Weird Laws That You Didn’t Know Existed

Some of the weirdest state laws include not being able to dance with a sombrero atop one's head in New Mexico and it being illegal to import a skunk into Tennessee.

By Brian Scheid | Published

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In the United States, we have a federal government that produces overarching laws to govern the citizens of the country. Since the country is so large with our independent states, we also have individual State governments that enact laws that are more specific to that state’s needs. As the United States approaches its 250th birthday and many generations of legislators have had an impact on our individual state’s laws, we want to take a look at some of the strange and weird laws that are on the books or recently repealed.

These laws may sound a little weird but the reason they are on the books is that at some point in that state’s history the strange type of event the law is governing had to have been a problem that needed legislation from state lawmakers to curb or stop it from occurring. For instance, a law that was enacted in the state of New Hampshire states that it is illegal to collect seaweed or rockweed from seashores below the high water mark to haul away and sell it out of state.

This obviously addresses the problem that citizens of New Hampshire are protecting their natural environment from seaweed pirates that would come to their shores and pillage all of the seaweed for their own monetary gain, leaving the natural habitat devoid of an important species that helps prevent their seashores from eroding at a faster pace.

In the state of New Mexico, it is illegal to dance while wearing a sombrero which seems like a weird law to have passed by your state legislators. However, it seems that at some point in the state’s history, there was a clear and present danger to the citizens because of people combining dancing and the love of their sombrero. It is okay to dance in other forms of head coverings like a baseball cap, cowboy hat, or even a beret, just don’t dance while wearing a sombrero or you could be in big trouble.

It has been said throughout human history that a man will say just about anything to try and get a woman to want to have intimate relations with them. South Carolina faced a specific type of problem with men promising a woman marriage to get them in bed, but then wouldn’t follow through with the proposal. They enacted a law that states that any male over the age of 16 can not promise marriage as a tactic to seduce a woman or else he will be forced to pay a fine and may be imprisoned for up to one year.

In Tennessee, it is illegal to import a skunk into the state, according to Fox News, “The law prohibits “any person” from importing, possessing or causing the importation of a live skunk in the state of Tennessee. Selling, bartering, exchanging, and transferring a skunk is not allowed.” The State of Utah has a limit on the size of the container you can sell beer in, so if you are looking for a keg party there, you are not going to find one. If you are trying to protect your sunflowers from a flock of birds, do not do so by using fireworks or explosives in the state of South Dakota, but thankfully this law was repealed in 2018.

Another weird law is if you want to sell your car and it happens to be a Sunday you will have to wait for the next day as it is illegal to sell a vehicle on Sundays in New Jersey. Pennsylvania had an issue with citizens setting off explosives and firing guns as a tradition at weddings so they made it illegal to do so. In Nebraska, in the marriage qualification code, it is forbidden to get married if you or your partner has a sexually transmitted disease.

Some of the other weird laws that deserve a quick mention are in Nevada you can gamble just about anywhere but, it is illegal to sell lottery tickets for profit.  Montana has a law that does not allow you to drive livestock on railroad tracks to impede the progress of a train. North Carolina has a law that states you are not allowed to steal kitchen grease from an establishment or kitchen grease containers. 

As you see when the states are left to write laws to govern their citizens and are reacting to problems that may be only affecting their state or region can lead to some weird laws on the books. If you use your imagination, it is funny to think about some of the scenarios that may have brought those issues to the forefront of their state’s legislators or the debate that those politicians engaged in prior to passing said law.