DARIEN, Conn. -- A Minnesota lawmaker has proposed lowering the drinking age to 18 and the New York Times recently ran a debate on the decades-old question , but Darien liquor store operators are split on whether it would be an effective step.
Jim and Pam Love of Glen Liquors believe the drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18, but say the most important thing would be to educate young people so that they don't endanger themselves or others.
"Teaching responsibility is very important in this matter," Jim Love said. Although stores such as Glen Liquors card customers who look underage, kids are still able to get their hands on alcohol and will often drink at parties and with friends, he said.
If kids were allowed to drink at a younger age, their parents could introduce them to alcohol and make sure that they're practicing responsible drinking habits, Love said.
"It's about being able to learn about alcohol and drinking before they leave the house to go off to college," he said.
"It's important to teach kids responsibility and social etiquette," Pam Love said. "If they are able to do it in Europe successfully, there's no reason we can't do it here."
Tim Smith of the Wineport of Darien said he did not have strong feelings one way or the other about whether the drinking age should be lowered. He acknowledged the old argument that if somebody is old enough to join the army when they're 18, they should be able to drink. But he said that he would enforce the law no matter what the drinking age is.
"We're very strict here. If we look at somebody and we have to think about it, then we're going to card them," Smith said. "But I think something like that should be decided by the voters."
Carolyn Doherty of Darien Liquor Shop said the drinking age should just stay where it is.
"They should just leave it at 21. Kids are going to find ways to drink anyway, I think it doesn't really matter," she said. "They could raise the drinking age and kids would still find ways to drink."
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