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State Agency Wants Bar Entry Age Raised to 21

"I don't think taking away the ability for 19 year olds to go would make it any more or less dangerous," said University of Illinois freshman Christina Oehler.

Instead Oehler said it will create other problems.

"I think it would just, you know, move it to a different outlet of where kids would party," she added.

Illinois Liquor Control Commissioners say this could be true, but they are still pushing for local communities, especially college towns, to raise the bar age from 19 to 21.

"People who say that if you raise it to 21 then the 19 and 20 year olds are going to are going to drink somewhere else... and that that's a lesser controlled drinking. I don't know of any studies that show any of that on either side," said Illinois Liquor Control Commissioner Donald O'Connell.

City officials disagree, and say that bars offer more than alcohol for those under 21.

"Legally, they cannot drink. and in a bar, they cannot drink, but they can buy a soda pop or play darts or watch TV or dance or listen to a band," said Don Gerard, Champaign mayor.

Mayor Gerard says it's more difficult to enforce underage drinking laws when it occurs in private residences than in bars.

"From an enforcement standpoint, you'd really rather have them out with their fellow students where, you know, technically, you can keep an eye on them, so to speak," Gerard said.

In the end, O'Connell said it's less about control and all about safety.

"I don't think that anybody's looking to totally control a population, but to make it as safe as possible and to decrease alcoholism is certainly the goal," O'Connell said.

ABC NewsChannel 15's Kim Shine reports.