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Republican candidate Kris Kobach on Wednesday endorsed lowering the legal drinking age in Kansas to 18 and promised that if elected attorney general this year, he would challenge federal policy preventing such a move.
Kobach criticized a 1980s federal law that threatens states with losing highway dollars if their drinking age is under 21. He said he thinks the U.S. Supreme Court is now conservative enough to strike down 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 channel broadcasting the debate live asked whether the drinking age should also be 18 if people could buy guns at that age.
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“When you’re 18 and you can vote – you can fight for this country – you should have all the rights that other citizens have,” Kobach said.
Both Warren and Mattivi said the issues are different because gun rights are protected by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution while there is no constitutional right to drink alcohol.
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