Students new to Colorado should get used to seeing closed signs
on Sundays, at least at liquor stores and car dealerships.
Laws that prohibit certain activities on Sundays have existed in
America for more than 200 years. These laws, commonly referred to
as “blue laws,” are not as prevalent today as they once were.
“It would be a lot more convenient to be able to buy liquor here
on Sundays rather than driving to Wyoming,” said Preston Fisbech, a
junior construction management major.
Since all liquor and car sales are illegal on Sundays, most
businesses do not see a problem with being closed.
“I don’t think we lose any business on Sundays,” said Christina
Dawkins, general manager of Colorado’s BMW Center on South College
Avenue. “Customers have the opportunity to browse without being
approached by a salesman. I think they like that.”
Dawkins said if some dealerships were open and some were closed,
there would be more of a problem. She also said most employees
enjoy the day off.
Joe Musa, owner of Liquor Depot on East Harmony Road, also said
there would be no benefit to his business being open.
“It wouldn’t make a difference,” Musa said. “We’d have to run
the extra overhead and it would give grocery stores a reason to
Musa said grocery stores would likely lobby for the ability to
sell unrestricted alcohol content beer and that would take away
from his business.
Some people feel that these laws should not exist at all.
“These laws are clearly a violation of the separation of church
and state,” wrote David J. Hanson, professor emeritus of sociology
at New York State University, in an e-mail interview. “Blue laws
prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sundays have continued to exist
for religious reasons.”
The Columbia Encyclopedia states that the Supreme Court has
upheld Sunday closing laws by ruling that such laws do not
interfere with the free exercise of religion and do not constitute
the establishment of a state religion.
Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute wrote in an e-mail that
blue laws today have very little to do with their original
religious motivation of preserving Sunday as a day for repose and
“These laws exist for the benefit of the regulated businesses,”
Kopel wrote. “By restricting competition, the laws help the
businesses save labor costs. Actual lost sales are probably not
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in McGowan v. Maryland that having
Sunday closing laws is legal.
“The present purpose and effect of most of our Sunday Closing
Laws is to provide a uniform day of rest for all citizens; and the
fact that this day is Sunday, a day of particular significance for
the dominant Christian sects, does not bar the State from achieving
its secular goals,” the ruling states.
Blue laws continue to exist in a number of states throughout the
country. The laws may take some getting used to for new residents
and students, but the laws are in place and continue to be enforced
in the Colorado.
“The legislature is generally reluctant to change laws which
benefit business special-interest groups unless there is a strong
push from the general public,” Kopel said.