Hartford Lawmakers Discuss Solutions to Nightclub Violence

By Ari Mason and Jeff Saperstone
|  Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013  |  Updated 7:35 PM EDT
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State lawmakers held a hearing Tuesday to find ways to reduce violence at night clubs.

State lawmakers held a hearing Tuesday to find ways to reduce violence at night clubs.

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State lawmakers are considering a proposal that would ban minors from nightclubs in light of a recent spike in violence, much of which has been linked to underage patrons.

It comes in the wake of two fatal shootings that closed down Up or On the Rocks in Hartford in August. Since then, concern has grown about whether 18-year-olds should be allowed to enter. While they aren’t technically allowed to drink, alcohol is still present, and some say this has been a recipe for disaster.

“For some reason, clubs that allow 18-year-olds under the legal drinking age with those who can drink have created an inordinate amount of problems in the downtown area,” said State Rep. Matt Ritter at a hearing on Tuesday.

Ritter met with other Hartford legislators, city officials and members of the Department of Consumer Protection to brainstorm possible solutions to these problems. Some such proposals include changing the minimum age of nightclub patrons and requiring clubs to ramp up security.

“As a capitol city, we want to be an entertainment place, but we have a responsibility to the families, to the youth and to the public, to keep them safe,” said Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.

Hartford police also said they haven’t always been made aware of “juice bar” events when facilities open their doors to guests ages 18 and older.

Up or On the Rocks did not return a request for comment.

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