Boulder Police Chief: Allow 18-Year-Olds to Drink

John C. Ensslin wrote a story for the March 6 Rocky Mountain News that describes some of the views of Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner regarding the drinking age. Ensslin reports:

“… I can say in summary that in addition to personal philosophical arguments (they are considered adults in every other way), I believe that the level of drinking between the ages of 18 to 21 has actually increased over the last 20 years,” Beckner wrote [in a letter to City Council members].

“All of the efforts we have tried to implement over the years, including education, awareness programs, heavy enforcement, etc., have had little effect on preventing 18- to 20-year-old adults from drinking.

“What we’ve done is helped create an underground culture that encourages binge drinking without any oversight or supervision.”

Ensslin wrote a follow-up article further explaining Beckner’s views:

Beckner stressed that his department is not backing off enforcement of existing laws.

Nor is he suggesting lawmakers simply lower the drinking age without taking steps to encourage responsible drinking.

For example, Beckner said the law could require an 18-year-old to attend a mandatory alcohol awareness class to earn the right to drink.

He suggested that perhaps the law could allow 18- to 21- year-olds to drink in a restaurant but not buy alcohol from package stores.

Any change would have to come on a national level, he said.

I have long favored setting the drinking age at the age of legal adulthood, which is 18 in our society. It’s not right that a person can get married, have children, sign contracts, and fight in war — but not buy a beer.

Following are three articles I’ve written about the matter previously:

Dempsey Challenges Unreasonable Alcohol Laws
Fight Colorado’s Discriminatory Drinking Age Law
Miles Supports Lower Drinking Age