Andrew Parker

25 Strange American Laws That Still Exist

There are so many strange laws that are still on the books across the United States. These aren’t just ones that protect us from harm, but ones that’ll have you scratching your head because they’re so bizarre. Here are 25 laws that, although they’re weird, still exist.

Giraffes on the Street

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In Atlanta, it’s illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole, although we’re not sure why anyone would do this or why there would be giraffes wandering the streets of Atlanta. This law likely came about because people were worried about large animals obstructing sidewalks. Even so, there’s nothing stopping you from tying one to a bicycle rack.

Gorillas in the Backseat

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Massachusetts has a law against riding with a gorilla in your car’s backseat, which could be a simple misinterpretation of a different law. This more general law is meant to stop people from transporting large animals in small spaces for safety reasons, but the original gorilla law still exists. The chances of someone breaking it are pretty slim.

Silly String in Southington

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In Southington, Connecticut, you can’t use silly string on public property. This law is meant to help manage litter problems and stop any public disturbances during parades or other public celebrations. Before they created this law, it was probably a nightmare trying to clean up all of that mess.

Confusing Confetti

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Mobile, Alabama, takes its litter issues pretty seriously, as confetti is completely banned. State officials are trying to keep the streets clean, which makes sense in a town famous for its historical downtown and parades. This law keeps the streets and historic sites looking clean so that every event is as picture-perfect as the last.

Underwater Whistling

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Vermont has a pretty strange law that forbids people from whistling underwater, although we’re not sure how the government would enforce this. Are the lifeguards listening out for underwater noises? It’s also unclear where this rule came from, but it’s possible they were trying to stop disturbances at public swimming pools. 

Hunting on Sunday

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Several states have banned hunting on Sundays, which is likely because of religious views of it being a holy day. But in Virginia, you’re allowed to do it under specific conditions, like being within 200 yards of a place of worship. This way, the locals can still enjoy their traditions without worrying about disturbing the peace.

Bouncing Pickles

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Pickles are some of the most popular snacks in the South, but in Connecticut, you’ve got to be careful with them. There’s a law that states a pickle must bounce to be officially considered a pickle. This law might’ve come from quality control tests, where firmness was a sign of a properly pickled cucumber. After all, who wants a soggy cucumber at a picnic?

No Slippers After Dark

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In New York, it’s illegal to wear slippers in public after 10 PM, so you’ll need to find some more appropriate footwear to put on. It’s a law from bygone times when wearing nighttime attire in public was almost a sin. But don’t worry if you’re slipping out in your slippers because the cops are unlikely to enforce this law, though it’s still possible.

In Your Back Pocket

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Kentucky law forbids people from carrying ice cream cones in their back pockets, although we’re not sure why someone would want to do this in the first place. This law was apparently meant to stop people from luring horses away from their owners. But we doubt that horse thievery via ice cream was ever that serious of a problem there.

Changing the Weather

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In several states, you’ll need a permit to change the weather. It might sound weird, but these weather modification laws regulate things like cloud seeding, which can affect local agriculture and the environment. So, before you do any rain dances, remember that you’ll need to fill out some paperwork first.

Couches on the Porch

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Boulder, Colorado, has a law specifically against placing couches on the outside porch. It’s a pretty important law because it stops fire hazards in densely populated student areas, though it’s unclear why couches are specifically mentioned. Either way, it’ll also keep things looking nice because nothing ruins a scenic mountain view like a ratty old sofa.

Open Car Doors

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In Oregon, leaving your car door open longer than necessary is illegal, but the law doesn’t specify how long “necessary” actually is. It’s meant to prevent car accidents because it means that drivers and cyclists can get around without any unexpected obstructions. Leaving the car open too long is a Class D traffic violation.

Fortune-Telling

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Any fortune-tellers might want to avoid Maryland because it’s illegal there. You might think this sounds unfair, but it’s actually to help people avoid tricksters and means that any business practices are based on real services or products. Even so, there have been legal challenges to this law, as some people claim it goes against the First Amendment.

Limited Time for Bingo

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In North Carolina, you’re only allowed to play bingo games for a maximum of five hours, and playing for any longer means you’re running the risk of legal punishments. This law helps control gambling by stopping games from becoming lengthy affairs that encourage people to spend excessively. This way, people can still have fun without it spiraling out of control.

Drunk Bingo

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North Carolina’s pretty strict about playing bingo, as they’ve got another law that says you’re not allowed to play bingo when you’re drunk. Like the earlier law, this law stops people from getting too confident and losing all their savings through gambling. It’s also a way to avoid the chaos that comes from mixing booze with the excitement of bingo.

Feeding Pigeons

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Feeding pigeons is illegal in San Francisco because the city has a real problem with the pigeon population. This law also helps to reduce the health risks and mess of having these birds in public spaces. After all, nobody wants to deal with all that pigeon poop, and feeding them can lead to getting a fine.

Laundry on the Balcony

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Out in Minnesota, you might want to think twice before hanging your laundry on the balcony, as they’ve got laws against it. It’s meant to keep the neighborhoods looking nice because, let’s be real, it’s not exactly charming to have your underwear on display over dinner. It’s restrictive, but some people think it’s necessary.

Not-So-Happy Hour

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Iowa has a special rule on bar specials, which says they’ve got to run all day. This stops people from making rushed decisions about their drinks just because there’s a two-hour window on cheap drinks. This way, the good times can keep going for longer, and everyone can pace themselves.

Road Rage

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You’ll need to keep it clean when you’re driving through Rockville, Maryland because there’s a law against swearing out of your car window. Honestly, this is a law we can get behind because it keeps things polite and cuts down on road rage. If you’re feeling really angry, you might want to hold back on cursing until you’re no longer behind the wheel.

Detective License

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Mississippi makes sure its detectives are top-notch by requiring people to have a license to practice. If you ever need to hire a detective, you’ll know the person is actually qualified for the job and not just someone who’s watched too many crime shows. This licensing law keeps standards high and makes sure all detectives are the best in the business.

Overeating Sandwiches

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In Massachusetts, the government decided that three’s a crowd when it comes to sandwiches at a wake. Any more than that, and you’re breaking the law, which could’ve been a way to stop wakes from turning into a big gathering. They want to keep any after-service meetings both modest and manageable.

Wearing a Mask

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During the pandemic, many Alabamans were pretty worried about wearing face masks because of an old law. It banned wearing a mask in public, which came from the government’s attempts to fight back against the Ku Klux Klan. But recently, state officials told people to ignore this law as long as they were wearing face masks that only cover people’s noses and mouths.

Fitting Shoes

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Back in the day, some shoe stores used X-rays to get that perfect fit, but not anymore. Quite a few states have banned it because zapping your feet with X-rays just to check if your shoes fit? It turns out that’s not so safe after all. If you were trying on multiple shoes per day, you’d be dosed with way more X-rays than was safe.

A Bad Joke

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Why did the chicken cross the road? In Quitman, Georgia, it’s because the owner wanted to go to jail, as there’s a law against allowing these feathered friends to cross the road. It’s probably for their own safety and to stop them from causing any traffic issues. Keep your chickens in the yard if you’re in Quitman.

Sandwich Shops

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In Little Rock, Arkansas, there’s a weird law that bans people from honking their horns after 9 PM. But it’s not just honking in general, as it specifically bans people from doing it at sandwich shops to keep the peace in dining places. We’re not sure why you’d want to do this anyway, but you’re not allowed to anyway.

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