10 of America's Stupidest Laws

Sasha Brown-Worsham

If you want to deliver the Gettysburg Address at the Lincoln Memorial, make sure you get a permit first. This is a lesson Phillip Howell, 25, learned the hard way this past Presidents' Day when he went to the memorial all prepared and was told by the police that he would have to take his speech elsewhere.

Howell was confused as to why it is actually illegal to read the words carved into the memorial’s wall in a loud voice, he told the Daily Caller, but he obeyed. Instead, the 6-foot-4 Howell, who looks a lot like Abe Lincoln himself, moved to the bottom of the steps and delivered the rest of the speech. Simple, right?

Howell may have gotten around the law (sort of, anyway), but obscure and bizarre laws are not unique to Washington, DC. Here are 10 strange laws that still stand around the country:

  • In Alabama, it's illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle: So, um, duh? Does anyone think this SHOULD be legal? Did we really need a law telling us this?
  • In Massachusetts, candy may not contain more than 1% of alcohol. While the law makes sense to me having just eaten some pretty potent chocolate liquor balls in Belgium, it sounds a little strange.
  • In New Jersey, it's illegal to pump your own gas.
  • In New Mexico, "idiots" cannot vote. Don't believe me? Read it: "Every citizen of the United States, who is over the age of twenty-one years, and has resided in New Mexico twelve months, in the county ninety days, and in the precinct in which he offers to vote thirty days, next preceding the election, except idiots, insane persons, and persons convicted of a felonious or infamous crime unless restored to political rights, shall be qualified to vote at all elections for public officers."
  • In Ohio, it's illegal to mistreat anything of great importance.
  • In Arizona, hunting camels is prohibited. Because there are so many camels?
  • In South Carolina, you must be 18 to play pinball. Obviously this one is because of the many wild and crazy pinball machines in other states, right?
  • In Maryland, you may not have oral or anal sex. Good thing Clinton was technically in DC, no?
  • In Florida, it's illegal to sell your children, which begs the question: Is it legal somewhere else? 
  • In Pennsylvania, until 2002, one was not allowed to swear in front of women and children. 

So much for land of the free. Jeesh!

What laws surprise you?


Image via ChadH/Flickr

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