Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

February 4, 2009

Utah To Replace Private Club Booze With Big Brother Booze?

by Brad Warbiany

After’s first foray into the explanation of the idiocy of Utah’s blue laws, the Hit&Run blog has followed it up with Utah’s proposal to finally end the “Private Club” craziness that they put people through. But is the cure worse than the disease?

A plan to do away with Utah’s private club law and replace it with electronic identity checks has the backing of Utah bar owners.

But they’re troubled that the card scans could gather thousands of names and addresses of their patrons and dump them into a law-enforcement database.

Under his plan, everyone entering a club, whether they’re 21 or 101, would have to swipe their identification to verify it is genuine. The patron’s name, address, driver license number and date of birth would be logged into the database, along with the time and place they were drinking.

That information would be saved for somewhere between 10 days and 30 days — Valentine hasn’t decided yet — and then be purged.

Valentine said the scanning would help cut down on underage drinking and could give investigators a tool, if a patron leaves the bar and causes an accident, to show where and when the person was drinking.

It could also be used in traffic stops. If an officer suspected a driver might have been drinking, the officer could run the license and determine if the driver was coming from a bar.

Why stop at time and place they were drinking? Why not have it log each drink they buy? Perhaps those who drink “too much” can get be referred to the Mormon church — they’re undoubtedly in need of “saving”, are they not?

And how will this work for out-of-staters? Will these scanners be completely updated with all 50 states’ license barcodes (for those who have them)? Or is this just assuming that something like REAL ID will end up going through, and the figure they’ll have the data they need?

If this goes through, I might as well stop going to any bars with this requirement if I go to Utah. I’m just not willing to put myself through that. No Polygamy Porter for me, I guess…

Even worse? This proposed change hasn’t softened the anti-alcohol forces one bit:

Art Brown, president of the Salt Lake County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said he would like to see the card scans with the central database on top of the existing private club laws.

Wouldn’t it be nice if some of these folks simply came out and stated the true purpose? They want to bring back Prohibition.

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  • inDglass

    Here in Indiana, I get put into a database every time I buy cough syrup or pseudophedrine. The government keeps track of my colds. If I get sick too often, they might suspect I am using the medicine to produce meth. I imagine they could use it to get a warrant and bust my door down and search my house too.

  • Akston

    Make sure and cough on them when they do. Remember, the Fourth Amendment is nothing to sneeze at!

  • Aimee

    So in order to know if someone was leaving from a bar, the patron would have to swipe their card when leaving too? Like a drinking time card? Just because someone is intoxicated on the road does not mean they did it all at a bar.

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