Sioux Falls, S.D. - The city of Sioux Falls is looking to "cleanup" the wording of a city ordinance that can help local police find stolen guns.
The city's action is in response to a change in state law that prohibits local governments from making the final decision on gun purchases.
For years Sioux Falls pawn shops have cross checked guns brought into their shop with a database to make sure the guns aren't stolen.
“We in the last five years have run, I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 million articles through the system,” Sioux Falls Police Department Captain Blain Larsen said.
If you've tried to buy or sell anything with a serial number at a Sioux Falls pawn shop over the last several years, chances are that serial number has been run through an online system called 'LeadsOnline'.
“They enter the serial number,” Larsen said. “Generally 7 to 10 days later we will then get a hit and tell us if that item was a stolen item.”
“The registry is a good thing because it keeps everybody honest,” 1st Cash and Exchange sales worker Kyle Andersen said. “The tough thing too is a lot of criminals know that if it is stolen, don’t come to a pawn shop.”
This past march, Governor Noem signed a bill into law clarifying that local agencies and governments can't restrict or prohibit the sale, purchase or licensing of firearms.
Many wondered if Sioux Falls pawn shops would be able to continue their 'LeadsOnline' cross checks for guns.
“So what we've done is some clean up in the language,” Larsen said.
The proposed change will eliminate the words "gun dealer" and changes it to any second hand dealer that sells items with a serial number, including everything from e-bikes to musical instruments.
“It’s definitely a good thing to have,” Andersen said. “Especially with firearms, we'd like to see more. We have no problem with abiding by it by any means. I mean it definitely a good thing. It gets stolen items off the street.”
In just the last three years, more than 15,000 guns have been purchased or sold by second hand dealers in Sioux Falls.
Of those guns, 18 were stolen and returned because of this cross check system.
“18 is 18 guns we're getting off the streets and getting back to their rightful owners,” Larsen said. “At the end of the day it’s what we are trying to do here.”
Sioux Falls city councilor Greg Neitzert said he's hopeful this change will be enough to comply with the new state law and allow the cross checks for stolen guns to continue.
But, he admits it's possible the state could sue the city because even with a change in wording, the cross checks for guns could still be a technical violation of state law.
Tuesday night the Sioux Falls city council will consider a second reading of the proposal to change the wording of that city ordinance.