Proposed law would ban alcohol sale at self-checkout - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Proposed law would ban alcohol sale at self-checkout

Tennessee lawmakers are working on yet another way to stop underage drinking. Tennessee lawmakers are working on yet another way to stop underage drinking.

(WMC-TV) - Tennessee lawmakers are working on yet another way to stop underage drinking.

If you buy beer at a grocery store in Tennessee, it could soon be illegal for you to do it at a self-checkout machine.

"If it would stop underage drinking, I would do away with automatic checkouts, period," says Fayette County Sheriff Bobby Riles.

Under a proposed House bill, no one, of any age, could purchase alcohol at a self checkout.  

State lawmakers hope this would do more to stop underage drinking.

One of the problems, they say, is the "shop and swap" method, where underage buyers put a six pack of beer on the weight and scan a six pack of soft drinks, thus tricking the system by not having to show ID.

"If there's a clerk standing there, there's a number of times I've been told clerks aren't there, and if that happens, they can go through there and check out anything they want to check out," Sheriff Riles adds.

Local law enforcement agents say no matter what laws are passed, it will still be up to store clerks to make sure nothing illegal is happening.  

"Yeah, the swapping, scanning Cokes and sitting them in the bagging area, tricking, but as long as the staff is there doing their job, this shouldn't be an issue," says clerk Lori Cherry.

Cherry says she always asks for ID, no matter the age.

"We actually have customers get mad because they have to go back out and get their ID but we have to see ID to be able to see alcohol," she continues.

The bill banning the sale of alcohol in self-checkout lanes is still working its way through the state legislature and hasn't been finalized.

House bill 3568 is sponsored by Rep. Bill Sanderson of Obion County and is co-sponsored by Sen. Mike Bell of East Tennessee.

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