By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream â€“ but how many people consider the possible criminal backgrounds of the ice cream truck drivers bringing that delicious treat to screaming kids waitingÂ by the side of the roadÂ on hot summer days?
Apparently lawmakers in Tennessee do, according to a story in The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, TN, enough to decide to spend the summer studying whether neighborhood ice cream truck drivers in the state should undergo background checks to weed out sex offenders who could prey on children, and how these background checks should be run.
According to the article, a summer study committee will work out matters regarding the proposed legislation such as who should pay for the background checks, who should conduct the background checks, and penalties for violations.
One state representative, a former county sheriff, was quoted in the article as saying that background checks were needed because some of the people on ice cream trucks were pedophiles and driving an ice cream truck was â€œa great way for them to be around kids.â€
Other committee members argued current law already deals with â€œthe threat of sex offenders driving ice cream trucks through neighborhoods while playing nursery rhymes or children’s jingles,â€ the Commercial Appeal reported, since sex offenders are required to register with local law enforcement officials when they move into a neighborhood.
According to the Commercial Appeal, Tennessee state law states it is a violation for sex offenders to â€œengage in employment, a profession, occupation or vocation, regardless of whether compensation is received, that the offender knows or should know will cause the offender to be in direct and unsupervised contact with a minor.â€
Violation of the law is punishable by nearlyÂ one year in jail and a fineÂ up to $2,500.