Proposed Law Would Allow Sunday Liquor Sales

Lawmakers Want 'Blue Laws' Repealed

Since prohibition ended, Colorado’s blue laws have required liquor stores and car dealerships to close their doors on Sundays.

That could change soon, however.

When the state Legislature reconvenes in January, proposed legislation would repeal the state’s blue laws, but it has opposition ranging from liquor stores to Christian conservatives.

For 40 years, family-owned Argonaut Liquors has been open every day of the week, save one.

"We've just always been closed on Sunday, and we like it that way," said Ron Vaughn, one of the owners.

But Rep. Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville, believes it’s time for a change.

"It's really sort of crazy that there are two industries that are protected by law, in fact, are told they need to be closed on Sundays: just car dealerships and liquor stores," he said.

For 15 years, Weissmann has sponsored legislation trying to repeal the Sunday sales ban, but powerful lobbies have prevented it from passing.

This year, the legislation will be put forward once again.

"People make business decisions in this world, and that's what we ought to allow liquor stores and car dealers to do," he said.

For consumers, it’s a matter of convenience.

"I think that would be a great idea. I think it's kind of archaic," said Michael Pilch, a Denver resident, shopping at Argonaut Liquors. “It probably won’t benefit those little liquor stores, but they need to roll with the changes.”

But it’s a change liquor stores and car dealers don’t want.

At Rickenbaugh Cadillac Volvo, managers said an extra day would not increase sales, but it would increase costs.

"The money has to come from somewhere to pay the overhead, and that's you and I as consumers," said Jack Gilman, Rickenbaugh Cadillac Volvo sales director.

Smaller liquor stores, often run by family members, said it would be a hardship to remain open seven days a week.

"The pie doesn't get any bigger, you're just giving people more time to come and do it," said Vaughn.

While industries are motivated by business, some blue law supporters have a higher concern.

"It's just another chance for people to stay home and rest and praise God for all the blessings that we've received," said John Ginsburg, a Denver resident leaving noon Mass. “Sunday is a day of rest. I miss the days when most businesses were closed on Sundays.”

But lawmakers believe this year, getting rid of the Blue Laws could actually happen, at least when it comes to lifting the ban on liquor sales.

Other proposed legislation would allow all grocery stores, who for the most part currently only sell beer that’s 3.2 percent alcohol or less, to sell liquor and wine.

Although it’s a separate issue, local liquor stores believe it’s all an effort by big business to take over the Colorado liquor market.

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