California lawmakers passed AB 2486 this past August, a bill that put alcohol providers at risk for lawsuit if their actions indirectly lead to injury or death.
Under this law, there is no distinction between buying alcohol for an adult or for a minor. An alcohol provider is equally responsible for an intoxicated 20 year-old causing vehicular manslaughter, as they are for a 16 year-old in the same situation.
This lack of distinction is something that we feel undermines the integrity of legal adulthood. By increasing the responsibility of the buyer past the point of their control, the bill reassigns blame unfairly.
The intention of this law is to dissuade those 21 and older from providing alcohol to minors. A spokesperson for the Governor even cites the bill as a way to protect children and underage youth from alcohol. But in reality, intoxicated children are not the problem.
Intoxicated 18- to 20-year-olds, however, are an issue. It is their 21 and older peers who will be most unfairly affected by this law.
We do not argue with the illegality of providing alcohol to minors. But if there is anything the buyer is responsible for, it is only that.
What happens after the alcohol is consumed should be the responsibility of the adult who is drinking. To make anyone else liable reduces the value of his or her legal adulthood.
We believe that the law should be amended to remove the liability of alcohol-providers for the actions of other adults. With the law the way it is, California will allow the unfair prosecution of young adults for the actions of their peers.