Specific types of businesses that work with non-ferrous metals such as copper or aluminum are no longer required to get state permits to buy or sell the scraps under changes to the law that took effect Sunday.
The changes apply to contractors, home builders and gas, electric and plumbing services. Individuals still are required to obtain the permit.
The permit laws were enacted in August 2011 in an effort to deter thieves from selling copper stolen from air conditioners or metal manhole covers and street grates.
While the laws have helped slow the thefts, Jeff Moore of the S.C. Sheriffs' Association said the most recent changes were made to correct the unintended consequences they had for businesses.
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"It creates a better business environment for those who deal with metal and non-ferrous metals," Moore said. "Businesses that would have this material in the ordinary course of business -- contractors, repair people, electricians -- don't have to get the permit."
Businesses can still create internal rules that require customers or sellers to have permits, Moore said. The permits are available at the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office during regular business hours.
Moore said other changes extend the life of the permit from one to two years and bans buying or selling manhole covers and drainage grates.
Changes to state laws for demolishing vehicles also went into effect Sunday
Those who want to sell a car to be demolished must now provide one of four types of proof-of-ownership:
"We were having a rash of car thefts of people who would steal your car out of your driveway... take it directly to an auto demolisher and getting $500 bucks for the whole thing," Moore said. "By the time the transaction was done, the car was crushed."
Some auto demolishers would accept cars as "inoperable" simply because they didn't have a key, Moore said.
For vehicles sold with a DMV affidavit or a certificate of disposal, the demolisher must wait three days before crushing it. They also must run the vehicle's identification number and description through a national DMV stolen vehicle database.