Batuhan: Dumb statute

Allan S. Batuhan
·3 min read

STUPID laws do exist, even in the most civilized countries in the world. Here are some that, believe it or not, still exist in the United States today (“50 Craziest State Laws From Around the United States,” Kara Ladd, “Good Housekeeping,” 18 June 2020). Here’s a sample of some of the dumbest.

In Arizona ... it’s illegal for a donkey to sleep in a bathtub.

In Virginia ... you can’t go trick-or-treating if you’re over 14 years old.

In Vermont ... it’s illegal for women to wear fake teeth without their husband’s approval.

In New Hampshire ... it’s unlawful to pick up seaweed off the beach.

In Minnesota ... dirty tires are banned.

In Maine ... it’s illegal to park in front of Dunkin’ Donuts.

In Kentucky ... a woman cannot marry the same man four times.

In Indiana ... it’s illegal to ride a horse above 10 MPH.

In Hawaii ... it’s illegal to place a coin in one’s ear.

In Michigan ... you can’t sell your vehicle on a Sunday.

There’s a lot more to these lots; in fact, the Good Housekeeping piece lists at least one dumb statute for every state in the union. Though none of them are seriously (perhaps never) enforced today, they still exist in the books. And, dumb as they may sound today, they did have their perfectly rational reasons at the time. The Arizona statute on donkeys, for instance, was enacted because an animal that regularly slept in his owner’s bathtub caused a flood that damaged an entire town. Not sure how it happened, but it supposedly did. And so the law came to exist, though due to its apparent silliness in today’s context, it is never enforced.

Here’s one though that is seriously followed to this day, though many may argue it properly belongs in the category of the above dumb statutes.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (Amend II of the US Constitution, Passed by Congress Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified Dec. 15, 1791).

Yup, that’s the one. The very same law that, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is responsible for the 475 gun-related deaths and injuries, PER DAY. Far too many, when you consider that just this past few weeks alone, the US has already had three mass shootings which could have arguably been prevented by proper regulation of firearms in the United States.

Like the “dumb” US statutes that still exist, the Second Amendment made perfect sense at the time it was passed. After all, nations used to invade each other regularly at that time, so having armed citizens at the ready was essential to national security.

Today though, the perfect logic of the Second Amendment makes just as much sense as banning donkeys from sleeping in bathtubs. The US has the most powerful military in the world, and arguably the most stable democratic institutions in the entire planet. Of what use are guns in today’s world, when all it does is kill and injure hundreds of Americans needlessly?

The British Redcoats that regularly threatened to burn the White House when they felt like it are threats no more — they are now among friends and allies. So are the Japanese and the Germans, and especially the Canadians and Mexicans. No one country in the world, not even many countries at once, dare take on the might of the US military.

Perhaps it’s time that the Second Amendment be added into Good Housekeeping’s list of the dumbest US statutes then?