There is a problem that lingers here in the state of Texas. It happens to be held on one certain day in the week and, still to this day, parts of said problem don’t make a lick of sense. This problem is the still-existing blue law here in Texas.

What is a blue law? In the colonial times of our country, blue laws were strict, religious-based laws that prevented any type of entertainment or leisure on a Sunday. In today’s terms, it is a mostly religious-based law that restricts the sale of certain items (partially or completely) on a Sunday. In Texas, this mostly relates to alcoholic beverages and, for some asinine reason, cars.

First, a little history on the blue law here in Texas.

Though there was restricted shopping on Sundays as early as the 1860s, Texas enacted its blue law in 1961 and was supported by multiple religious groups to “protect family values,” where the sale of 42 specific items were prohibited. This ranged from the previously mentioned cars and alcohol to other items like knives, pots, pans and washing machines. However, with the rise of department stores, the law was “repealed” in 1985.

Why do I have the word repealed in quotes? It is due to the fact that the lingering existence of this law on the prohibited sale of alcohol and cars doesn’t mean that said law is repealed. You can’t say something is gone when some of the restrictions still exist.

Of course, you may say that it is only liquor that is prohibited from sale, not beer or wine. Sadly, beer and wine are restricted to be sold at retail establishments in only after noon. Sure, the Sunday morning hours before noon tend to be a time when people are at church.

However, in a free-market point of view and the major fact that not every religious denomination has worship on Sundays and not everyone is religious (and this is coming from a born-again Christian), it is outright stupid to restrict the sale of beer and wine for times when it is available at any retail market, whether it be a grocery or convenience store. The only time that no one should be able to buy beer or wine at a retail establishment is when that store is closed.

For liquor, we already had the Texas Liquor Control Act that was passed in 1935 in response to the repeal of Prohibition. So at that point, the Texas blue law was completely unnecessary. However, like the argument on beer and wine, anyone should be able to buy whatever they want on whatever day they want.

Of course, we don’t need laws that tell businesses that sell stronger alcoholic beverages when they should and should not be open. That is only the right of the business owners, in this case, both liquor stores and car dealerships. The remnants of the blue law and the Texas Liquor Control Act restrict proper free market business practice. Yes, there are other stores and even restaurants that are closed on Sundays, but they are closed based on the choice of the respective business owners, not by outdated and completely unnecessary laws.

With that said, the time is long overdue to get rid of the remaining blue law, not pick and choose what to take out or keep. The zombified remnants of this law should be killed, buried, and put in the grave where it should have been for the past 35 years.

Nolan Schmidt is an independent filmmaker, and serves as Vice Chair for the Guadalupe County Libertarian Party.

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