MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Out with the old, in with the new year, and new laws in Tennessee that take effect January 1, 2017. There are changes to driver’s license suspensions, gun laws, and beer laws.
Among the changes, those convicted of driving on a suspended license may be able to keep their licenses. The current law requires the courts to suspend those licenses. But next year, it'll be up to a judge.
When it comes to guns, the biggest change is cheaper permits for gun owners. Also, the age to get a gun permit will drop from 21 to 18-years-old. But that only applies to military folks. Gun enthusiasts are praising the new gun laws in Tennessee.
"A wonderful idea!" says Greg Richardson, the assistant manager of Classic Arms Gun Shop.
Business is steady at there, and Richardson believes once the new gun laws in Tennessee take effect, business will boom.
"Law abiding citizens who've thought about getting their permit before but thought that's too expensive, now it'll give them an opportunity to get it at a more affordable price,” says Richardson.
The cost of lifetime gun permits will be cheaper. Gun owners will no longer pay $500 to renew, they'll pay $200 starting January First.
"It helps tremendously!" says Richardson. "I'm very thankful that we have the lawmakers in Nashville that we have that are actually writing good laws."
The age to get a gun permit is also going down, from 21-years-old to 18, as long as the person is active duty military, retired, or honorably discharged. Richardson says this is the way it should be. "If they have the courage to go out and serve their country, then they should have the ability to be able to protect themselves."
Another change applies to a person who commits vehicular homicide where alcohol or drugs were involved. They will no longer be eligible for probation. There will also be stiffer penalties against anyone convicted of robbing a pharmacy to get controlled substances.
There’s also a major step forward for local beer makers. A new law in the state raises the alcohol by volume limit. This will allow restaurants and bars to serve stronger beer and serve more varieties.
Local pup owners tell Local 24 it's a win-win for bar owners and customers.
"So right now when a beer is over 6.2% alcohol by volume, our tax is significantly higher on it. We're paying liquor taxes,” says Jesse Keenan, the general manager at The Slider Inn in midtown Memphis. He says in 2017, "we're allowed to sell beer all the way up just above 10% alcohol by volume and not pay liquor taxes on them just pay sales tax."
The current Tennessee Law says businesses that sell beer, currently must pay a 25% liquor tax on beer with an alcohol by volume that's higher than 6.2%. Keenan says he can't afford to showcase many local beers because he can't afford it. The new law will change that.
"For a $6 draft beer, we would save about 50 cents per beer,” says Keenan.
Bar patrons welcome the new law. This means they won't have to pay higher prices for higher volume beer. Plus, they're looking forward to a bigger beer selection.
"More varieties, cheaper prices, keep things local,” says midtowner Marilyn Malone.
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