20. Most so-called strange laws aren’t laws at all
The vast majority of the reported strange or archaic laws said to be still in effect in the American states are urban myths, misinterpretations, or simply made up. Some are deliberate distortions of existing laws, as in the Massachusetts law which bans transporting wild animals in the back of vehicles. Since a gorilla is a wild animal and the law bans their transportation, some imaginative soul decided that Massachusetts had a law banning gorillas from the back seat and an urban legend was born. It could just as easily have been a wolf, or a bear, or some other animal which was at one time indigenous to the region, which would have led to yet another strange law which in reality doesn’t exist.
One strange law that does exist comes from the State of Tennessee and addresses the disposal of what is commonly called roadkill; dead animals in or alongside the roadways of the state. If the animal is a game animal a driver happening upon it (the law doesn’t say he has to be the one which struck the animal) is allowed to “possess it for your personal use and consumption”. If the animal happens to be a deer the law specifies whoever takes it must notify the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) within 24 hours, providing them the possessor’s name and address. Bears are also available to the finder, but with a permit issued from the TWRA. Good dining.
Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:
“Strange Arizona Laws You Should Know”. ENJURIS. Robert E. Wisniewski. Online
“Weird laws in Massachusetts”. Boston.com staff. June 18, 2015. Online
“The Myth of the Connecticut Pickle Law”. Debra Pond, Connecticut State Library Law Reference Librarian. August 2013
“Does Florida have a weird law about elephants and parking meters?” Ryan Harper, News 13 Florida. April 13, 2015. Online
“Do you speak American?” Dennis Baron, PBS Online.
“Animal Prisoner at the Bar”. Joseph P. McNamara, Notre Dame Law Review. 1927
“Virginia city threatens trick-or-treaters over the age of 12 with jail time to thwart Halloween mischief”. Danielle Garrand, CBS News. October 9, 2018. Online
“Weird traffic laws from each of the 50 US states”. Chris Riley, Autowise. September 28, 2018
“Strange North Carolina Laws That Will Have You Scratching Your Head”. Kelly & West News, Kelly & West Attorneys. Online
“Wow, these laws are stupid”. Kelly Bayliss, NBC 10, Philadelphia. July 17, 2009. Online
“Weird Laws in Nevada”. Ovation/Blog, Las Vegas Living. Online
“Strange Wisconsin Laws”. Ashley Steinbrinck, Whoonew.com. July 7, 2014. Online
“Sunday, Sabbath, and the Weekend”. Edward O’Flaherty, Rodney L. Peterson, Timothy A. Norton. 2010
“Visitor Arrested for Eating Chicken With a Fork”. Jessica Jordan, Gainesville Times. July 20, 2009
“25 obscure laws on the books in Oregon: Are you breaking the rules?” Michael Lloyd, The Oregonian. March 12, 2016
“Strange laws in Arkansas”. Amanda Galiano, tripsavvy.com. May 17, 2017
“50 Craziest State Laws From Around the United States” KARA LADD. GoodHousekeeping.com. Jun 18, 2020.
“Driving You Crazy: Can you really not drive a black car on Sunday in Denver?”. By Jayson Luber, Denver Channel, Jul 28, 2017
“Bizarre traffic laws from around the world: Don’t drive with a blindfold, check for children under the car!”, by FE Online, Financial Express, Jul 17, 2017
“It’s illegal to buy, sell or dye baby chicks, ducks, rabbits”, by Michelle Ganley, KSAT, April 16, 2019
“Don’t eat that frog: Wacky laws pose challenge for states cleaning up the books”, By Adam Shaw, Fox News, July 16, 2015
“Here’s Why We Pronounce ‘Kansas’ And ‘Arkansas’ Differently”, by Christina Sterbenz, Business Insider, Feb 8, 2014