Editorial: Sensible liquor laws

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  • cachedout Centerville, UT
    Jan. 18, 2012 8:35 a.m.

    Outstanding! I look forward to tomorrow's editorial blasting the NRA and expressing support for heavy regulation of firearms in the interest of public safety.

    Wait, what?


  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Jan. 18, 2012 7:17 a.m.

    VoR says:

    "We are all free to believe what we want, even exercise those beliefs into practice. The 1st amendment was written to uphold this principle in law. HOWEVER, THE EXERCISE OF THAT FREEDOM CANNOT BE AT THE COST OF ANOTHER PERSONS FREEDOM."


    This is exactly what I meant VoR, you are not consistent. You state that "cannot be at the cost of another person's freedom", yet you work hard to DENY FREEDOM to glbt Americans because of your beliefs; and you justify that because it "takes away your freedom to be against ssm? (it doesn't actually)" - do you see the circular reasoning you use?

    Just as moderate drinking DOES NOT HARM anyone, you want to CONTROL the lives of others. The problem with "Sensible liquor laws" in Utah is that those making those "sensible" laws (Mormons) are using their religion to FORCE others to adhere to THEIR religious beliefs. How is that "not at the cost of another person's freedom"?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 16, 2012 9:54 p.m.

    On another thread, there are those demanding that the 2% of society who practice homosexual actively should have the laws changed to "protect" them from society's discrimination.

    Should those who drink to excess NOT be protected by society? Should their right to harm themselves and others be more important than our rights to be protected from them?

    If 2% can demand that our marriage laws be changed to accommodate them, that they adopt our children, that they dictate to the other 98% how to act and how to react, Should we not protect those who drink to excess?

    How would we do that? Having State owned liquor stores is one good step. It does not solve the problem, but it limits access to alcohol and it limits the hours that alcohol is available.

    Many (including some of my close relatives) are powerless to control their drinking. Many have begged others to intervene. Are we to turn a blind eye to their problem? Are they just cast-offs? Are they not important?

    Don't we (society) owe them a safe and sane place to be isolated from their addiction?

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 7:31 p.m.

    Voice if Reason

    Sorry that you missed the point. Re-read my post. Those killed by DUI are just one of the facts that justifies restrictions on alcohol. Another persons right to take intoxicants should be restricted when public health and safety is endangered.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 7:17 p.m.

    I ask everyone who gets atwist to me about drinking stats to tell me why they're not apoplectic about cigarettes. That'll get the excuses going.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Jan. 16, 2012 7:06 p.m.

    Yes Mike, those who drink to excess are out of control.

    I dont expect "an alcoholic to limit his drinking"

    They have a problem.

    Just like the pill head that abuses prescription drugs.
    Just like the psychopath that abuses a gun.
    Just like the gambler that cant quit.

    There are countless examples of people that abuse products that are otherwise reasonable to use.

    The vast vast majority don't drink to excess and cause no ill effects to themselves or society.

    Do we really want to ban everything that has negative consequences when abused?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 16, 2012 5:43 p.m.


    Aren't you being just a little bit "childish" when you expect an alcoholic to limit his drinking?

    "Limit your criticism to those who drink to excess" will not work, and you know it. You know that those who drink to excess are beyond self-control. You know that those who drink to excess think that they can handle a car in a school zone or on YOUR street. You know that those who drink to excess have had their judgment impaired to the point that THEY are incapable of making proper decisions.

    Why then, are you so willing to make the rest of us "victims" so that YOU can have a drink - at our expense?

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Jan. 16, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    Irresponsible drinking is wrong.

    Just like irresponsible gun ownership.

    We can totally disagree but having a glass of wine with dinner is not wrong at all.

    In fact, the ability to modify water and create wine is heralded as quite an accomplishment in some circles.

    Please limit your criticism to those who drink to excess and break the law.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 1:10 p.m.


    I travel as frequently as I can and have been to more places farther on this planet than most people I know. I've also been all over this country, about half the states and counting.

    Traveling doesn't define my beliefs, does it for you?


    I don't claim alcohol equals violence; however, I do claim that factually certain chemicals hinder your ability to reason the more you are subject yourself to them. This is something I doubt you'd disagree with.

    My claims are far more democratic though- My argument is that there a problem arouse, we restricted it. The problem gets worse, we restrict it more. Our being the lowest DUI-related death state to me justifies those restrictions. In a perfect world, I think it'd be illegal, but ONLY because a perfect society wouldn't want it (democratically). In a less perfect world, where people abuse it and others don't want it... we compromise. However, all law should lean towards life preservation before ease of drinking access.

    Do you disagree with any of these points?


    You only want facts? No religion? Set my LDS beliefs aside and look at people who've been killed. There is your fact.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    Your faulty syllogism is too obvious, e.g. There are those who oppose loose liquor laws. The LDS church opposes loose liquor laws, therefore it is a religious issue. Please come up with something that is factual. Do not insult those of us who think it is a public health and safety issue.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 8:31 a.m.

    If Utah was honest about it's drinking laws it would either ban it all together or open it up to the free market.

    The current regulations are silly and don't keep anyone from drinking. If I were closer to the border I'd buy it all out of state just to deprive Utah of the tax income.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Jan. 16, 2012 7:17 a.m.

    "Drinking is wrong and everyone knows it. "

    Patently false.

    The majority of people who drink do so responsibly.

    And there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with it.

    You may want to get out of Utah more.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 6:59 a.m.

    @A voice of reason
    Temperance with alcohol is the way to go. Drinking is NOT wrong. The Bible as a whole is pro drinking. Nowhere in the bible does it say Drinking is wrong.
    People use drugs and alcohol to justify their own behavior. One could say alcohol can make you violent, but then why can people have wine at dinner and not be violent? People use drugs and alcohol to excuse their behavior, until our society no longer allows that we will continue to make laws for the 1% of problem people, costing us our freedoms and tax dollars.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 12:55 a.m.

    You aren't my mom. Stop telling me what to do.

  • zardthebard Kearns, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 12:35 a.m.

    Hey I just want to be able to order odd drinks from all over the world. I was trying real hard one time to find amaretto at the liquor store. Found out you can custom order liquors over the phone or something, they have a list? Anyways it sounded like a racket...

    SO, here is my suggestion, lawmakers:

    Open up private sales by online mail-order utah-based businesses. -- This has all the benefits of private sales (prices, variety) and will not litter the city with cheap liquor shops, and will not increase the access to readily-available liquor. If someone wants that they go to the state liquor stores.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 11:43 p.m.


    By the exact same logic saying that alcohol isn't the problem- a nuclear weapon wouldn't be either. Which means that we all have a right to own one.


    Peaceful society where ALL citizens can live free trumps everything else. When citizens are abusing the use of something, you take it away. If someone is free and owns a gun and is reckless with it, endangering other people's lives, even killing them- you take the gun away. This isn't rocket science here. This is about as simple as arguments get. The 'drinking class' can argue it any which way they want- but their luxury can't replace lives.

    Drinking affects your ability to reason. Getting a high of some kind is one thing. But I don't condone people essentially turning their brain in 'off mode' while their bodies go wandering the streets with weapons, cars, and who knows what else.

    Getting a 'high' off something isn't a right. Freedom IS a right. And while drunks may ignore everyone else's rights- saying "don't punish the responsible", there is no such thing as responsible drinking (aka 'brain turned off' mode). That literally defines being irresponsible.

    Drinking is wrong and everyone knows it.

  • shaun_ SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 8:12 p.m.

    @Mike Richards. Im not under the influence and nothing is wrong with alcohol. It is easier to buy a gun in this state than to purchase alcohol.

    And by the way Alcohol doesn't kill people, people kill people.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 7:43 p.m.

    Ranch, I do believe that if drinking never harmed anyone it wouldn't be a concern. But where I know for a fact that drinking DOES harm people, then there is a problem.

    On another article someone compared my rational to religion to argue that I'm promoting non-essential government interference into our lives.

    Here is the problem with this argument. We are all free to believe what we want, even exercise those beliefs into practice. The 1st amendment was written to uphold this principle in law. However, the exercise of that freedom cannot be at the cost of another persons freedom. I used the example of a religion performing a human sacrifice. There is obviously a clear line to be drawn.

    People are free to drink whatever they want. But once that freedom starts killing people- our right to protect ourselves, even our lives, is paramount.

    I do not believe I am being inconsistent, but that you just don't have my complete opinion. Even if I am, my feelings and beliefs aren't any different- I simply may have not wording something very well. In either case, my ability to articulate consistently is irrelevant to the core principles I support.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 7:37 p.m.

    Your arguments in this editorial could be applied to a large number of activities. Admit it, the driving force behind this editorial is the stance of the Church on alcohol. You are using political arguments for a religious issue.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Jan. 15, 2012 7:05 p.m.

    "Someday the consumption of alcohol will be held with the same contempt that the public shows toward smoking."

    Wow Mike, do you really believe that? What is suddenly going to change?

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 5:55 p.m.

    Alcohol is the most dangerous drug according to medical studies. It is worse than heroin or cocaine because it not only may be a factor in cancer and other medical conditions, but as the article points out in devastating effects of the drinker's surroundings. When industrial alcohol was invented in England (gin) the rate of alcoholism tripled as it was so cheap. Yes raise the price and limit the availability as we have done in the past.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 4:20 p.m.

    "Sensible liquor laws" is the code for "let us sell more alcohol." It has nothing to do with common sense, it has to do with corporate profit. Recommendations regarding alcohol from the Centers for Disease control look very similar to Utah's current liquor laws if we would like to bring common sense into the conversation.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2012 2:52 p.m.

    Someday the consumption of alcohol will be held with the same contempt that the public shows toward smoking. Until then, people who are not already under the influence will agree that controlling the availability and sale of alcohol is necessary for the public good.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 1:42 p.m.

    VoR says;

    "Does someone have a right to ingest what they desire? Yes. Most of us agree with this. My belief in free agency supports this.

    Does that same right have priority over everyone else's freedom and right to live? No. Most of us, I hope, agree with this as well."


    Your arguments are often contradictory to previous arguments on other articles.

    In this case, you say "Does that same right have priority over everyone else's freedom and right to live? " and then answer; NO.

    But you refuse to concede that someone else's right to live their lives as they see fit where no harm to anyone is done.

    You need some consistency.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 12:35 p.m.

    It appears that it isn't going to get posted, but I had a great comment for this story.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 10:44 a.m.

    If everyone who wants alcohol can buy it then why does the government controlled sale prevent anyone from driving drunk?

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 10:31 a.m.


    "...the number of problem drinkers is so low we would ask why we are creating laws..."

    "We don't need laws made to address a few bad apples"


    Does someone have a right to ingest what they desire? Yes. Most of us agree with this. My belief in free agency supports this.

    Does that same right have priority over everyone else's freedom and right to live? No. Most of us, I hope, agree with this as well.

    Does someone's right to live have priority over others ingesting alcohol? Yes. I tend to think the right to life trumps the right to drink (Perhaps I'm crazy but I value a human life and everyone's freedom more than a an individuals freedom to drink a few beers).

    Logic- Irresponsible drinkers surfaced, then we created laws to restrict it in order to protect ourselves after the fact. People can still drink as much as they want in their own homes, but in public there are limits that have proven effective in reducing deaths.

    And to those 'anti-Utah "culture"' arguers, this state hardly stands alone on this topic. I've yet to hear even a single reasonable 'less restrictions in Utah' argument.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Jan. 15, 2012 10:16 a.m.

    How about a very detailed plan to help another very dangerous part of America that is driving on our roads?
    The public is in danger when many of them get behind the wheel. They are busy eating instead of watching the road! These people are dying at rapid rates and their children are right following them. Sanctions and laws need to be put into place in order to control this dangerous group. Limits should be established on purchasing certain foods in grocery stores, and in restaurants. None of the high caloric foods should be showcased on the television cooking programs! Advertisement of junk food should be curtailed. Obesity is out of control. It is imperative that equality of regulations and valuable laws are in place concerning all dangerous substances. Laws are now in place for alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. Food is the next frontier. If one dangerous substance is governed, it only correct to govern them all.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    The State is trying to control consumer consumption by limiting liquor licenses. Does that accomplish the goal? No.

    Limiting licenses turns away new businesses and jobs. That doesn't limit the consumer - they simply get their drink at an existing restaurant or bar.

    Liquor licenses should be unlimited. Consumption is controlled by exisiting laws governing alcohol service. Limiting business is a failed concept.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 9:32 a.m.


    Personal bad decisions to abuse alcohol are not something that can be controlled by store hours, price, location, or any other governmental action.

    Total prohibition was a colossal failure, and incremental restrictions do no better. Bans on sale of other abused substances also fail, proven by the availability and widespread abuse of marijuana and a host of worse drugs.

    Utah's low rate of alcohol abuse is unrelated to "the success of our alcohol laws" but rather to the good decisions by Utah citizens who mainly adhere to the "no alcohol" tenants of the predominate religion in the state.

    The state should not be involved in the sale and distribution of any legal product, period! Tax it or put age limits if you like, but leave the distribution and sale to private enterprise.

    If your approach to "ensure safety" by controlling alcohol is justified, then the state should also be in the automobile business, raising prices, limiting hours, preventing clustering of dealers and raising minimum ages of buyers, and not allowing big car companies or even private sellers to sell these death causing contraptions!

    A big governemnt knows best "nanny state" approach is just wrong, as well as ineffective.

  • shaun_ SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 8:37 a.m.

    Okay Deseret News tell me how mixing drinks behind a wall prevents over consumption?

    Tell me why I can't carry my drink to a table in a restaurant if I meet up with some friends at their table? Why does the server have to carry it? How does that prevent over consumption?

    Why can't I bring my child to the bar to eat and have a drink? How does that prevent over consumption.

    Why does the state place quotas on how many bar and restaurant licenses per the population? Do you want me to drive further to get to where I want to go?

    How many people consume alcohol in a responsible manner vs people who don't?

    Having one or two beers with dinner doesn't make a person drunk or even buzzed. In fact it doesn't even make them a bad person.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 8:11 a.m.

    The article state:
    "Even small decreases in alcohol prices can lead to significant overconsumption of alcohol among problem drinkers."

    Yet no where in the article does it say how many problem drinkers there are. This is because the number of problem drinkers is so low we would ask why we are creating laws because of so few individuals.

    We don't need laws made to address a few bad apples when the rest of us can manage.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 1:31 a.m.

    Re: "Sensible liquor laws"

    People wanting to drink should be free to do so -- so long as they and the industry promoting and profiting from it are made as fully responsible legally, as they have always been morally, for the predictable misery and carnage resulting from it.

    Unfortunately, the legislature is so deep into the pockets of the "hospitality" industry, it's unlikely to consider the best options to prevent the misery and slaughter of innocents.

    As its primary tool, the legislature should implement a long-overdue reform of Utah's lax dram-shop laws.

    Extending the reach of civil judgments to the whole "hospitality" industry, including brewers, distillers, and distributors, would incentivize responsible industry behavior and let entrepreneurial, out-of-the-box thinking -- by those with the clearest vision of the problem -- craft effective solutions.

    This plan has the virtue of halting a deranged immunization of cynical profiteers, sanctioning, not just the poor drunks created [and identified only after-the-fact] by the industry, but those organized clear thinkers best able to stop the carnage.