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The Fourth Strike
In Joe Rodriguez’s article “Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix,” Rodriguez states that the new proposed legislation introduced by Senator Dede Alpert will make it “extremely difficult to close down retailers who consistently sell booze to minors.” I completely agree with Rodriguez’s point of view because it will make it easier for retailers to continue illegally selling their products to minors by allowing a “fourth strike.”
In California, the law allows the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to take any retailers license after “three strikes” of selling alcohol to minors in three years. The new proposed law would allow one of the strikes to be taken away if the retailers train their employees to “check IDs and install electronic scanners” to read IDs and spot fakes. I feel that this new proposed law is too forgiving since it gives this unofficial “fourth strike” for retailers to continue selling alcohol to minors. According to testimony given to the California Council, Alpert claimed this bill was a “prevention bill, however, I feel this is not even close to a prevention bill at all, but an undermining of local prevention efforts to alcohol enforcement groups.
One of the enforcement groups that will be undermined by the new bill would be the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. Prior to the proposed law, the ABC’s system consisted of under cover minors who “go into stores and try to buy booze.” Once they catch a retailer who sells them alcohol, they immediately report them to the ABC. I agree with this approach because it puts the majority of the blame on the clerks of the retailers who sell to minors. The retailers serve as the ones most responsible because they are selling to minors and in a way; they have the role of the adult to minors when it comes to selling alcohol to adolescents. During my junior year, I attended a birthday get together with a couple of my buddies. What started was a very jubilant party, then turned into a night run to the liquor store. I remember being embarrassed after my friends pulled off the alcohol run after the clerk let my friends go off with the alcohol without any hesitation. I recall thinking how irresponsible the clerk was to let a bunch of seventeen year old boys off with alcohol and the dangers that it could entail.
In 2000, California legislation passed the California Alcohol Control Act.
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Selling Alcoholic Beverages definitely is a privilege and “with it comes responsibility.” Clearly California has taken a step forward in trying to reinforce this fact with retailers. On June 26, 1998, Alpert’s bill was quickly rejected and in 2000, the CACA bill was passed to strengthen the original “three strikes” ruling. Retailers and clerks who bend the rules and take advantage of this responsibility deserve no future alcohol licenses, no future bargains, and definitely, no fourth strike.