It is essential that any society has laws to protect the health, safety, and well-being of its citizens. Governments and legislatures have enacted some unusual laws, unfortunately including many racist and sexist regulations. There are enough unusual laws and bills on the books to make you ask, who would make these up and why? Are these unusual laws really needed? And what was the political, religious, or economic climate at the time that these directives were created? You be the judge.  

Radiation in Nevada

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Most people are aware of the harmful effects of radiation. After all, dentists do not put an apron over you so you can look more fashionable. Nevertheless, some people still prioritize trying the latest and greatest newfangled item rather than taking care of their health. The shoe fitting radiation device has become such a problem that Nevada enforces a law prohibiting people from using the device. The 2014 Nevada Revised Statutes 202.245 states: “Shoe-fitting device or machine using X-ray or radiation makes it a misdemeanor for the operation of any shoe-fitting device or shoe-fitting machine that uses fluoroscopic, X-ray or radiation principles.” This device determines your shoe size by scanning it with x-rays.  

Blindfolds in Alabama

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Though it might seem like common sense, in Alabama, they decided to create the Alabama Code Title 32 — Motor Vehicles and Traffic § 32-5A-53 — which prohibits driving while blindfolded. Being able to see while driving is certainly something we need to do, however, after watching the hit movie Bird Box, people have attempted to complete their daily tasks blindfolded. Therefore, these crazy acts need a law. Remember, it is not safe to drive while wearing a blindfold.

Cacti in Arizona

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According to Arizona Laws, cutting down a cactus is considered a class four felony: “The maximum punishment associated with the destruction of native plants is a class four felony, according to 3-932 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.” If you do want to remove a Saguaro plant from your property, the law requires landowners to contact the Arizona Department of Agriculture. Once they give you a permit and tag the plant, you will receive permission to remove it. One question to ask is: How will a person be caught if they cut down a cactus? Are there surveillance cameras surrounding cacti or neighbors?

Bingo in North Carolina

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Bingo games cannot last longer than five hours in North Carolina. If the game goes on too long, the cops can throw you in jail. The law only affects certain organizations that take place in North Carolina. It states that you cannot play more than one game in 48 hours, and the prize cannot exceed $500. What if you and a friend love playing bingo? To be arrested for playing more than five hours seems awfully silly.

Sex in Virginia

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In the state of Virginia, having sex before marriage is considered a crime and is a punishable offense. A bill to decriminalize fornication is stuck in politics. HB914 would repeal the state statute that classifies it as a misdemeanor for “any unmarried person to voluntarily have sexual intercourse with any other person.” Those convicted face a $250 fine but no jail time.

Slacks in France

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Yes, France is not in America. However, who could resist the irony that the haute couture center of the world had a law that made it illegal for women to wear slacks. In 1799, a Paris law made it illegal for women to wear slacks in public without special approval from the police. This was amended in 1892 to allow women to wear sport trousers while riding horses. In 1909, the Paris law permitted women to wear slacks while on bicycles. According to BBC News, women are “finally able to wear trousers”— in 2013, the French government revoked this 214-year-old law.

There are some of the unusual laws in America and around the globe. Many of them have a colorful history and may have seemed reasonable at the time. Some had political and religious agendas that have stood the test of time. At the end of the day, we all must abide by laws that protect our well-being and safety.