Kansas AG’s race: Kobach backs lowering drinking age to 18

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Republican candidate Kris Kobach on Wednesday endorsed lowering Kansas’ legal drinking age to 18 and promised that if he’s elected attorney general this year, he will challenge the federal policy preventing such a move.

Kobach criticized a 1980s federal law that threatens states with the loss of highway dollars if their drinking ages are below 21. He said he believes the U.S. Supreme Court is now conservative enough that it would overturn that law and allow states to set their own policies.

The issue arose during a debate in Overland Park between Kobach and the other two GOP attorney general candidates, state Sen. Kellie Warren and former federal prosecutor Tony Mattivi. All three candidates support gun rights, and a viewer of the public television station livestreaming the debate asked whether the drinking age also should be 18 if people can buy guns at that age.

“When you’re 18 years old and you can vote — you can fight for this country — you should have all of the rights that other citizens enjoy,” Kobach said.

Both Warren and Mattivi said the issues are different because gun rights are protected by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment while there is no constitutional right to drink alcohol.


The headline has been corrected to note that Kobach backs lowering the drinking age to 18, not 21.