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There are any number of great web sites that list entire collections of odd laws passed in both the United States and abroad.  A couple of them are listed here.

I'm collecting some of my favorites here.  I'm confining myself to the United States because it's my home and, well, I think we have enough stupid laws for the whole world.

Laws From Around The United States
Alabama
  • It is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.
  • You may not have an ice cream cone in your back pocket at any time.
  • Boogers may not be flicked into the wind.
  • Putting salt on a railroad track may be punishable by death.
  • Children of incestuous couples are deemed legitimate.
  • Neither Solitaire nor Dominoes may be played on Sunday.
Alaska
  • Moose may not be viewed from an airplane.
  • It is considered an offense to push a live moose out of a moving airplane.
  • It is considered an offense to feed alcoholic beverages to a moose. (Fairbanks only)
Arizona
  • Hunting Camels is prohibited.
  • Any misdemeanor committed while wearing a red mask is considered a felony.
  • Donkeys cannot sleep in bathtubs.
  • You may not have more than two dildos in a house.
Arkansas
  • A man can legally beat his wife, but not more than once a month.
  • Alligators may not be kept in bathtubs.
California
  • Sunshine is guaranteed to the masses.
  • Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship.
  • It is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.
  • No vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour.
Colorado
  • One may not mutilate a rock in a state park.
  • It is illegal to ride a horse while under the influence.
  • Tags may be ripped off of pillows and mattresses.
Connecticut
  • In order for a pickle to officially be considered a pickle, it must bounce.
  • It is unlawful to walk backwards after sunset. (Devon only)
Delaware
  • It is illegal to fly over any body of water, unless one is carrying sufficient supplies of food and drink.
  • No person shall change clothes in his or her vehicle. (Rehoboth Beach only)
  • Six-year-old girls may not run around without being fully clothed. (Rehoboth Beach only)
Florida
  • Women may be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer, as can the salon owner.
  • If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.
  • It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit.
  • Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.
  • Having sexual relations with a porcupine is illegal.
  • You may not fart in a public place after 6 P.M. on Thursdays.
  • It is considered an offense to shower naked.
  • You may not kiss your wife's breasts.
  • It is illegal to sell your children.
Georgia
  • It is illegal to use profanity in front of a dead body which lies in a funeral home or in a coroners office.
  • Members of the state assembly cannot be ticketed for speeding while the state assembly is in session.
  • Donkeys may not be kept in bathtubs. (see Arizona)
Hawaii
  • Coins are not allowed to be placed in one's ears.
Idaho
  • Illegal for a man to give his sweetheart a box of candy weighing less than fifty pounds.
  • Riding a merry-go-round on Sundays is considered a crime.
  • You may not fish on a camel's back.
  • You may not fish on a giraffe's back. (Boise only)
Illinois Interestingly, Illinois has very few bizarre laws on the books.  Individual cities have a number, such as in Chicago where, like Boise, it's illegal to fish while on a Giraffe.
Indiana
  • Baths may not be taken between the months of October and March.
  • It is illegal to sell cars on Sunday.
  • A man over the age of 18 may be arrested for statutory rape if the passenger in his car is not wearing her socks and shoes, and is under the age of 17.
  • You can get out of paying for a dependent's medical care by praying for him/her.
  • Pedestrians crossing the highway at night are prohibited from wearing tail lights.
  • The value of Pi is 3.2, and not 3.1415.
Iowa
  • It is a violation of the law to sell or distribute drugs or narcotics without having first obtained the appropriate Iowa drug tax stamp.
  • A man with a moustache may never kiss a woman in public.
  • One-armed piano players must perform for free.
  • Kisses may last for no more than five minutes.
Kansas
  • Rabbits may not be shot from motorboats.
  • Pedestrians crossing the highways at night must wear tail lights. (See Illinois where this is illegal)
  • The state game rule prohibits the use of mules to hunt ducks.
Kentucky
  • One may not dye a duckling blue and offer it for sale unless more than six are for sale at once.
Louisiana
  • It is illegal to shoot lasers at police officers.
  • Rituals that involve the ingestion of blood, urine, or fecal matter are not allowed.
  • It is illegal to rob a bank and then shoot at the bank teller with a water pistol.
  • Biting someone with your natural teeth is "simple assault," while biting someone with your false teeth is "aggravated assault."
  • It is a $500 fine to instruct a pizza delivery man to deliver a pizza to your friend without them knowing.
Maine
  • Shotguns are required to be taken to church in the event of a Native American attack.
  • You may not step out of a plane in flight.
  • After January 14th you will be charged a fine for having your Christmas decorations still up.
  • To stroll down the street playing a violin is against the law. (Augusta only)
Maryland Another odd state for having a dearth of silly laws.  Cities have plenty.
  • It's illegal to take a lion to the movies. (Baltimore)
  • It is a violation of city code to sell chicks or ducklings to a minor within 1 week of the Easter holiday. (Baltimore)
  • Eating while swimming in the ocean is prohibited. (Ocean City)
  • Persons may not swear while on the highway. (Rockville)
Massachusetts
  • At a wake, mourners may eat no more than three sandwiches.
  • Snoring is prohibited unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked.
  • An old ordinance declares goatees illegal unless you first pay a special license fee for the privilege of wearing one in public.
  • Taxi drivers are prohibited from making love in the front seat of their taxi during their shifts.
  • All men must carry a rifle to church on Sunday.
  • Hunting on Sundays is prohibited.
  • It is illegal to go to bed without first having a full bath.
  • A woman can not be on top in sexual activities.
  • No gorilla is allowed in the back seat of any car.
  • Children may smoke, but they may not purchase cigarettes.
  • Tomatoes may not be used in the production of clam chowder.
  • Quakers and witches are banned.
  • Bullets may not be used as currency.
  • Shooting ranges may not set up targets that resemble human beings.
Michigan
  • A woman isn't allowed to cut her own hair without her husband's permission.
  • It is illegal to kill a dog using a decompression chamber.
  • The last Sunday in June of every year was named “log cabin day”.
  • Persons may not be drunk on trains.
Minnesota
  • A person may not cross state lines with a duck atop his head.
  • It is illegal to sleep naked.
  • All men driving motorcycles must wear shirts.
  • Citizens may not enter Wisconsin with a chicken on their head.
Mississippi
  • It is illegal to teach others what polygamy is.
  • No one may bribe any athlete to "rig" a game, match, tournament, etc. with the exception of wrestlers.
  • Vagrancy is punishable by either 30 days in prison or a $250 fine. (think about it)
Missouri
  • Single men between the ages of twenty-one and fifty must pay an annual tax of one dollar (enacted 1820).
  • It is not illegal to speed.
  • Worrying squirrels will not be tolerated. (Excelsior Springs only)
  • Minors are not allowed to purchase cap pistols, however they may buy shotguns freely. (Kansas City)
  • Installation of bathtubs with four legs resembling animal paws is prohibited. (Kansas City)
Montana
  • It is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone.
  • In Montana, it is illegal for married women to go fishing alone on Sundays, and illegal for unmarried women to fish alone at all.
  • Seven or more Indians are considered a raiding or war party and it is legal to shoot them.
  • It is illegal to bring a bomb or rocket at city council proceedings. (Billings only)
  • It is illegal to operate a vehicle with ice picks attached to the wheels. (Whitehall only)
Nebraska
  • If a child burps during church, his parent may be arrested.
  • It is Illegal to go whale fishing.
  • It is illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.
  • It is illegal for a mother to give her daughter a perm without a state license.
Nevada
  • It is illegal to drive a camel on the highway.
  • It's still "legal" to hang someone for shooting your dog on your property.
  • Benches may not be placed in the middle of any street (Reno only)
New Hampshire
  • You may not tap your feet, nod your head, or in any way keep time to the music in a tavern, restaurant, or cafe.
  • You cannot sell the clothes you are wearing to pay off a gambling debt.
  • Any cattle that crosses state roads must be fitted with a device to gather its feces.
  • On Sundays citizens may not relieve themselves while looking up.
New Jersey
  • It is illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a murder.
  • It is against the law for a man to knit during the fishing season.
  •  It is against the law to "frown" at a police officer.
  • If you have been convicted of driving while intoxicated, you may never again apply for personalized license plates.
  • It is illegal to delay or detain a homing pigeon.
New Mexico Another surprisingly limited state...
  • State officials ordered 400 words of "sexually explicit material" to be cut from Romeo and Juliet.
  • It's forbidden for a female to appear unshaven in public. (Carrizozo only)
  • Persons may not spit on the steps of the opera house. (Deming only)
New York
  • It is against the law to throw a ball at someone's head for fun.
  • The penalty for jumping off a building is death.
  • While riding in an elevator, one must talk to no one, and fold his hands while looking toward the door.
  • Slippers are not to be worn after 10:00 P.M.
North Carolina
  • Organizations may not hold their meetings while the members present are in costume.
  • Bingo games may not last over 5 hours unless it is held at a fair.
  • Serving alcohol at a bingo game is not allowed.
  • It's against the law to sing off key.
  • Elephants may not be used to plow cotton fields.
  • It is illegal to have sex in a churchyard.
North Dakota
  • It is illegal to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes on.
  • Beer and pretzels can't be served at the same time in any bar or restaurant.
  • It is legal to shoot an Indian on horseback, provided you are in a covered wagon.
Ohio
  • Women are prohibited from wearing patent leather shoes in public.
  • It is illegal to fish for whales on Sunday.
  • It is illegal to get a fish drunk.
  • No one may be arrested on Sunday or on the Fourth of July.
Oklahoma
     (Hall Of Fame)
  • Females are forbidden from doing their own hair without being licensed by the state.
  • Dogs must have a permit signed by the mayor in order to congregate in groups of three or more on private property.
  • Oklahoma will not tolerate anyone taking a bite out of another's hamburger.
  • It is against the law to read a comic book while operating a motor vehicle.
  • Whaling is illegal.
  • Cars must be tethered outside of public buildings.
  • People who make "ugly faces" at dogs may be fined and/or jailed.
  • Fish may not be contained in fishbowls while on a public bus.
  • Tissues are not to be found in the back of one's car.
  • It is illegal for the owner of a bar to allow anyone inside to pretend to have sex with a buffalo.
Oregon
  • It is illegal to buy or sell marijuana, but it is legal to smoke it on your own property.
  • Ice cream may not be eaten on Sundays.
  • Dishes must drip dry.
  • One may not bathe without wearing "suitable clothing," i.e., that which covers one's body from neck to knee.
  • Canned corn is not to be used as bait for fishing.
  • A door on a car may not be left open longer than is necessary.
Pennsylvania
  • It it illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors.
  • You may not sing in the bathtub.
  • You may not catch a fish by any body part except the mouth.
  • Dynamite is not to be used to catch fish.
  • Any motorist driving along a country road at night must stop every mile and send up a rocket signal, wait 10 minutes for the road to be cleared of livestock, and continue.
Rhode Island
  • It is considered an offense to throw pickle juice on a trolley.
  • No one may bite off another’s leg.
South Carolina
  • Musical instruments may not be sold on Sunday.
  • Horses may not be kept in bathtubs.
  • A permit must be obtained to fire a missle.
  • It is perfectly legal to beat your wife on the court house steps on Sundays.
  • It is a capital offense to inadvertently kill someone while attempting suicide.
South Dakota
  • It is illegal to lie down and fall asleep in a cheese factory.
  • If there are more than 5 Native Americans on your property you may shoot them.
Tennessee
  • It is illegal to dare a child to purchase a beer.
  • Skunks may not be carried into the state.
  • You can't shoot any game other than whales from a moving automobile.
  • Driving is not to be done while asleep.
  • It is legal to gather and consume road kill.
Texas
  • It is illegal to milk another person's cow.
  • It is illegal to take more than three sips of beer at a time while standing.
  • Up to a felony charge can be levied for promoting the use of, or owning more than six dildos.
  • The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a formula for making beer at home.
Utah
  • It is illegal to cause a catastrophe.
  • Alcohol may not be sold during an emergency.
  • It is against the law to fish from horseback.
  • It is illegal to detonate any nuclear weapon.  (Evidently you can have them, but you just can't detonate them.)
  • Birds have the right of way on all highways.
  • No one may have sex in the back of an ambulance if it is responding to an emergency call.
Vermont
  • Women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.
  • Whistling underwater is illegal.
Virginia
  • No animal may be hunted for on Sunday with the exception of raccoons, which may be hunted until 2:00 AM.
  • Driving while not wearing shoes is prohibited.
  • Children are not to go trick-or-treating on Halloween.
  • No one may wash a mule on the sidewalk. (Culpeper only)
  • Spitting on a sea gull is not tolerated. (Norfolk only)
Washington
  • It is illegal to pretend that one's parents are rich.
  • You cannot buy meat of any kind on Sunday.
  • People may not buy a mattress on Sunday.
  • Men who deflower virgins, regardless of age or marital status, may face up to five years in jail. (Auburn only...and I used to live there...so I'm wondering about the statute of limitations.)
  • You may not shuck peanuts on the street. (Bremerton only)
West Virginia
  • No children may attend school with their breath smelling of "wild onions."
  • It is legal for a male to have sex with an animal as long as it does not exceed 40 lbs.
  • If you wear a hat inside a theater, you may be fined.
  • Whistling underwater is prohibited.
Wisconsin
  • It is a class A misdemeanor to wave a burning torch around in the air.
  • State Law made it illegal to serve apple pie in public restaurants without cheese.
  • While all cheese making requires a license, Limburger cheese making requires a master cheese maker's license.
  • It is illegal to kiss on a train.
  • It is illegal to cut a woman's hair.
Wyoming
  • If one is drunk in a mine, he or she could land in jail for up to a year.
  • Using a firearm to fish is strictly forbidden.
  • You may not take a picture of a rabbit from January to April without an official permit.

What I really find interesting is the regional quality of some of the laws, such as in the South where many states have a law on the books against carrying an ice cream in your pocket.  Was this a big problem in the South at one time?

And what's the thing with livestock in bathtubs?

Whistling underwater?

And people wonder why I think politicians are idiots.

 


 

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     Copyright © 2002-2004 - David Charles Reed Last Updated: 06 January 2005