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Time to lift the ban on Sunday alcohol sales

By Scott Tibbs, November 19, 2008

The Herald-Times reports the results of a poll showing that Hoosiers are warming to the idea of lifting the ban on selling alcohol on Sundays. It will be interesting to see if this proposal has more momentum in the "long" legislative session next year. I suspect if Governor Daniels makes this a priority, it will probably pass. There are few convincing arguments for keeping the ban, but Hoosiers are a conservative bunch and not likely to embrace change.

It's long past time for the ban to go away, though. it is an unnecessary restriction on the free market, on the ability of grocery stores to do business and on the ability of consumers to schedule their shopping when it is most convenient. From the standpoint of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government, there is little reason to keep the ban. There are neo-prohibitionists who support the ban based on a belief that drinking is sinful, but that belief is not founded in Scripture.

One of the strongest voices for the ban is, ironically, package liquor stores. They often oppose the ban because the costs of keeping the store open for an additional day would negate any additional sales. The problem with this argument as applied to state law is that it basically amounts to government catering to special interests by restricting the freedom of everyone else. Allowing the free market to work always harms some businesses and hurts others as consumers make choices. Consumer choice should determine who benefits, not politicians.

Any argument that Sunday should be treated as special by banning alcohol sales is negated by the fact that people can purchase alcohol by the drink at restaurants, bars and sporting events. Furthermore, people can have a beer while watching a football, basketball or baseball game on television on Sunday - the beer will just have to be purchased prior to that day. It is long past time for the legislature to treat us like adults by repealing these "blue laws".