OKC Chamber CEO’S chronology is incorrect

Regarding the Point/Counterpoint Commentary in the Jan. 19 Oklahoma Gazette by Roy Williams (“Point: Revise outmoded liquor laws”), president and CEO of Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and Bill Bishop (“Counterpoint: Paying the price”), owner of The Grape Wine & Spirits in northwest Oklahoma City:

Bishop makes several very valid points regarding the very complicated steps involved in such a change.

Corporations are not allowed to sell at retail, staff must be over 21 and the statelicensed Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission is underfunded and shorthanded.

Williams is simply incorrect on his chronology. He stated current Oklahoma alcohol laws date to statehood 103 years ago. Oklahoma came to statehood absolutely prohibiting possession, sale, consumption, manufacture (and I think transportation) of alcohol: complete and total prohibition.

In 1933, when the tragic national Prohibition experiment ended, Oklahoma permitted sale of 3.2 (now called “low-point”) beer under the subterfuge of being “non-intoxicating” alcohol. Voters in November 1958 approved package liquor stores, and that law became effective in 1959. That law has seen little change since implementation.

The current set of retail liquor laws have well-served the state and our communities by protecting against underage purchase, screening for already intoxicated customers and raising a huge amount of revenue through taxation.

—Steve Nafus
Enid
Nafus is owner of Buck’s Wine & Spirits in Enid.

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