Americans are well aware of standard legal norms like not running red lights or shoplifting, but what about selling cars on a Sunday in Missouri? Yes, that’s actually illegal. In this first part of our three-part series, Fox News Digital brings you some of the most bizarre laws from Alabama to Missouri, offering a glimpse into the peculiar legal landscape across the U.S.
Alabama: Don’t Impersonate Clergy Members
A criminal code in Alabama states that no person will pretend to be a minister of religion or any other member of the clergy (nun, priest, rabbi).
If the law is broken, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor.
The punishment, according to Alabama code Title 13A, is “a fine not exceeding $500.00 or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”
Alaska: Keep Quiet with Loud Tools at Night
In Fairbanks, Alaska, it’s illegal to operate or use loud instruments between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., according to the city’s code of ordinances Chapter 46, Article II, Sec. 46-42.
This includes “a pile driver, pneumatic hammer, bulldozer, road grader, loader, power shovel, derrick, backhoe, power saw, manual hammer, motorcycle, snow machine or other instrument, appliance or vehicle which generates loud sounds or noise, after having been informed by another that such operation or use is disturbing the peace and privacy of others,” the city’s code on Offenses Against Public Peace and Order states.
Arizona: Hands Off the Crane Game
In Arizona, it is illegal to mess with a crane game, according to Title 13, Chapter 33.
“No person shall alter the game so the claw is unable to grab prizes, display prizes in a way where the claw is unable to grab those prizes, use money as prizes or award prizes in the game which are redeemable for cash or currency,” the law states.
It’s also against the law to misrepresent the value of prizes that a person may win in a crane game.
Breaking this law is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Arkansas: Silent Horns at Late-night Sandwich Shops
In Arkansas, “no person shall sound the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9:00 p.m.,” according to Little Rock’s code of ordinances Chapter 18, Sec. 18-54.
In 2020, Reuters also reported on Arkansas Title 1 — which addresses the pronunciation of the state name.
General Provisions Chapter 4 on “State Symbols, Motto, Etc.” states that Arkansas “should be pronounced in three (3) syllables, with the final “s” silent, the “a” in each syllable with the Italian sound, and the accent on the first and last syllables.”
“The pronunciation with the accent on the second syllable with the sound of ‘a’ in ‘man’ and the sounding of the terminal ‘s’ is an innovation to be discouraged,” Reuters said on its FindLaw page.
California: No Frog Feast After Jumping Contests
California’s Fish and Game Code, Article 2, Frog-Jumping Contests (6880-6885), states that any number of live frogs are allowed to be used in frog-jumping contests.
Should one of the poor creatures pass on or be killed during the competition, however, “it must be destroyed as soon as possible, and may not be eaten or otherwise used for any purpose,” the law says.
Colorado: Indoor Furniture Only Outdoors
In the Centennial State, no person shall keep, use or store upholstered furniture outside unless that furniture is specifically manufactured for outdoor use.
This may include upholstered chairs, upholstered couches and mattresses in the front, side or backyard.
If the furniture is temporarily placed in an outside location in the hope of selling it at a yard sale, however, that’s apparently a different story, according to Colorado’s “General Offenses” under Title 5, Chapter 4, 5-4-16.
Connecticut: Keep ‘Silly String’ Away from Minors
In the city of Meriden, Connecticut, no person shall sell or offer silly string “or like products” to a minor unless that minor is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, Chapter 175, 175-2 states.
If placed for sale, these products must be in a locked case or behind a store counter.
It’s also reportedly illegal to use “silly string” or like products on Halloween in Hollywood, California (Los Angeles, Article 6, Public Hazards SEC. 56.02.).
Delaware: Whispering Prohibited in Places of Worship
Under Rehoboth Beach, Delaware’s Article IV Offenses Against Public Peace and Safety 198-23, no person may disrupt religious worship “by noise, talking or whispering, or by rude or indecent behavior, or by profane language within their place of worship, or within 300 feet of the place of worship,” the law states.
These rules also exist in reference to the disturbance of any lawful assembly and/or gathering of people in a public place.
Florida: Hands Off Alligators
Under Florida Code Title XXVIII Chapter 372 under “Wildlife,” the law states that no person shall “intentionally feed, or entice with feed, any wild American alligator.”
This includes American crocodiles, the code states.
People who are allowed to feed the reptiles must be licensed and or do so for “educational, scientific, commercial or recreational purposes” and only while the creatures are in protected captivity.
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel, for example, can feed gators.
Georgia: No Poultry on the Loose
Section 8-1 of Georgia law has rules against “domestic fowl running at large.”
“It shall be unlawful for any person owning or controlling chickens, ducks, geese or any other domestic fowl to allow the same to run at large upon the streets or alleys of the city or to be upon the premises of any other person, without the consent of such other person,” the law states.
Hawaii: You can’t post a billboard except in special cases
The Aloha State forbids outdoor advertising unless under special circumstances (Vol10, Chapter 0436-0474, 445-112).
For example, Hawaii officials apparently will allow billboards only on the property that is actually selling the item or service that’s being advertised.
Idaho: You can’t carry a red or white cane unless you’re fully or partially blind
Idaho’s Title 18 in Crime and Punishments, in Chapter 58 under Public Health and Safety, states that no persons unless completely blind or partially blind may use a red or white cane.
Only people who are blind may carry a cane in this color, according to the law.
In addition, no person who isn’t blind or partially blind is allowed to carry a cane that’s white tipped with red.
Illinois: You cannot dye a baby chick
It is against the law in the Prairie State to sell, offer to sell, trade or display “living baby chicks, ducklings, goslings, or other fowl or rabbits which have been dyed, colored or otherwise treated so as to impart to them an artificial color,” according to Chapter 7-12, Animal care and control.
The law also states that the animals should not be given away as prizes.
Indiana: Don’t even think about catching a fish with your bare hands
Fishing is allowed in the Hoosier State — but Indiana prohibits people from taking fish from the water using “the hands alone.”
Title 14, Article 22 under Chapter 9 also states that a net, dynamite or explosives may not be used, among other methods.
Iowa: Don’t pass off fake butter as real butter
In reference to imitation butter under Title V, Chapter 192, section 143, the product can only be sold under the name of “oleomargarine.”
Imitation butter also cannot be advertised under the words butter, creamery or dairy — among other terms.
Kansas: Don’t use playgrounds if you’re over age 14
In Wichita, Kansas, no person over the age of 14 — with some exceptions — may use playgrounds that are designed for children, “which deprives or prevents the use of such equipment by children” (Sec. 9.03.430).
This law does not apply to parents and guardians who are participating with their children, by the way.
Kentucky: Do not use reptiles in religious services
In Kentucky, under Chapter 208, Section 1, it’s against the law for a person to “display, handle or use” any breed of reptile in connection with religious services.
This law, according to Kentucky Revised Statutes, has been in effect since 1942 — and those who break is will be fined anywhere from $50 to $100.
Louisiana: You may not have reptiles at or near Mardi Gras
Leave your snake at home. Section 34-21 of the New Orleans Code of Ordinances states that no reptiles are allowed within 200 yards of a Mardi Gras parade and not less than two hours before the published start time of a parade.
The animals also must not be within 200 yards of the end of a parade “for not less than one hour after the actual end of the parade,” the law says.
Maine: You can’t gamble at the airport
In Biddeford, Maine, under Section 14-2, it’s illegal to engage in gambling at the airport.
It’s also against the law to be intoxicated “or commit any act constituting a nuisance on the airport.”
Maryland: Forget about ‘stench bombs’
In Baltimore, Maryland, it’s illegal to manufacture, sell or trade a “stench bomb,” which is defined as “any liquid, gaseous or solid substance or matter of any kind which is intended to be thrown, dropped, poured, deposited, or discharged for the purpose of producing a noxious, nauseating, sickening, irritating or offensive odor.”
Anyone who violates this law is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be subjected to a fine, according to Article 19, 59-32.
Massachusetts: Be careful how you play the national anthem
In Massachusetts, whoever sings or plays “The Star-Spangled Banner” on an instrument in any public space “other than as a whole and separate composition or number” will be fined.
There are other stipulations to this rule as well (Section 264:9).
The fine must not be more $100.
Michigan: There’s no drunkenness on trains
Michigan law, Act 68 of 1913 (436.201, Section 1), states that no person shall ride any railway train if inebriated.
Minnesota: You can’t be charged with drunkenness
In Minnesota, it is noted in Section 340A.902 that no person “may be charged with or convicted of the offense of drunkenness or public drunkenness.”
Mississippi: Don’t use profanity
If you swear in Mississippi, you can be fined up to $100.
This law, in Title 97, Chapter 29, also includes public drunkenness.
Missouri: You can’t sell cars on Sundays
Just as in New Jersey and apparently in some other U.S. states, it is illegal to sell a vehicle on Sunday, according to Missouri’s code 578.120.
The law states that “no dealer, distributor or manufacturer” who isn’t licensed “may keep open, operate, or assist in keeping open or operating any established place of business for the purpose of buying, selling, bartering or exchanging, or offering for sale, any motor vehicle, whether new or used, on Sunday.”