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It’s Time to Get Serious…About Alcohol

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

America, we are in a time of crisis. And, meaningful action must be taken before another life is lost. That time for action is now.

According to the World Health Organization, alcohol is responsible for nearly 4 percent of all deaths worldwide. In the United States alone, more than 24,500 people died in 2009 as a result of alcohol, excluding accidents and homicides. In 2010, 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S. were the result of alcohol, taking 10,228 lives.


Fellow Americans, something must be done. Too many lives have been lost because of alcohol. Innocent lives snuffed out because alcohol manufacturers and their powerful lobbyists have prevented us from taking necessary steps in rolling-back this so-called “freedom” of which our Founding Fathers never intended.

Yes, drinking alcohol is a “right,” but how far did our forefathers intend that right to be taken? Now, we have 1.5L bottles of 190-proof liquor. We have kegs of “high gravity” beer. We have 24-can cases. We have moved far beyond the original intent of the 21st Amendment.

Therefore, I propose the following “Alcohol Control Act of 2013” (ACA), which will once and for all protect us all from alcohol:

Outlaw High Capacity Cases: There is no constitutional or practical justification for high capacity cases of beer. The ACA will limit cases of beer to six-packs. No longer will people be able to show up to public places with unnecessarily large quantities of dangerous alcohol, allowing them to hand-out brews to people without having to reload the cooler.

Mandatory 72-hour Waiting Period on All Alcohol Purchases: The waiting period will prevent any individual from immediately walking into a store and leaving with alcohol. This waiting period will give individuals a chance to “cool down” before engaging in potentially fatal activities. Also, individuals will only be allowed to purchase two cases per month.

Close the Trader Joe Loophole: The “Trader Joe Loophole” allows millions of Americans to purchase dirt-cheap wine that otherwise would be unavailable in traditional retail stores. By closing the Trader Joe Loophole, cheap wine will be harder to access, and limit the fatal consequences of widespread wine abuse.


Beer Bottles/Cans May Have No More than One “Enhancement” Feature: The recent addition of enhancement features to beer containers over the last decade has made binge drinking more alluring for at-risk adults and minors. By limiting cans and bottles to just one feature (e.g., “vortex” necks, wide mouth openings, color-changing temperature indicators, secondary “tab”), we can effectively slow the rate of consumption of beer, and reduce levels of intoxication.

Ban Distilled Spirits: When our Founding Fathers had alcohol consumption in mind, they certainly did not intend distilled spirits with high proof levels. Distilled spirits only serve one purpose: rapid, more devastating levels of intoxication. Liquor and other spirits serve no practical purpose other than to destroy lives.

Background Checks/Fingerprinting of All Buyers: It is common sense that all purchasers of alcohol undergo extensive background checks to check for previous alcohol offenses. Additionally, if we fingerprint all individuals purchasing alcohol, we can trace empties back to them if left on the side of highways.

It’s time to get serious about alcohol. As a nation, we must ask what people “need,” versus what is good for the safety of the nation. Sure, tens of millions of Americans responsibly enjoy alcohol each day, but there are those among us who abuse the substance -- falling down, vomiting, ranting like loons well into the night. Clearly, what laws we have on the books now are not going far enough in protecting innocent, law-abiding citizens from these maniacs.


Yes, the source of many of these alcohol-related tragedies can likely be traced back to individuals suffering from addiction and other clinical problems. And, yes, studying the impact of physiological and mental illnesses on alcohol consumption may derive more effective prevention to alcohol-induced tragedies -- but, we don’t have time for that.

We need the psychological comfort of knowing that we did something, even if that something is completely ineffective at prevention. We must act now -- quickly, and without thinking. It’s what Congress is best at, after all.

The best policies (and, agencies) always are those that come from knee-jerk reactions on the backs of national tragedies. The Alcohol Control Act of 2013 may not be the meaningful action we deserve, but it is the meaningful action we need.

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