Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

June 30, 2007

Ladies And Gentleman, We Have A Winner

by Doug Mataconis

The state receiving the award for the dumbest new law taking effect on July 1st is Tennessee:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Comer Wilson hasn’t had to show his ID to buy beer in a while. Maybe it’s the 66-year-old man’s long white beard.

Starting Sunday, gray hair won’t be good enough. Wilson and everyone else will be required to show identification before buying beer in Tennessee stores – no matter how old the buyer appears.

“It’s the stupidest law I ever heard of,” Wilson said. “You can see I’m over 21.”

Tennessee is the first state to make universal carding mandatory, says the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association. However, the law does not apply to beer sales in bars and restaurants, and it does not cover wine and liquor.

Supporters say it keeps grocery store and convenience store clerks from having to guess a customer’s age.

Because you never know when a bunch of Sixth graders who look remarkably like Korean War Veterans will walk into the local 7-11 and try to buy a six-pack of Budweiser.

As dumb as the law is, though, this comment from Tennessee’s Governor is even dumber:

Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen said it’s a good way to address the problems of underage drinking.

And the 63-year-old governor said he personally won’t mind the extra effort to buy beer.

“I’ll be very pleased when I’m carded, and in my mind I’ll just imagine it’s because I look so young,” he said.

Yea, you go with that Governor.

H/T: The Irish Trojan and Hit & Run

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  • Dark-Star

    As we techies would say, the Tennessee state government has experienced a ‘carbon-based system failure.’

    Now if only we could go to a store and replace it under warrenty…

  • http://zhartleygmail.com Zachary Hartley

    I think the law is quite sensible because the alternative is that clerks have to card people that “look” under a certain age, usualy somewhere between 28 and30. Inevitably somebody in their 20s forgets their ID and raises a big stink about having to have their ID and that they “are obviously over 21″. The real shortcoming to the law is that it doesn’t apply equally to all kinds of liquor.

    This is coming from somebody that once worked as a grocery store clerk in Tennessee and had to deal with this very problem every day I worked.

  • Fred

    Maybe so Zachary, but it’s quite insulting to someone who is double the required age to get carded. The same holds true for cigs. Could a clerk really be so stupid as to think a 36 yr old looks like a law-breaking 17 yr old?

  • Razorhack

    I don’t live in America – I live in Norway and we have quite strong carding laws. And they just don’t work if the basis of the law is to prohibit minors from drinking. A better law would actually be to punish those who buy alcohol to youngsters more strictly. That’s how most young people get their booze anyway.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    Zach,

    A sensible law would be to punish people who sell to underage consumers, and let the clerk make a judgement whether someone looks close enough to 21. If the clerk misjudges, they might get cited for it.

    What this does is remove any common sense or judgement from the process. If I’m a store clerk and a guy who obviously qualifies for the senior citizen discount doesn’t have his ID, I would think it’s just fine to sell him a six-pack. What this law does is make sure that even if I’m 100% sure someone is over 21, I cannot sell to them if they’re not carrying an ID.

  • http://hathor-sekhmet.blogspot.com VRB

    I guess that’s dumber that not being able to teach the theory of evolution, arresting college students for cohabitation and raiding a major hotel, because they sold bottled wine with dinner. Since I have left Tennessee, I don’t know what other dumb laws they have passed and enforced since the seventies.

  • http://zhartleygmail.com Zachary Hartley

    Brad,

    Actually, they already have laws punishing people who sell to underage consumers. This law is to remove the possibility that a clerk can make an error. This way if a clerk doesn’t ID they are cleaerly at fault and not there’s no murky “they looked old enough” excuse.

  • Ken Dall

    Who is dumber then a 5th grader? Tennessee Law Makers and Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen

    1. Starting July 01, 2007, Everyone will be required to

    show identification before buying beer in Tennessee

    stores, no matter how old the buyer appears.

    Tennessee is the first state to make such a stupid law that

    will not work.

    But the new law does not apply to beer sales in bars and

    restaurants, and it does not cover wine and liquor, which

    have a higher alcohol content.

    2. Taxes on cigarettes increase from 10 mills to 3 cents on each

    cigarette; requires that all cigarette tax revenue be deposited into
    the general fund. Who’s pocket is that!

    What the Tennessee people need to know is the state is double taxing you and that is illegal.

    2A. Tennessee will ban most smoking in workplaces, including restaurants.
    That is discrimination and ordering company how to run their business,
    which is not Tennessee Law Makers business.

    3. Tennessee reduces state sales tax from 6 percent to 5 1/2 on certain foods
    and food ingredients intended for human consumption.
    That helps no body.

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