Archive for April, 2011

Glenn Reynolds in WSJ: Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Drink

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

University of Tennessee law professor and Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds has published a persuasive commentary in today’s Wall Street Joural on Alaska State Rep. Bob Lynn’s latest proposal to lower the drinking age to 18 for members of the military. Reynolds wrote:

Defenders of the status quo claim that highway deaths have fallen since the drinking age was raised to 21 from 18, but those claims obscure the fact that this decline merely continued a trend that was already present before the drinking age changed—and one that involved every age group, not merely those 18-21. Research by economist Jeffrey A. Miron and lawyer Elina Tetelbaum indicates that a drinking age of 21 doesn’t save lives but does promote binge drinking and contempt for the law.

Safety is the excuse, but what is really going on here is something more like prohibition. A nation that cares about freedom—and that has already learned that prohibition was a failure—should know better.

Reynolds then goes on to make the political argument for Legal Age 18:

Republicans are supposed to stand for limited government, freedom and federalism, but it was under a Republican administration—and a Republican transportation secretary, Elizabeth Dole—that states were forced to raise their age limits or face financial penalties. That was before the tea party, though. Perhaps today, when Republican leaders across the board are singing the praises of limited government, it is time for them to put their money where their mouths are and support an end to the federal drinking-age mandate.

Read the rest of his commentary here.

AK State Rep. Proposes Lower Drinking Age for Troops

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Alaska State Rep. Bob Lynn has proposed a bill that would allow military members under the age of 21 to drink while on base in his state.

“It’s outrageous that a member of our military can be subjected to the horrors of war, but can’t legally have a beer or smoke a cigarette,” he wrote on his blog last week.

As Aliyah Shahid reported in the New York Daily News, “Defense Department rules mandate that all U.S. military facilities follow the 21 drinking age, but U.S. bases abroad can drop their drinking age as low as 18 based on the host country’s laws.” Lynn’s proposal would change the drinking age for service members in his state.

Read the full report here.

Update: The full text of Rep. Lynn’s press release is below.

Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage) has sponsored HB 210, a bill that would enable all active duty warriors in our U.S. Armed Forces to be treated as adults.  HB 210 permits active duty service members under age 21 to consume alcoholic beverages and use tobacco products in Alaska.

“Alaska has more residents in the military per capita than any other state, and we have the second highest number of veterans,” Lynn said.  “We should be leading the way when it comes to military and veteran-friendly policies, but once again federal overreach precludes us from pursuing common sense solutions at the state level.”  The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to govern state alcohol policies, but has managed to enforce a nationwide legal drinking age of 21 by threatening to withhold federal highway funds.

According to Rep. Lynn, “Alaska cannot be a ‘laboratory for democracy’ if we allow ourselves to be bought off by federal dollars every time our policy preferences conflict with the busy bodies in D.C.”

“I’ve decided to draw the line at treating our brave servicemen and women as adults.  I think they deserve it, and I hope Alaskans will stand with me against the heavy hand of Washington.”

You can download a copy in PDF here.