keep that paperwork for 20 years.

“If we get a gun in, we fax it to the sheriff’s department,” Wilma Vosburgh said, “and that's what we’ve been doing for 30 years. Really it’s a way to keep guns out of criminal’s hands because they usually won’t come into a gun shop [to buy or sell a gun].”

Wilhide agreed.

“If you go to the city and meet the right people, maybe you could get a gun that way,” Wilhide said after the meeting, “but not here.”

Maj. Charles Rapp said although DeWees could not be present he wanted to share comments on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office.

“He wants to let you know that the sheriff, along with Commissioner [Richard] Rothschild, [R-District 4], and the gun dealers worked on this amendment together to come up with the language that would go into the amendment,” Rapp said. “He feels the language protects gun owners, dealers and the residents of Carroll County.

“The Sheriff’s Office will continue to work with the dealers to make sure this is efficient and safe for everyone involved,” he read.

Commissioners closed the public hearing, but are leaving the record open for 10 days for any additional comments to be submitted before moving forward with the amendment. Neither Commissioner Rothschild nor Doug Howard, R-District 5, were in attendance Thursday morning.