Lower age to 18

Chris Klepch, Opinions Columnist

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.

There are many responsibilities given at the age of 18. Why can’t the right to enter bars be one of them?

Why is it that one can enlist in the military at 17 years old, emancipate at 16 years old per Iowa law, but not be able to go to the bar past 10 p.m.?

In Iowa City, you must be 21 years old or older to enter a bar after 10 p.m. However, those who are underage will find ways around this law. A popular method is to turn to websites or people to order identity forgeries – fake IDs – to get past a bar’s bouncer. This has turned into a silly arms race of bars utilizing ID scanners and students buying fake IDs with scanning capabilities.

When an age restriction is put in place, it potentially incentivizes those who wish to enter a bar to seek ways inside. There is a thrill given to illegal entry. That, combined with social pressures induced on younger people, can be a potential for early alcohol abuse. Ironically, higher age limits make entry into bar establishments “cooler.”

Venues that typically only allow individuals 21 or older make exceptions to allow for performers who are underage to enter.

People should have the freedom to enter bars at the same approximate age that they arrive at college. Understanding and evaluating risks that we take is more important than constraining entry to an arbitrary age limit that gets ignored anyway.