Monday, February 16, 2015

Liquor & Guns

The people's right to trade freely with their neighbors and those in neighboring states shall not be infringed. 

One line like that in the Constitution would have rendered the PLCB largely impotent, but it didn't work out that way. The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution. The right to buy alcohol is not. Both have laws governing their sale and use, but only one has the state trying to make sure you can get it: Liquor. 

Proponents of the State Store System are always pushing for and bragging about having more sales. They want to make sure that all the citizens can buy booze, but they don't want to make sure you can buy a Constitutionally guaranteed item, or have freedom of choice or be allowed to participate in interstate commerce. That, of course, would puncture their precious monopoly, and show how non-competitive they really are.

But this is -- supposedly -- all about control. Let's look at that whole concept from a different angle. If you are like me or most people I know, you probably think guns are more dangerous than a bottle of Captain Morgan. But according to State Store-style thinking, you would be wrong. I drink, and I also shoot. I probably drink more often than I shoot, but it's close, since my range is only a mile away. Let me tell you: I worry more about the guy next to me at the range than I do about the guy next to me at the bar. Just think about these comparisons.
  • What takes longer to buy: a special order bottle of liquor or a special order gun (even with the federally-mandated wait time on gun sales)?
  • As a private citizen, you can sell guns, but you can't sell alcohol beverages.
  • Sell a bottle and you can get fined $4 an ounce and go to jail.  Sell a gun...and you get cash.
  • If you're 18, you can buy a gun; if you're 14, you can get a hunting license. Buy a beer when you're 18, and you can LOSE your license.
  • Most places you are allowed to open carry a gun on the street in PA ; most places you are not allowed to carry an open bottle.
  • If you are a resident with the proper permit, you can have a loaded gun on the front seat of your car. If you have an open bottle, there is no permit you can get.
  • If you are visiting from out of state and have a gun in your trunk and want to stop and take in any of Pennsylvania's scenic attractions as you pass through the state -- it is perfectly legal.  Have a bottle of wine from New Jersey in your trunk and make that same stop? You can be fined, and your wine will be seized and destroyed. 
  • You can bring a number of guns into Pennsylvania without any special licenses or forms and shoot.  You can't bring any bottles of wine, beer, or spirits into the state -- legally! -- without special licenses or forms which the PLCB does not even make available to you.*
People who use guns professionally in their job have to be licensed, but people who sell alcohol professionally (like bartenders) don't. They don't have to be certified by the state in any way, unless and until they make an illegal sale, which seems to me like closing the barn door after the horse ran away. Our State Store alcohol sellers don't even have to be certified in any way at all, nor are they ever checked for illegal sales (they rely on 'self-reporting'). Does anybody find this strange based on all of the above?

Most states have figured out how to regulate the sale of alcohol and not treat their citizens like children. If the liquor laws in the state were even close to being like the gun laws, there wouldn't be a privatization effort (or a modernization one either) because the dead hand of leftover Prohibitionism wouldn't be on the backs of the residents. Since that isn't going to happen, we have to take control away from the state through our legislature. Give retail back to private industry where it belongs, because when the state decides what you will get, it also decides what you want and does it without any input from you.

We are not safer, we are not better served, and we are not satisfied. Privatize.

* I challenge any reader to try to find the form or forms needed to pay the taxes on 6 bottles of liquor you want to bring into the state. Good luck. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post! Some of the best arguments for more gun control ever! Thanks!