Boulder City Council says bars are responsible for drunk patrons

September 29th, 2012 by Brian T. Schwartz Categories: Opinion Editorials, Publications No Responses
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This was printed in the Boulder Daily Camera on August 2012.

What scares the Boulder City Council? That some Boulder businesses become secure in their right to sell legal products without asking permission from city authorities. Dear Council members: The permission to sell or serve alcohol is not rightfully yours to give. The purpose of government is to protect our rights to voluntary exchange, not violate them. But the Council acts like overlords who own the land within city limits. It has no such claim.

The Council also wants to target bars that it calls “bad operators.” City Council: This is not your business – literally. If an establishment wants a reputation for drunk, rowdy customers who vomit on other patrons, that’s the owner’s right. Alternatively, the owner can hire servers who stop serving drunken customers and trained bouncers who remove troublesome patrons.

Contrary to the Council, business owners are not responsible for keeping customers sober and well-behaved. Nor is government responsible. That’s each person’s responsibility.

Government should be involved only if an establishment violates someone’s rights or if patrons harm or endanger others. For example, assault or reckless driving.

Instead of using government force to address alcohol abuse, Council Members and concerned citizens should support non-profits like the Gordie Foundation. Dedicated to the memory of a CU student, it is committed to reducing “hazardous drinking and hazing and promot[ing] peer intervention among young adults.”