Mandatory Alcohol Carding a Success?

By Megan Trent

October 19, 2010 Updated Oct 19, 2010 at 7:06 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Must be 21 to enter. We've all seen the signs posted on the doors and windows of liquor stores, but has the mandatory carding law really reduced the number of minors purchasing alcohol?

According to one Fort Wayne retailer - so far, so good.

It's been less than three months since a mandatory carding law went into effect. Liquor store employees are now required to see identification from every customer, regardless of age. If the don't, they could face a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. That only applies at off-premise retailers where you can "carry out" your alcohol - not bars or restaurants.

So far, it appears the law may be working.

Gary Gardner is the Operations Manager at Belmont Beverage in Fort Wayne. He says, "Many young people try to buy before they're 21 years old. Call it a right of passage, if that's the proper term. So, it's a game you play. You try to send in the oldest looking person and hope that you can get away with it. But you've stopped that. They're not coming in anymore. They're not even trying anymore. We're sending less people out, because they're not even coming in the door."

What about a 90 year old woman that is forced to prove she's of legal drinking age before buying a bottle of wine? Like it not, it's the law.

Some Indiana lawmakers have talked about changing the law so that people who are obviously of age, like senior citizens, don't have to show I.D. A bill has been introduced in the State Senate that would change the law to require identification from anyone suspected of being under the age of 40.

Gardner says the law has been a huge success at reducing the number of minors attempting to purchase alcohol, and he doesn't think the changes are necessary.

"You need it to get on an airplane anymore. You need it to vote initially - I don't think you need it after that. But you've got to prove who you are all the time. So, it's really kind of silly and you will find that you can go to any of our stores at any time and I'm sure our competitors as well, and nobody has a problem with this. Very few people people have a problem with it," says Gardner.

He says people are already learning to get their identification out automatically and that more people will continue to adapt as time goes on.

Gardner has had some older customers threaten to go elsewhere because of the carding law, but he says they always come back because the law requires that any other place require the exact same thing.

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