Ohio gold, silver dealers' law blocked by judge

By By JULIE CARR SMYTH

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that an Ohio law aimed at curbing gold- and silver-related theft by barring precious metals dealers from advertising without a license is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson in Columbus ordered the Ohio Department of Commerce late Wednesday to stop enforcing the Precious Metals Dealers Act. The disputed law set a framework for regulating gold, silver and precious metals dealers, including coin dealers.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law brought the suit on behalf of Liberty Coins, of Delaware. It was threatened with closure for refusing to pay fines and obtain a license to advertise.

Watson said advertising your business classifies as speech protected by the First Amendment.

Commerce Director David Goodman urged consumers to be vigilant as the state considers its next step.

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