A small but needed step

Monday, March 26, 2007

A law approved by the Iowa House of Representatives, and being considered by the Iowa Senate, would require buyers of beer in kegs to register their purchases.

The law would enable officials to track individual kegs, and charge people who provide beer to minors.

The proposed law, which has been debated for more than four years, requires those buying kegs of beer to furnish identification. Retailers are required to keep a record of the purchase for 90 days. Identification tags would be affixed to each keg.

There has been concern about "Big Brother watching our every purchasing move," as House Minority Leader Chris Rants, R-Sioux City stated.

We don't think that beer purchases would be of much interest to law enforcement or others, unless there is an incident of illicit use.

Critics have also stated that the measure would not prevent underage drinking. That is true. This law does nothing to curb distribution of cans or bottles of beer to minors, and there will still be occasions when minors drink beer from kegs.

We cannot expect too much from the law, but it is still a step in the right direction.