Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

December 9, 2012

Editorial - Dec. 9, 2012: End Sunday alcohol ban

The issue: State prohibition against Sunday package liquor sales.

Our view: This debate isn’t about whether Hoosiers would be allowed to buy alcohol on Sunday. It’s about where they should be allowed to buy it.

 

Those who oppose legalizing the retail sale of alcohol on Sundays make a compelling argument.

Hoosiers already can buy alcohol six days a week, they say. Why add one more day?

We understand the sentiment, but the fact is the state already has had that debate.

Hoosiers can buy alcohol on Sundays. They just have to buy it in a restaurant or bar.

The message that sends is that it’s OK to drink in a bar or a restaurant on a Sunday. You just can’t buy a six-pack to take home.

Is that really the message we want to send? Do we really want to say it’s OK to drink and drive home, but it’s not OK to drive home and drink?

There was a time when you couldn’t buy alcohol on Sundays, but that time has passed. The task facing lawmakers now is to regulate Sunday alcohol sales in a way that makes sense.

Leaving on the books a prohibition that allows for the purchase of alcohol to be consumed only away from home would not seem to meet that criterion.

A measure filed by state Sen. Phil Boots, a Republican from Crawfordsville, would make some other sensible changes.

Boots’ bill would allow package liquor stores to sell more food items, it would allow grocery and drug stores to sell cold beer and it would allow adults to take their children into liquor stores.

We understand some folks might balk at that last change, but here’s the thing: People already can take their kids into grocery stores and walk them down an aisle filled with adult beverages. Telling them they can’t take their kids into a liquor store simply tells busy parents they have to leave their youngsters in the car if they have to pick up a bottle of wine on the way home.

Surely, that’s not the message we want to send.

Passing a law to allow Sunday carryout sales would bring Indiana in line with the rest of the country. Some states have restrictions on those sales. A few, for example, allow only the sale of beer and wine. Indiana, though, is the last state in the nation that bans all sales of carryout alcohol on Sundays.

One of these days, Indiana lawmakers will change that. The coming legislative session would be as good a time as any.

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