Archived Story

Well-intentioned law needs to go

Published 9:44pm Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Here in the South, there are certain thickets into which a columnist treads carefully.

Suffolk News-Herald scribe Rex Alphin a few years back dared to extol the virtues of an adult beverage, drawing a sharp rebuke from readers who consider drinking to be morally reprehensible and physically harmful.

I risk a similar fate with the following: Virginia can no longer defend, as a legal matter or a matter of public policy, its ban on Sunday hunting.

I grew up in an era of “blue laws,” although it should be noted that, in our house, no law protecting the sacredness of Sunday was needed. By fatherly edict, Sunday was a day of worship and rest.

When a new department store in my Deep South hometown appealed to city fathers for a modest relaxation of the local blue law, my dad, a fundamentalist preacher, was on the front row at the city council meeting and the first to speak in opposition. A dozen other preachers and churchgoers followed him to the podium. The department store didn’t stand a chance.

Admittedly, I miss the quaintness of my childhood Sundays. To this day, I strive for Sundays that are free of commercial distractions and interruptions.

Families of like mind should seek the same. Preachers should encourage their congregants to make Sunday about worship and family. Self-imposed blue laws are fine by me.

Blatantly unconstitutional, though, is the state’s telling a citizen what legal activities he can and can’t pursue on a particular day. The hunters I know aren’t a class-action kind of group; if they were, Virginia’s Sunday hunting ban wouldn’t last long after reaching the docket of the Supreme Court.

Even if it were legally justifiable, there’s the problem of consistency. Hunting on Sunday is illegal, but it’s OK to play golf, fish or water ski on Sunday?

The General Assembly, after years of foot-dragging, finally appears ready to put an end to the hypocrisy. Both the Senate and House have passed bills to legalize Sunday hunting on private land with the landowner’s consent. Gov. Terry McAuliffe has indicated he’ll sign it.

The time is right for Virginia to retire a law that, while honorable in its intent, can no longer be justified.

Steve Stewart is publisher of the Suffolk News-Herald. His email address is

  • Iraqandback03

    This is an excellent private property rights compromise bill. Pass this law.

    Suggest Removal

  • So What

    yes every new law, the more the merrier is well intended, and since Virginins decided to return to the status of being a blue state, expect more laws but not in the sense of sunday blue laws because sundays have no real value in meaning in the way that I am understanding Mr. stewarts article. I wouldn’t expect to see protests of liberal business owners massing in the street to protest nor the state folks who run ABC stores if they were open, just why aren’t they? to protect and appease those who feel that there should be no public consumption of liquor at all on a Sunday, because one is suppose to be in churchand that is demmed to be acceptable to all of society.? Yeah, they’ll probably tell you they’re doing it because they care about you, and it’s for your own good.and their favorite, its for the children. and of course it never fails that people just fall right in line with the whole line of BS..hopefully three names will bring you back to mother earth, say good bye to those mythical unicorns and a world of everyone singing Imagine and I want to teach the world to sing Then Ronnie Raygun saying well “Mommie” those 3 names being Barack Obama, Jim Jones. and Charlie Manson. You,think this is a bit over dramatic? I don’t think so especially when You’re still be looking to be having “rational discourse” while they lock you up in a gulag & throw the key away. then all of your needs will be taken care of along with a schedule for when you shower, visit the bathroom, etc. etc. etc..

    Suggest Removal

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