More thoughts on Sunday sales

A study is being passed around at the Capitol that supposedly shows an increase in DUI’s and fatal automobile crashes:

The first study, published in the online version of the American Journal of Public Health, found a 29 percent increase in alcohol-related crashes and a 42 percent increase in alcohol-related crash (ARC) fatalities on Sundays since New Mexico lifted its ban on Sunday sales of packaged alcohol.

The second study, published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, found the impacts of legalized Sunday alcohol sales varied greatly by county, with one county experiencing a two-fold increase in alcohol-related crashes once the ban was lifted. When the statewide ban was lifted in 1995, New Mexico’s legislation gave local jurisdictions the option of holding elections to disallow Sunday sales in their community. Three communities reinstituted the ban on Sunday sales immediately after the statewide ban was lifted. The jump in Sunday alcohol-related crash rates that was observed statewide was eliminated in the counties occupied by these three communities. The study also found that counties with older populations suffered a greater negative impact from legalized Sunday alcohol sales.

Legalizing sales on Sunday is no different than any other day. Alcohol can potentially kill anyone on any day of the week, pointing out statistics for one day is pointless. The risk is there at any point in time. If that is the argument, then sales should be banned at all times.

Another study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows the following:

Many states have repealed these laws in recent years, raising the opportunity cost of religious participation. We construct a model which predicts, under fairly general conditions, that allowing retail activity on Sundays will lower attendance levels but may increase or decrease religious donations. We then use a variety of datasets to show that when a state repeals its blue laws religious attendance falls, and that church donations and spending fall as well. These results do not seem to be driven by declines in religiosity prior to the law change, nor do we see comparable declines in membership or giving to nonreligious organizations after a state repeals its laws. We then assess the effects of changes in these laws on drinking and drug use behavior in the NLSY. We find that repealing blue laws leads to an increase in drinking and drug use, and that this increase is found only among the initially religious individuals who were affected by the blue laws.

That’s interesting and ironic.

If the repeal of blue laws were really causing a significant increase in public endangerment, states would be trying to put them back in place. Currently only three states still use the puritanical laws (Georgia, Indiana and Connecticut).

I am glad to see that the legislation was introduced (SB 26) and I agree with State Senator Preston Smith, it is a matter of less government. Not religion or about buying alcohol on Saturday.

If Republicans in the State Senate truly believe in less government, personal responsibility and the free market…then they’d allow the voters to decide whether they want Sunday sales.

29 comments

  1. Bill Simon says:

    It is not only a “less government” initiative, but IF repealing such laws causes more morons to drink and slam their car into a telephone pole while driving on Sunday, I call it weeding out the gene pool. A sort of applied Darwinism, if you will…

  2. Rusty says:

    If that is the argument, then sales should be banned at all times.

    They already tried that once, with disastrous results (alcohol prohibition = mob sells alcohol instead of legitimate businesses). They’re still trying that approach with drugs and for some reason expect the results to be different.

  3. Calybos1 says:

    The fact remains that singling out Sunday is pretty obviously a religion-motivated law, which has no place in our Constitutional framework.

    The practical consequences of selling alcohol AT ALL are something society has apparently decided to live with, so the No Sundays rule has no justification.

  4. Old School Politics says:

    Even the head of the Georgia Alcohol Dealers Association says his association is against this measure because they want their employees to have one day a week to spend with their families. Is there anything wrong with being able to rest on Sunday without booze. This whole less government BS is only a cop out. The real issue is the grocery stores and beer and wine industry want to increase sales. It has nothing to do with less government and everything to do with the industry making more money. There are two issues at the root of this issue 1) SPIRITUAL 2) FINANCIAL

    All this other garbage is being thrown out to make the people that are behind this be able to sleep at night.

  5. Bill Simon says:

    Old School,

    But, there is no “day without booze.” Restaurants and bars are allowed to sell beer, wine, and liquor.

    And, if you think it is “only by the drink,” then you’ve never been in a sports bar where pitchers of beer have a higher distribution on the tables than forks.

  6. Old School Politics says:

    If you want to try and argue all the logistics of the current Sunday alcohol sales in Georgia I know I will loose. My argument makes absolutely no rational sense by the peach pundit standard. I cant back it up with statistics. I cant call on talking heads from around the nation to help me explain my position. I cant prove through science why we don need Sunday Sales if alcohol. I guess the best way I can explain it is, I am against Sunday Sales.

    Thats right! You all heard it. My argument by your standards and research makes no sense. I dont expect you to understand why I oppose this issue. However, for a certain few remant here in this state we oppose Sunday Sales. Sorry its old fashion and not popular. Sorry I dont have stats to throw at you and data to explain my position.

  7. jsm says:

    “but IF repealing such laws causes more morons to drink and slam their car into a telephone pole while driving on Sunday, I call it weeding out the gene pool.”

    Bill, it may be your car that the moron runs into, maiming or killing you.

    I’m for smaller government, and I oppose blue laws. However, if these studies are valid, I think they deserve some thought. There may be other measures government can take, such as tougher punishments for DUI, that could address the issue in an effort to protect citizens. As I see it, blue laws prohibit an innocent act in the name of protecting people. I think we should rather crack down on irresponsible actions, such as driving drunk, that are the real problems.

  8. Mike says:

    hey Old School(great movie by the way),

    I generally do my grocery shopping on Sunday. It’s ludicrous that I have to make another trip if I want to grab a bottle of wine or a sixer of Sam Adams.

    I fully understand why you oppose Sunday sales. You and your ilk enjoy imposing your values on others that do not share them.

  9. Mike says:

    “Dammit jsm, there’s no time to argue! We need that repeal NOW!!” Oh wait…..I’m getting my threads a little mixed up.

  10. Bill Simon says:

    JSM,

    I take that risk every time I drive my car, regardless of the day or time I drive it.

    Just because liquor stores are closed on Sunday, you think alcoholics have stopped drinking and driving?

  11. Mike Hauncho says:

    Mike,

    This is not the wild west and the store is not 30 miles away. If you cant spare 5 minutes to swing into a gas station the other 6 days a week a buy your six pack then you probably dont have the time to drink in the first place.

  12. jsm says:

    Bill, did you read the last two sentences of my previous post? I’m trying to show that we should focus on the problem (DUI) rather than draw the line way to the safe side (blue laws) to protect people from themselves. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. I think some lawmakers are supporting blue laws to avoid having to address the problem.

  13. rugby_fan says:

    Old School Politics, are you opposed to the consumption, or sale of alcohol?

    Can you tell me why it is immoral to come into the possession of alcohol but then actually drinking it is acceptable?

    “This whole less government BS” good to know where you stand.

  14. rugby_fan says:

    “They’re still trying that approach with drugs and for some reason expect the results to be different.”

    erm, yes, there is reason to expect something to be different (and perhaps even a justification for doing so) because illicit drugs have far greater consequences than alcohol.

  15. Mike Hauncho says:

    Bill,

    I didn’t tell him when he could buy groceries. All I said was that excuse is not valid. Buying alcohol is not like buying a gun. It does not take long and it is available on every corner. This is not a new rule either. It comes in to play once a week, 52 days a year. I sometimes find myself cought without a drink in my refidgerator but it is not the end of the world. If I needed it that bad I would have bought it on Saturday.

  16. Old School Politics says:

    Rugby Fan-

    First of all, Its Georgia and its Football.

    I also dont expect you to know anything about Campmeeting, Prayer Meeting, chuch on Sunday night, revival, church on Wednesday night, Dr. Nelson Price, Dr. Johnny Hunt, Dr. Paul L. Walker, Dr. Michael Ussef, Dr. David Cooper, Jentzen Franklin, Bishop Eddie Long, and a whole lot more that I dont have time to list. My point is as I said earlier, my explaination is one that you will not understand I guess its just a cultural thing. Maybe the way I was brought up. It takes two sets of eyes to see this thing.

  17. Jace Walden says:

    Dr. Nelson Price, Dr. Johnny Hunt, Dr. Paul L. Walker, Dr. Michael Ussef, Dr. David Cooper, Jentzen Franklin, Bishop Eddie Long,

    Who are any of these people to decide when I can buy alcohol?

  18. Old School Politics says:

    Jace-

    That is what I am saying. You wont understand. Its a cultural thing. You can not rationalize this issue with your own human reasoning.

  19. Rusty says:

    rugby,
    re:

    erm, yes, there is reason to expect something to be different (and perhaps even a justification for doing so) because illicit drugs have far greater consequences than alcohol.

    Lumping all “illicit” drugs together is oversimplifying (which I guess I did too).

    700,000+ people get thrown in prison each year (on your and my dime) for possession of trivial amounts of marijuana. That when there’s no evidence that outlawing it accomplishes anything, as use rates are about the same here as they are in countries where it’s legal (and greater in some cases).

    There’s another argument about whether weed has “greater” effects than alcohol (I say no), but it’s irrelevant here. What’s relevant is that use rates aren’t affected by police efforts while prison populations and taxpayer expense are.

    Re: cocaine, heroin, etc., there’s not much good data on how police efforts affect usage rates. Mexico recently legalized cocaine and heroin, so there ought to be some studies on that in a couple of years.

  20. Mike says:

    Hauncho– Forcing a person to watch a Falcons game without the benefit of beer on a Sunday afternoon is inhumane. Sure you can argue that a responsible person would have purchased on a Saturday. A simple mistake should not result in such dire consequences! Have you no soul?

  21. jsm says:

    Old School,

    I’m as socially conservative as they come, and I understand the “cultural thing.” I also understand freedom with personal responsibility. Go back and study Constantine. Compare what he did to Christianity to what prohibition of alcohol sales in any form has achieved toward the demise of alcohol consumption.

    Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: which of these does the blue laws promote? Government needs to get away from regulating alcohol sales.

  22. Jmac says:

    You wont understand. Its a cultural thing. You can not rationalize this issue with your own human reasoning.

    Agreed. This is something which constitutes a set of personal beliefs you have. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it should translate into legislation which affects the entire citizenry of this state, including those who share different beliefs and values than you.

    The repeal of blue laws won’t mean that all of a sudden federal officials are bursting into your home forcing you to purchase a six-pack of Coors Light on a Sunday afternoon. You can maintain your cultural values and spiritual beliefs, if you like, but opting to not purchase beer and wine on Sunday.

  23. Mike Hauncho says:

    I’m glad to see that the best of Bill Simon was quoted on Sen. Shafer’s blog. Way to go Bill. Glad to see you added some profound insight on the matter. But as usual you failed to do more than limit yourself to worthless quotes. Heaven forbid that one of those telephone poles turns out to be another car with someones loved on in it. Then who is weeded out?

  24. Bill Simon says:

    Again, Mike Hauncho, I will repeat what I said above to JSM:

    I take that risk every time I drive my car, regardless of the day or time I drive it.

    Just because liquor and beer outlets are closed on Sunday, you think alcoholics have stopped drinking and driving?

    AND, you don’t think people get drunk when they go to sports bars and chow-down on pitchers of beer and drive home?

    Forget the “I was raised to think this way” bullcrap argument…if you and the Governor want all of us to have SAFER driving on Sunday, then BAN ALL SALES OF BEER AND LIQUOR ON SUNDAY…not just the ones in the retail stores.

    If you’re going to attempt to be a “conservative,” start thinking like one, and, the Governor is included in this line of thought…

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