Drinking age proposal too limited

Lowering the age limit for just bars and restaurants will not do enough to curb binging.

Ronald Dixon

Phyllis Kahn, the DFL House representative from Minneapolis, recently introduced legislation to lower the drinking age to 18 in Minnesota bars and restaurants. Kahn’s proposal, which she has made in previous legislative sessions, appears to be a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough.

Why should we stop at bars and restaurants? Why should young adults lack the capacity to purchase alcohol at liquor stores?

The primary justification for lowering the drinking age to 18 is that it would reduce the incentive to binge drink. If young adults temporarily have the opportunity to consume alcohol, and if they are cognizant of the fact that they will (more than likely) be unable to obtain alcohol for a long while after a given occasion, then they may take advantage of the access to alcohol and consume too much.

This same rationale, however, also seems to apply as a counter-argument to Kahn’s bill. If young adults can only drink at restaurants or bars, then they may get drunk. If they are going to get intoxicated, wouldn’t we rather see this happen in the comfort and security of their own homes, as opposed to in a public emporium, where they may cause a ruckus, land a DUI or, much worse, kill someone while trying to drive home?

Kahn, who politically represents a large chunk of the University of Minnesota area, more than likely realizes that college partying is a problem, but this well-intentioned law may do more harm than good. Instead of providing limiting alcohol rights to young people, they should be able to purchase liquor any time.