The Ten Dumbest Laws in the US

The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the concept of law as: “a binding custom or practice of a community: a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority”. The best and most agreed-upon laws are those that are designed to protect the rights and well-being of the citizens in the country or place where they are enforced. However, some laws are just plain dumb.

Here are the Top Ten Dumbest Laws (via dumblaws.com):

  1. Donkeys cannot be kept in the bathtub in states such as Georgia and Arizona. What I have to ask is: why would this even need to be a law? I understand that a single state might have a quirky official who thinks it’s amusing or necessary…but more than one state having this law is just ludicrous.
  2. Lollipops are illegal in the great state of Washington. What can be so bad about a simple, innocent lollipop? Are lollipops really all that bad? Apparently an official in Washington thinks/thought so.
  3. It is illegal for more than five women to live in the same house in Ohio. This law was obviously designed to help cut down on brothels. However, what happens if parents have five or more daughters living at home? Do they have to have a special permit or something? Or do they have to evict one of the elder ones if a new baby comes along and happens to be a girl?
  4. It is illegal to wear a mask of any kind in public in Alabama. Mask is such a broad term, it could really be construed to me costume masks and health masks. As we all know, the attention surrounding Swine Flu caused everyone and their mom to go out and buy health masks and wear them around town. Furthermore, I live in Alabama. I can honestly say this law isn’t really enforced. Little kids where masks on Halloween every year. In fact, Halloween isn’t the only exclusion. People go to masked balls all the time and I’ve never heard of a raid at such parties.
  5. Anyone who flirts in the state of New York can be charged a $25 fine. It’s a sad day when flirting is a crime. But at some point, some lawmaker in New York certainly thought so.
  6. It is illegal to walk around town with an ice cream cone in your back pocket in states such as Alabama and Georgia. This is, perhaps, one of the most ridiculous laws in the country. The real crime is how wide-spread it is. Several states have a law regarding the prohibition of walking around with an ice cream cone in your back pocket. And all I have to ask is: why was this ever an issue in the first place? I know I wouldn’t want my butt to be sticky and cold.
  7. Every man must carry a rifle to church on Sunday in Massachusetts. This is one of the more hilarious church laws out there and I have to wonder where it came from. Was it perhaps to keep away the Quakers and witches? (Being a Friend or a witch is still illegal in the state of Massachusetts.)
  8. It is illegal for a woman to do her own hair in Oklahoma, unless she has a beauty license from the state. I know women from Oklahoma and surely this law isn’t enforced. If it were, every woman in Oklahoma would be walking around with a rat’s nest in her greasy hair (assuming that “doing hair” also entails washing).
  9. Montana declares that it’s a felony for a wife to open her husband’s mail. Yet it is not a felony for a husband to open his wife’s mail. This is merely one of many US state laws that throw sexual equality out the window.
  10. Minnesota actually has a law banning a person from crossing the state lines with a duck on top of their head. Personally, I find this law to be the most hilariously astounding. First of all, how would you even get a duck to stay still long enough on your head to cross the state line? Secondly, why would you want to?

These are all real laws that are (hopefully) written for real reasons. And however moronic they sound, remember: thousands (if not millions) of tax dollars went into creating them.

Some states have repealed laws that they realized were either stupid, unconstitutional, or no longer applied. Oklahoma, for instance, finally legalized tattoos in 2006. To this day, tattoos remain illegal in certain other states. So, the real question is: will more tax dollars have to be sent repealing laws that are, for lack of better word, dumb?

13 Comments

  • I love the law about the person with the duck on the head not being allowed to cross state lines. I mean, if you’re dumb enough to put a duck on top of your head while trying to get into another state.. maybe you should stay in Minnesota…

    Regards,

    Inna

  • Actually, there is a very logical reason for the existence of the “ice cream cone in the back pocket” law. Back in the olden days, horse thieves used this trick to lure horses away from their masters. They would not directly approach the horse, and therefor were less noticeable. Now, of course, it’s silly, but horses were very valuable commodities back in the good ol’ days.

  • I never knew that! Thanks for sharing, Theresa.

    Most of the laws that are labeled as “dumb” on that website, had valid origins back in the day. I tried only to list the ones that were completely pointless. Still, the ice cream one baffled me. It’s illegal in my home state of Alabama!

  • “It is illegal to wear a mask of any kind in public in Alabama. ”

    *True

    “Furthermore, I live in Alabama. I can honestly say this law isn’t really enforced”

    *False

    I live in Alabama and I was picked up yesterday for wearing a mask in public. Some reason these down south hicks are paranoid. They treated me like I had a gun. So yea. They do enforce it .

  • rly amusin carrie…keep writin in il make sure i follow u…
    tho i cant pretend i don pity the guys in new york…lol..

  • Where is it still illegal to get tattoos? I thought Oklahoma was the last state holding out on that one. Unless you mean internationally?

  • This is a very informative and well written article. I am amazed that such laws exist but i know of one other that might make your list. In Oregon, it is illegal for monsters to enter the city limits of Portland.

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