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The Absolute Weirdest USA Laws That Are Somehow Still A Thing

If you’re new to reading the articles from Funny Or Die, first of all, hi, hello, welcome, please make yourself comfortable. Secondly, let me preface this by telling you that I’m from Canada and I’ve only lived in the USA for roughly eight months now. If you’re a regular reader of Funny Or Die, then you probably already know that by now since being Canadian is basically my entire personality. So in an effort to learn more about the country I now live in, I’ve been doing some research. There’s a lot of different states that make up the USA, like, at least 50, and a lot of information to take in about them. And of course it’s great to know each state’s history and culture and maybe some cool fun facts, but as a new resident here I wanted to make sure I educated myself on the dos and don’ts in each corner of the country.

Which is how I learned that, uhh,

You guys have some pretty weird laws.

Some of the more out-there state laws make sense, in that they were clearly established a helluva long time ago and aren’t too weird when you think about it in the context of that time. Others make literally no sense and I have no idea how these ever became laws in the first place, how the hell are these real.

Oklahoma

It’s illegal to make glue out of dead skunks but WHO WOULD WANT TO?

Colorado

If you’re a medieval warlord I’ve got bad news for you — catapulting at buildings is illegal. Not so sure about people though so there may be hope for you yet.

Arizona

It’s illegal to feed garbage to pigs. Unless you have a permit, then it’s fine.

Maryland

Swearing is illegal if it’s done on or close to a street, so if you need to drop an f-bomb make sure it’s in an empty field or something.

California

Frog jumping contests are fine, and you can have as many frogs partake in said jumping contests as you want, but you MAY NOT EAT THEM IF THEY DIE, SIR.

Idaho

Cannibalism is against the law, which I know really throws a wrench into everyone’s bbq plans.

Arkansas

Mispronouncing the name of the state is illegal, so no AR-KANSAS jokes there.

Nevada

If you wanna know someone’s shoe size, it’s illegal to use an x-ray machine. So try, I dunno, asking them instead?

Connecticut

All pickles must bounce. That’s it. That’s the law.

Washington

Killing Bigfoot is a crime, and I wonder if he’d stop hiding if he knew that.

Did you know that it is illegal to die in Britain’s Houses of Parliament? Or that in France it is against the law to name a pig Napoleon?

The Times of London has compiled a list of 25 of the world’s strangest laws. Topping the list is a British law that says the head of any dead whale found on a beach belongs to the king, while the tail belongs to the queen.

Some other wacky rules include a Florida law that says unmarried women can be jailed for parachuting on Sundays or a London law that forbids taxis from carrying rabid dogs or corpses.

Whether or not anyone has been convicted of any of these crimes seems less questionable than how they became laws in the first place. The police in Ohio must be busy making sure no one breaks the law by getting a fish drunk.

Here is the Times’ list of the world’s most ridiculous laws:

25. It is illegal for a cab in the City of London to carry rabid dogs or corpses.

24. It is illegal to die in the Britain Houses of Parliament.

23. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside down.

22. In France, it is forbidden to call a pig Napoleon.

21. Under the U.K.’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006, it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, though you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing.

20. In Alabama, it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle.

19. In Ohio, it is against state law to get a fish drunk.

18. Royal Navy ships that enter the Port of London must provide a barrel of rum to the Constable of the Tower of London.

17. In the U.K., a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants — even, if she so requests, in a policeman’s helmet.

16. In Lancashire, no person is permitted after being asked to stop by a constable on the seashore to incite a dog to bark.

15. In Miami, Fla., it is illegal to skateboard in a police station.

14. In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation.

13. In England, all men over the age of 14 must carry out two hours of longbow practice a day.

12. In London, Freemen are allowed to take a flock of sheep across London Bridge without being charged a toll; they are also allowed to drive geese down Cheapside.

11. In San Salvador, drunk drivers can be punished by death before a firing squad.

10. In the U.K., a man who feels compelled to urinate in public can do so only if he aims for his rear wheel and keeps his right hand on his vehicle.

9. In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on Sundays can be jailed.

8. In Kentucky, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon more than six-feet long.

7. In Chester, England, Welshmen are banned from entering the city before sunrise and from staying after sunset.

6. In the city of York, it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow.

5. In Boulder, Colo., it is illegal to kill a bird within the city limits and also to “own” a pet — the town’s citizens, legally speaking, are merely “pet minders.”

4. In Vermont, women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.

3. In London, it is illegal to flag down a taxi if you have the plague.

2. In Bahrain, a male doctor may legally examine a woman’s genitals but is forbidden from looking directly at them during the examination; he may only see their reflection in a mirror.

1. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast is legally the property of the king; the tail, on the other hand, belongs to the queen — in case she needs the bones for her corset.

“Loony” Laws

Web sites and books love to collect, for our entertainment, what are often called “loony” or “weird” or simply strange, unusual, peculiar or even bizarre laws. Which of these may be real but exaggerated and which are urban legends can be hard to determine, because they are almost never cited to their source. The urban legends site Snopes.com has a concise explanation of the problem on its Arizona Defense page.

One of the questions we get frequently is whether it is illegal to cross the Minnesota/Wisconsin border with a duck on your head. This question has been tackled by the Minnesota Lawyer Blog — see If it quacks like a duck, it must be cotton fabric — and Minnesota Public Radio — see Quack. The following resources may help you run your own particular rumor to ground.

Resources:

  • Legal Affairs from Snopes.com
  • Urban Legends, from About.com
  • Minnesota Statutes, Laws, and Rules
  • Minnesota Statutes Archive
  • Minnesota Session Laws
  • Minnesota County and Municipal Ordinances
  • The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library keeps a paper file of items collected over the years which may include some strange customs that patrons interested in “weird” laws may also find interesting.
  • From across the pond, Legal Curiosities: Fact or Fable?, from the Law Commission (U.K.).
  • The Judge Who Hated Red Nail Polish & Other Crazy But True Stories of Law & Lawyers – Ilona Bray, Richard Stim and the editors of Nolo – K184 .B73 2010

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
Related Topics: Law Sources

51 Crazy Stupid Laws in Europe

A friend recently asked me “What is the weirdest European law you’ve ever heard of? The question caught me a little off guard, but I started to research into it right away.

What I found is that Europe has more than its fair share of bizarre laws, though many are hopefully just urban legends and hardly enforced. While it’s true that a few years back a couple was arrested for wearing noisy footwear on the Italian island of Ischia, it’s hard to believe that you can get a fine for reciting poetry while skiing down a mountain in Switzerland.

Although I suspect that most of these crazy laws are more myth than fact, I do agree that they tell a lot about life in those countries.

Below are 51 absurdly ridiculous laws to keep in mind next time you travel to Europe. You’d better take it as a fun read instead of a history lesson!

1. In France it’s illegal to name your pig Napoleon.

2. Driving a dirty car in Chelyabinsk, Russia can get you fined up to 2,000 rubles (about 62 USD).

3. In Milan it is a legal requirement to smile at all times, except for funerals or hospital visits.

4. An English law prohibits people to die in the House of Parliament.

5. Heels are banned at certain Greek archaeological sites, including the Acropolis.

6. Between 3:29 PM and 6:47 PM, people in Madrid cannot ask one another what time it is.

7. Men wearing a skirt in public in Italy can be arrested.

8. In Denmark, if a person finds a lost child, they can claim the child as their own if a parent does not turn up within 2 hours.

9. It’s illegal to flag down a taxi in England if you have the plague.

10. Any man carrying onions in Paris must be given right of way in the streets.

11. During Munich’s Oktoberfest, no person is ever legally drunk, no matter how much alcohol they have consumed.

12. No one is allowed to play electronic games in Greece.

13. If you challenge a man to a fist fight to the death in Norway, he must accept or pay a penalty of 4 deer.

14. In Russia it is illegal to say any sentence containing more than 4 words in English.

15. Any child born in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales must be able to spell the town name by the age of six and pronounce it by the age of thirty-four.

16. In Turkey it is against the law to fall in love with a neighbor’s son, daughter, wife, servant, or animals.

17. During Sweden’s long hours of winter darkness, it is illegal to complain that you wish it were sunny.

18. Pinching a girl’s bottom is permitted by law in Italy.

19. Any Scotsman found to be wearing underwear beneath his kilt can be fined two cans of beer.

20. If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requests the use of your toilet, you must allow them access.

21. It is illegal to ski down a mountain in Switzerland while reciting poetry.

22. Divorce is still illegal in the Vatican. In Malta it was legalized in 2011.

23. Noisy sandals are forbidden on the Isle of Capri, Italy.

24. In Denmark it’s not against the law to escape from prison.

25. Driving while wearing flip-flops or sandals is a criminal offense in Spain, and comes with a fine of 200 EUR.

26. You can get a fine for spitting in Barcelona.

27. In Turin, Italy dog owners can be fined up to 600 EUR for not taking their dogs on a walk at least 3 times a day.

28. In Belgium, girls must have written permission from their fathers to wear a mini skirt that is more than 4 inch above the knee.

29. It is illegal for a woman to wear wigs in Denmark.

30. It is against the law to mention the date 1966 in any football ground in Germany. This is when England won the World Cup at Wembley against West Germany (4-2).

31. An ancient Norwegian law (still in use) states that males must go off on expeditions of rape and plunder to nearby countries at least once every 5 years.

32. The citizens of Monaco are prohibited from playing in the Monte Carlo Casino.

33. As bizarre as it may sound, it’s illegal to be drunk in a pub in Britain.

34. In Eraclea, a town near Venice, it’s illegal to build sandcastles on the beach.

35. You could be fined if caught eating and drinking near churches and public buildings in Florence.

36. In Cyprus you are not allowed to eat or drink anything while driving.

37. It’s legal to marry a dead person in France.

38. It is legal to murder someone within the ancient city walls of York, Scotland, but only if he carries a bow and arrow.

39. In Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, it is strictly forbidden to play chess during sex.

40. It is illegal to fly over or land flying saucers in the southern French town of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This odd anti-UFO legislation has gained the town international popularity.

41. Telling a man in Italy he has “no balls” is a crime punishable with a fine.

42. A 1910 ban on kissing on train platforms in France (to help prevent rail delays) is still on the books.

43. Sex is only allowed in the dark in Budapest.

44. In Seville it’s illegal to hang your underwear on a line, with fines reaching up to 3,000 EUR for serious offences.

45. In Denmark, the penalty for a man saying to his wife that she is “uglier than her mother” is up to 1 year in prison.

46. In France, drivers (tourists included) are legally required to carry a portable Breathalyzer in their vehicle.

47. In Finland, your traffic fine is calculated according to your income.

48. It is against the law in Germany to address a policeman with the informal “du” rather than the formal “Sie”, and could cost you a substantial fine of up to 600 EUR.

49. In Danish restaurants you don’t have to pay for your food unless, by your own opinion, you are ‘full’ at the end of your meal. If not, you can proceed without paying the bill at all.

50. Domestic violence is legal in London as long as it’s before 9 p.m. and does not disturb the neighbors.

51. In Switzerland it is illegal to flush the toilet after 10pm, if you live in an apartment.

Do you know any other weird laws from around Europe?

Weird Alaska Laws

  • Moose may not be viewed from an airplane.

    While it is legal to shoot bears, waking a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a photograph is prohibited.

    It is considered an offense to push a live moose out of a moving airplane.

    No one may tie their pet dog to the roof of a car.

    For all you would-be pranksters out there, it is illegal to string a wire across any road.

    Persons may not live in a trailer as it is being hauled across the city.

    It is considered an offense to feed alcoholic beverages to a moose.

    A person may only carry a concealed slingshot if that person has received the appropriate license.

    It is against the law to attempt to break any law in title 9 of the code (public peace, morals, and welfare).

    Employers of bars may not let their bartenders serve while they are drunk themselves.

    Owners of flamingos may not let their pet into barber shops.

    Buildings that preserve scenic vistas are awarded bonus points by the government.

    One may not roam the city with a bow and arrows.

    Persons may not allow “attractive nuisances” to exist.

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More Weird State Laws

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5 Dumb Laws in Alaska that will Make Your Jaws Drop

5 Dumb Laws in Alaska that will Make Your Jaws Drop admin December 4, 2016

We’ve already done a piece on the Dumb Laws in Alabama and now it’s time to move onto our next state which is Alaska. Alaska is a beautiful state of the United States of America that boasts an insanely cold temperature and offers scintillating and stunning natural sceneries that will blow your minds away. Much like the other states of this great country, Alaska also has a number of dumb laws that will make you start pulling your hair and scratching your head. We hope you’ll have as much fun reading these laws as we had compiling them. Remember that these laws are absolutely authentic and are effective currently. These are not, by any means, unreal! Happy reading!

1 – No Dog on the Car Roof!

You must be wondering who in the world would ever try something as insane as that? Well, let us tell you: it’s Mitt Romney, the Presidential Candidate in 2012! The Romney family at the start of their family summer vacation, a quarter century ago, had their Irish setter ride on the roof of their station wagon for 12 hours straight and the poor fellow fell sick afterwards! Dog’s aren’t luggage t-shirts! Had they done that in Alaska, they would have been penalized!

Law: https://www.municode.com/library/ak/anchorage/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT9VETR_CH9.36MIRU_9.36.150CAANOUVE

2 – You Can’t Tie a String Across the Road!

For all you would-be pranksters out there, these shenanigans can land you in serious trouble!

Law: https://www.municode.com/library/ak/anchorage/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT9VETR_CH9.36MIRU_9.36.100PUGLDEST

3 – You’re Not to Ride a House Trailer When It is on the Move!

Get the hell out of your house trailer along with your pillow and pajamas as the trailer moves through public streets, else you’ll be apprehended!

Law: https://www.municode.com/library/ak/anchorage/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT9VETR_CH9.36MIRU_9.36.060RIHOTR

4 – Don’t Think of Driving a Car with Snow on the Windshield!

If you have an accumulation of snow, ice or frost upon the front windshield, side wings, or side or rear windows, you are not going to get away! You better have the snow wiped off from every nook and corner of your vehicle to ensure that it doesn’t slither down to disrupt your driving view!

Law: https://www.municode.com/library/ak/anchorage/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT9VETR_CH9.36MIRU_9.36.040OBDRVIDRME

5 – No Flamingos Allowed in a Barber’s Shop!

If you were thinking to bring your pet flamingo in a hairdresser’s shop, then you need to be on guard! Doing so could move the law against you! But there’s a question! What will the flamingos do whenever they need the haircut? Now, we’ll have flamingos with long hair roaming all over the town with their mamas going berserk on them for not getting their hair cut!