New Hampshire store rejects District resident’s license when he tries to buy alcohol

3864305116_e13ee8b9da_oOn July 4, inhabitants of the District of Columbia no doubt celebrated America’s 238th birthday with the same enthusiasm as the rest of the nation. Caught up in the holiday’s patriotism and pyrotechnics, it may have been easy for them to forget that, in ways large and small, their home isn’t fully a part of these United States.

They were reminded a day later when D.C. resident Travis Mitchell, aged 25, was denied alcohol at a New Hampshire grocery store because his District-issued driver’s license could not be considered legal proof of age under the state’s liquor law.

According to the Concord Monitor, the New Hampshire statute requires purchasers of alcoholic beverages to prove that they’re at least 21 by means of a driver’s license issued by any of the 50 states, among other forms of documentation. D.C., of course, is not a state.

While Mitchell was unperturbed by the grocery store’s strict interpretation of the law, he and his license reportedly had better luck at a neighboring purveyor. The rebuff he received generated enough ire to draw comment from New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, who directed the state liquor commission to look into the matter. Yesterday, the commission released a statement confirming that District-issued photo identification is, in fact, acceptable documentation when purchasing liquor in-state.

D.C. suffered another blow to its ego yesterday, despite the victory (so to speak) in New Hampshire, when another resident, reporter Justin Gray of the Cox Media Group, was briefly held up by the Transportation Security Administration at an airport in Orlando, Florida when an officer failed to recognize his Driver’s License as valid. The officer was reportedly unaware that the District of Columbia is, in fact, in the United States. Gray was allowed through airport security after a TSA supervisor cleared up the misunderstanding.

While these isolated incidents reflect bureaucratic incompetence instead of concrete attempts at marginalizing the District, more serious inequalities exist between Washingtonians and other American citizens, most notably that D.C. residents face federal taxation without representation.

Photo: Paul Kim via Flickr

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