Our federal criminal code contains more than 4,000 criminal laws, many of which are completely irrelevant and absurd. According to Heritage Foundation legal expert Paul Larkin, here are some examples of the more ridiculous federal criminal statutes:

  • It is a crime to make unauthorized use of the 4-H club emblem, the Swiss Confederation coat of arms, and the “Smokey Bear” or “Woodsy Owl” characters;
  • It is a crime to misuse the slogan “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”;
  • It is a crime to poll a service member before an election;
  • It is a crime to transport dentures across state lines;
  • It is a crime to sell malt liquor labeled “pre-war strength”;
  • It is a crime to write a check for an amount less than $1;
  • It is a crime to install a toilet that uses too much water per flush.

As amusing as these obsolete crimes are, they represent a larger problem with America’s criminal justice system. Overcriminalization — the overuse and misuse of the criminal law which threatens the liberty of ordinary citizens — results from the sheer number of unnecessary amount of criminal laws. Larkin points out that so long as a criminal law is contained in the U.S. Code, it will likely be there forever:

A criminal law enacted by the First Congress that still can be found in the United States Code continues to outlaw and punish the same defined conduct today, regardless of whether the reason why that act was adopted has become unimportant or has been long forgotten. The statute may have fallen into desuetude, but it remains good law.

Larkin recommends a thorough “pruning” of the code to remove archaic laws. England, which has 44,000 pieces of criminal legislation, has begun this process. Across the pond, it is no longer illegal to “handle a salmon under suspicious circumstances.”

What do you think? Should we prune these obsolete criminal laws?

Comments (183)

Art Nutter - March 18, 2016

I have thought for many years that to restore liberty to our country, a Congress should focus on eliminating useless or ridiculous laws.

I did the same thing with school board policies in our school district back when I was in public office.

I’ll run again for public office on this platform.

Sharon Briner - March 18, 2016

Yes, I think the British have a good idea pruning their law books, and so should we.

Shirley Jones - March 18, 2016


H J Raehn - March 18, 2016

What do I think? Should obsolete criminal laws be pruned? No, because pruning is performed so that the plant can be more productive in the long run. Instead, obsolete laws in states and the federal government ought to be eradicated/eliminated/made null and void.

Jerry Metcalf - March 18, 2016


WilliamJ. Parker - March 18, 2016

Even a small child knows to discard an item of no value. Sometimes our congress acts worse than a child.

Charles Thompson - March 18, 2016

Yes, impractical or obsolete laws should be stricken (“pruned”.

Gary Van Norden - March 18, 2016

Yes, this and all other silly laws need to be purged from our laws or some crazy radical will dig something up like these and bring an unwarranted lawsuit against some poor innocent individual by twisting the law even further.

M D Vick - March 18, 2016

Yes we need to clean out the stupid laws on the books.

Robert W Irwin - March 18, 2016


CAROL DAVIS - March 18, 2016

I almost think any laws Obama managed to sign into, or push thru Congress should be repealed. Wouldn’t it be great if we could repeal his entire administration, terms of office, etc.

John Herbert Sullivan - March 18, 2016


don greenwood - March 18, 2016

Yes, prune these laws

Rebecca Mayo - March 18, 2016

Yes, prune the laws and make them current and relevant.

Richard A Pitruzzello - March 18, 2016

We should probably “prune” 80% of the laws that are on the books.

c.anne gailey - March 18, 2016

ABSOLUTELY our useless laws should be reviewed!!! and eliminated!!! But we also should stop putting them together with some other bill and hence having so many ridiculous laws.

Bill Coates - March 18, 2016

I believe it is more important to prune out the more recent forms of over-criminalization, specifically the administrative-law penalties defined by our regulatory agencies; absurd penalties for harmless bureaucratically-defined actions that violate regulations no one would know about, or believe if they did find out.

Chris E Beemer - March 18, 2016

Absolutely, a good housecleaning of this nonsense is long overdue. We need to get a big eraser, rubbing all this stuff out. Yesterday would be soon enough!

James Anderson - March 18, 2016

If a law needs to be changed or revoked, it should be done by the lawmakers we vote for. It would be good to get rid of bad laws on the books rather than adding more bad laws to the books.

Susanne Kasee - March 18, 2016


Tom Adams - March 18, 2016

Grateful. Suspicious. Ha. I want to eat it to reach my required levels of ‘anti oxidants and omega 3’ … Swim salmon, swim!

Dan Bays - March 18, 2016

Yes, prune these obsolete criminal laws!

Linda Neckar - March 18, 2016


James Traffanstedt - March 18, 2016

We should start pruning every state and federal gun control laws that infringes our right to own and carry arms as directed by the Constitution.

We should also prune obviously ridiculous laws from our systems and prohibit new law not substantially relevant to security, safety, and truly immoral behaviors.

Paul Burnett - March 18, 2016


Jodie Cain - March 18, 2016

Absolutely, we should do a thorough pruning of these outdated laws still on the books and focus on the ones that matter in today’s day and age…Also, so some lawyer cannot pull forth one of said laws to cause mistrial or plead for any other underhanded misuse.

Ray Copelnd - March 18, 2016

Far too many laws that have no real meaning are present on our books causing confusion in many cases. Obsolete or useless laws should be purged from th books on a regular basis.

Ed Floyd - March 18, 2016

Obama should not be allowed to appoint anyone to any vacancy with less than a year left in office . He has done enough damage to our country. Yes, the criminal law codes need to be “pruned”

Beth Schulz - March 18, 2016

if there is time left after all the other important issues are addresses

Martin Kunstmann - March 18, 2016

Absolutely, they should be pruned by fair-minded people with no axes to grind.

ralph del bove - March 18, 2016

absolutely time to move on

Beth Schulz - March 18, 2016

if there is time left after all the other important issues are addressed

Michael Mulcahy - March 18, 2016

While we have a dead locked congress maybe it would give them something they could agree on.

Anne Fisher - March 18, 2016

it makes sense to remove laws that do not apply to anybody.

M with earle - March 18, 2016

Absolutely should be reviewed yearly. As why was the silly light bulb law passed ? All things need to be constantly updated. Many are laws passed to cover a period item, which no longer exists.

Sharon Smith - March 18, 2016

My husband and I believe about 90% of Federal laws should be repealed. There are more ridiculous laws on the books than these.

James Thomen - March 18, 2016


Christy Burns - March 18, 2016

yes i think there are too many ridiculous laws. and i don’t think obama should have the right to appoint the next Supreme Court Judge.

Betty R in MN - March 18, 2016

Yes. These old useless laws should be pruned.

Donald - March 18, 2016

Congress should review all laws every 15 years and ether reinstate them or they are dropped.

Angelique Fehr - March 18, 2016

Yes they need to go.

William S. - March 18, 2016

Absolutely ! There ara too many ridiculous and useless Laws on the Books

Paul Steckel - March 18, 2016

Absolutely, there are far too many laws, most of which are unnecessary. Who will undertake the job of pruning useless laws? Would the Heritage Foundation have the resources to lead the way. Perhaps all future laws could be required to have a sunset provision so that they would have to be reviewed and reauthorized say every 10 or 20 years.

Paul G Littlefield - March 18, 2016

Under the prevailing political clouds, I would advise to let sleeping laws lie. In the hands of the wrong pruners, some real life threatening “cuts” could be made that would endanger the life of our Republic. I studied the art of pruning trees, bushes and plants. I have seen real damage done by other, less well trained pruners and they had good intentions. Imagine, the malevolent progressive pruners of laws.

Connie Ellis - March 18, 2016

Most definitely! I’ve never in my life heard of such ridiculous laws. I wouldn’t think these are written in the U.S. Constitution, are they? In any case, it’s high time the laws in the Code that are beyond ridiculous, should be pruned along with, I might add, all the ridiculous studies that our taxpayer dollars fund each and every year.

Glenda Alley - March 18, 2016

I really think Congress should review these outdated laws/rules and do some prudent “pruning”

James D Paisley - March 18, 2016


David R.Lee - March 18, 2016

Prune the obsolete criminal laws.

Karen Bartlett - March 18, 2016

Indeed we should “prune” obsolete laws. And, in my opinion, we should “prune” regulations instituted by non-elected bureaucrats, who should have no say in the personal liberty of individual Americans who are simply trying to lawfully make a good life for themselves and their families.

John - March 18, 2016

Please start YESTERDAY!!!!

Vicky Derieg - March 18, 2016

Definitely get rid of the old obsolete laws.

sharon taylor - March 18, 2016

Of course.

Betty Steele - March 18, 2016

Yes, laws whose context no longer makes sense or are obsolete should be removed from the books. There should be a common practice to review older laws on a periodic basis, such as every 10years or so.

Chan Bailey - March 18, 2016

We not only need to prune the tree of laws to cut out the dead wood, we need to put a regular pruning in place just like for fruit trees. Annual reviews would be a good idea and help produce better fruit from the DOJ.

David Kahn - March 18, 2016

These laws definitely need to be pruned. Illinois you are a vagrant if you do not have $1 in your pocket. Utah a man is responsible for any crime his wife makes in his presence. Az illegal to refuse a person a drink of water. These are just some examples of United States law that desperately need rescinding. Congress….are you listening? I think not

Sandra Lyons - March 18, 2016

A mistake or misreading of the ruling should not have any bearing in the rights set out in the Second Amendment. The mistake and misreading need to be corrected or eliminate altogether.

Steve - March 18, 2016

Yes, a judicious pruning of obsolete laws is in order.

Charles Batteau - March 18, 2016

In 1982 a two-year study determined that there were about 3,000 criminal offenses in the United States Code. This number has almost certainly increased in the past 34 years and does not include the myriad regulations and rules created by the executive agencies of the US government. Not only should we prune “obsolete” criminal laws, we should work to reduce the total number of laws AND REGULATIONS that seemingly govern our every waking moment (and some of our sleeping ones).

Diane Kuhnly - March 18, 2016

Yes as long as the ones we do want and need are not touched.

Peter Smith - March 18, 2016

Not just these obsolete criminal laws, but a whole lot more. The federal government should not make any law that can be handled by a state: including “hate” laws, national registry laws (guns, sex offenders) etc. Adopt the principle of subsidiarity!

Carolyn Bruce - March 18, 2016

remove these silly laws

Lizelot - March 18, 2016

There are so many laws on the books it’s impossible not to run afoul of one of them unawares. Not only are there way too many laws, they are often badly worded and obsolete. Is there no way to pare this down to more manageable dimensions and applicability? Kerik is right!

Teri - March 18, 2016


Chris - March 18, 2016

Pruning of laws like the ones listed is paramount in order to move forward with our Congressional upgrade. I think 4 days during a “break/recess” should be dedicated to review of dual coverage laws by freshmen congressmen and senators. I would add that sophomore senators and congressmen should devote 3 days to reviewing any law that has been on the book for more than 50 years. Then if they get elected again the second term congressmen should be required to bring in front of CSPAN the vote roles of those in Congress who decided to say nay to any criminal removals, so we voters can ping our representatives properly about this inaction. This action would put our state representatives on notice also.

Susan Harrison - March 18, 2016

Yes, obsolete laws should be removed.

Alan Harris - March 18, 2016

Yes they should be removed. However, there are plenty of current laws that should be repealed as well. This is not high on a priority list however. There are more important things to do. It does show the importance of having the majority of laws “sunset”, however.

Esther Rachwal - March 18, 2016

Yes, we should make those stupid laws
obsolete. But we must force our liberal
press to print the truth and not biased
reports. No wonder so many people are
confused since they only hear one side
of the story. Let’s make ads showing
the hypocrisy and then show the truth so people can see for themselves how they are being misled.

Brian Cleary - March 18, 2016

Much of the U.S. Code should be eliminated, leaving most criminal prosecutions to the states’ and local law enforcement. True federal crimes should only be those which are against the enumerated powers or the Constitution itself.

John Di Marco - March 18, 2016

All laws should have sunset provisions. I think 10 years is a fair length of time. Afterwards, they can be renewed or tweaked or let expire. Reviewing past laws, and analyzing their impact/results will allow Congress to better understand the impact of past actions and hopefully make better laws in the future. Also, spending their time reviewing old laws will maybe prevent their constant desire to erode our freedoms by enacting yet more laws just for the sake of telling their constituents that they are doing something.

JUDITH RUNION - March 18, 2016

Absolutey ,Yes- & Before anymore are written

DORISANNE SHUEY - March 18, 2016

Wow! My bank should know this! They issued me a check for less than a dollar for over payment of an account. I was just going to let it be credit until I needed it,but they sent me a check , YES real silly !
Dorisanne Shuey

James Owen - March 18, 2016

It appears Laws like these, were not debated out with any reasoning, or plan to right some wrong by penalizing the doer of these disasterly deeds. Take them off the book surly ;…. and we have such persons lurking in the shadows that will place more such rules and regulations as to strangle free enterprise. Be ever vigilant !!

donna swanson - March 18, 2016

silly laws should b gotten rid of

Helen - March 18, 2016

Yes, I agree that those laws should be reviewed and “common sense” be applied. They are so ridiculous!

Barbara Greenside - March 18, 2016

Definitely prune ridiculous laws from the law books.

Everett Puterbaugh - March 18, 2016

Did you also know that it took nearly a century for the progressive courts to accept congress’ delegating it legislative duty to the executive — with the included judicial authority, too? (It’s called “administrative Law”.) But we must start somewhere…

David Dierking - March 18, 2016

Perhaps every new federal law proposed should be forwarded for consideration along with one or more archaic no longer needed laws currently on the books. Removal of out of date statutes can be done legislatively along with passage of new laws.

Allen Godin - March 19, 2016

Wipe the books clean back to the Constitution.

Sonja - March 19, 2016

Yes, the U.S.of A. laws need to be pruned of all unnecessary and “out-of-date” laws.

barbara brendlinger - March 19, 2016

archaic laws are redundant and should be pruned and well as more modern ‘stupid’ ones.

Art - March 19, 2016

Definitely. Long overdo.

Vicki - March 19, 2016

I think we need to focus on the really critical issues of our time, our decade, our election year and the next four years, first. If we manage to achieve a reasonable peace in our nation, with secure borders and wisdom in immigration reform (as opposed to agendized immigration reform), then maybe some folks could start the process of pruning the laws on our books. Congress has more important things to focus on, right now.

Jim Reid - March 19, 2016

I think pruning old laws out of the record would be good at least until such time as we determine that it has become a subjective process

Carroll Williams - March 19, 2016

Yes, outdated laws should be scrubbed from the books, just as outdated government programs, and government departments, such as the Department of Education and Department of Energy, should be done away with, as soon as they are no longer beneficial to citizens.

Victoria Macki - March 19, 2016

I am somewhat spooked to think that on a daily basis, I likely violate a number of laws, most of which I never heard of. I know that “ignorance of the law is no excuse”, although I think it really is. The biggest ones (derived directly from the “big 10”) should make sense and directly have to do with the general welfare with respect for individual freedom. So prune away!

Luke Asbury - March 19, 2016

Prune our legislators first! We also need term limits.

Carl - March 19, 2016

Yes prune them and the idiots that created them

Tom O’Grady - March 19, 2016

It depends on who is given the authority to decide what is obsolete, and what is not.

Michael Phillips - March 19, 2016

It should have been done a long time ago. Every time a new law is added to the books the pre-existing law that was replaced or amended should be expunged. Otherwise, we end up with laws that contradict each other still on the books and the courts must decide which is law.

Robert Pozzi - March 19, 2016

General code pruning is appropriate. It should be done prudently. Your example citing “low flow” toilets is not an ancient residue. I encountered it when selling a rental property in CA several years back. Water costs will continue to rise; conservation is needed. My protest in that case was that a couple of large bricks in the tank would have reduced water flow. That was not permissable; you may be able to find the lobby for plumbing outfits behind that constraint.

Michelle Haisley - March 19, 2016

There are so many ” so called” blue laws in this country it’s unbelievable; many of which should be removed : i.e. spitting on the sidewalk ( just an example) can be enforced if an officer so chooses. These types of laws are long overdue for an overhaul. Many of these laws serve no purpose what so ever., other than to allow law enforcement and our government to infringe upon the freedoms of many law abiding citizens to be illegally detained, searched and held at the discretion of the so called law. Obama should not be allowed to choose the next Supreme Court justice, and the people should be the ones with the last word in this one just because he has caused enough damage to this country. It makes me wonder if his election was fixed because he should have never gotten in for a second term just like Malloy in Connecticut , they have destroyed everything that was near and dear to the middle class and the poor and left them with no hope of ever being able to get ahead in this life but only left to frown in debt because of loss of jobs outsourced, taking away what use to be a cost of living adjustment, made it so there are only part time jobs and made it easier for companies to not have any responsibilities toward making sure people are insured. Obama care will bankrupt this country more than people can imagine, his irresponsible spending and lack of respect for this country and our military is appalling. I just.can’t understand why he hasn’t been impeached. Does he really have that many politicians in his pocket and how can a one term senator have so much power with executive order and power that no one can stop him in his quest to destroy this country ?!!

Michael Hirt - March 19, 2016

Of course we should.

jim e schroeder - March 19, 2016

Yes, prune old,outdated laws off the books. Just don’t spend a fortune doing it.

Harry Morse - March 19, 2016

common sense is very uncommon. the notion that the code doesn’t undergo scheduled review is another sign of that lack of any sort of governmental management ethos.

James M. Hammonds - March 19, 2016

It is an excellent idea to “prune” the federal code (and state criminal codes) to “weed out” archaic and unnecessary laws. (But don’t allow them to enact any new criminal codes or laws in the process!)

Judith Rae - March 19, 2016

There are many silly and obsolete laws that can make any ordinary person into a ‘criminal’. Those should be repealed, as they take away our freedoms. As to illegal aliens, if they are terrorists/radical Islams, then no those types should not be allowed to have weapons. However, the criminal will always find a way to purchase on the black market.

William Weidenbacher - March 19, 2016

Prune the obsolete laws!

Marion and Elizabeth Bickford - March 19, 2016

Indeed, yes! The Criminal Code should be “pruned”.

Fred Mullett - March 19, 2016

STOP the pay for anyone who was involved with making those stupid laws- mentioned in the forwording.And wait for our next president to fill the supreme court better yet Let we the people VOTE THEM IN.

Donald J McGovern - March 19, 2016

Yes, we should absolutely prune these obsolete criminal laws. Point of fact is that Congress passes too many laws that are not even read before they pass the law. Obama Care is an example of the latter.

Jack - March 19, 2016

Pruning of unjust criminal laws should be done by Congress to assure that federal time and dollars are not spent unnecessarily by “the people’s” government.

Jane Williams - March 19, 2016


Norman Evans - March 19, 2016

Yes, the laws need to be “pruned”, by someone with common sense!

Charles Brown - March 19, 2016

All irelavent laws should be pruned from the system.

Mary Lou Johnson - March 19, 2016

We should prune archaic laws from the books, as long as there is someone of good judgement doing the pruning.

Mary Craddock - March 19, 2016

Yes, these old laws should be off the books.

crerar, john - March 19, 2016

Cull the laws and remove the unnecessary and those that belomg to non-Federal juridictions.

Allen Casebolt - March 19, 2016

I think the criminal laws should be pruned but the cost of doing it and the process should be considered carefully. Just to weed out a few silly laws that are not enforced anyway may not be worth the cost compared to other needs for money that might have greater importance.

Barbara Chadwick - March 19, 2016

We should get rid of laws that do not make sense in our world today.

David Lopez - March 19, 2016

I think there should be a review of laws that are ridiculous should be removed.

Pearlious Bledsoe - March 19, 2016

Many laws on our books are obsolete and should be purged.

Pearlious Bledsoe - March 19, 2016

Yes, prune the obsolete laws.

rudolf graef - March 19, 2016


Lucille Milano - March 19, 2016

In the age of flights to the moon , we need a panel of younger citizens , such as law students to review and create lists of obsolete laws to removed. I think the English have a great idea.

Lucille Milano - March 19, 2016

In the age of flights to the moon , we need a panel of younger citizens , such as law students to review and create lists of obsolete laws to be removed. I think the English have a great idea.

Gaylan Abood - March 19, 2016

We should prune the obsolete criminal laws and streamline our laws for simplicity to obey and prosecute.

Mark Morton - March 19, 2016

Yes, get rid of outdated laws.

steve dix - March 19, 2016

congress must prune down all laws on the books that are absurd by modern standards

Kenneth G. Marx - March 19, 2016

Every time something happens that sounds like it should be illegal, somebody says there ought to be a law and a new law gets passed despite the fact that there are probably several laws on the books already that deal with that situation. Congress needs to establish a time table, say, five years hence, wherein all existing laws expire and must be affirmatively replaced or no longer exist. The same goes for all regulations. Also, every agency should be evaluated for discontinuation.

Mike Clark - March 19, 2016

Yes do prune obsolete laws

Michael Tucker - March 19, 2016

I agree these ridiculous “laws” should be repealed.

Linda - March 19, 2016

For each new law passed, an existing law should be eliminated. Perhaps this would bottle up the passing of more laws.

Robert W Holden - March 19, 2016

Sure, much of the criminal code should be eliminated. Keep only that which will be enforced (ala NYC broken windows a few years back). Perhaps a project for Heritage to repeatedly present 50 at a time? (Don’t want to overburden the Congressional mental capacity).
And how about State law? I’d bet there are many that are even more ridiculous than the Fed variety..

Clair Williams - March 19, 2016


Woodie McCarty - March 19, 2016

Far too many Federal laws are clearly intruding into the lives of Citizens and Taxpayers and not intended by the U.S. Constitution. Removal of all these laws and the expensive Bureaucracy surrounding them needs to be abolished – A major priority for survival of the U.S.

Bobbie Jingle - March 19, 2016

Yes, these obsolete laws need to e ‘pruned back’.

Dick Brennan - March 19, 2016

Lots of ridiculous laws on the local, state and Federal level, like you can not drive thru an intersection over 20 mph. Time to get rid of these “laws” Many others are on the books that step on our Christian values also. Time to go !!.

Frank Freidhoff - March 19, 2016

Severe pruning is needed. There are way to many useless laws on the books.

Louise Christensen - March 19, 2016

Please prune period piece legislation and lighten up the law books!

Barbara - March 19, 2016

These obsolete “crimes” are not amusing, they can be dangerous. If a person wants to go after someone, they can use these laws as a starting point to perhaps go after a warranty for property search or some other invasion.

Don Scheiber - March 19, 2016

Down with antiquated and irrelevant laws. They unnecessarily encumber our lives.

donald Gray - March 19, 2016

By all means lets get rid of all such laws!

W M Remington - March 19, 2016

Yes, but …
In the same way that my PC has obsolete files on it and should be pruned, our laws need to be updated. But the cost must match the benefit. Don’t let the tail wag the dog.
This looks like a good project for law schools to use to familiarize students with criminal law and have a beneficial side effect — with adequate supervision.

Linda G. White - March 19, 2016

Yes, I believe we should prune these obsolete laws unless they can be shown to have clear intent and basis under the Constitutional Law for the good of civil society. Laws should be easy to understand and thoroughly applied when a person is outside the law.
Some laws are just silly. Why clutter up civil law. It is similar to our ridiculous and obsolete tax code which should be “pruned”.

Paul D’Aigle - March 19, 2016

Yes, absolutely. Sunset law philosophy should also be increasingly used.

Bruce Mehew - March 19, 2016

Absolutely but knowing liberals in government, they’ll look for any way they can to keep such laws on the books just so they can have more power and control of our lives.

Normas Dyche - March 19, 2016

Its been over bearing with the amount of restrictive laws passed over the years. Let congress and staff evaluate and start some pruning. the n I guess we can start over with modern laws that fit the crime.

Timothy R. Buttner - March 19, 2016

All law should be subject to “sunset” provisions, forcing legislators to revisit them on a regular basis: busy with this actual task, legislators would do, less mischief with new legislation…

Perry Anderson - March 19, 2016

Many states have done this, I do not know if any effort has been done at the federal level. This of course would require another full department with a complete gaggle of lawyers which we would be told, as they review the ancients, are politically arguing which should be sent before the Supreme Court for final judgement. All laws need a sunset clause for review. If it applies it would not need to be reenacted, just forward dated for the next review, If not it goes. Some “smarter than thou Democrat” will agree and state that the Constitution as well should have a “sunset” clause. Well that is why they are Democrats, not a whole lot of thought just a lot of emotion.

Scott Brooks - March 19, 2016

I think so, these laws seem like entrapment laws.

Bernita Way - March 19, 2016

There were a lot of things that were declared as illegal back in the 18th century that do not apply today. Those ridiculous laws should be taken off the books and maybe put in an archive somewhere so that we might remember what was done long ago.

Kenneth Wieringa - March 19, 2016

We first have to appoint Judges that know
and interpret the Constitution correctly. Then we should also over turn the made up laws of the past.

john - March 19, 2016

yes, it needs, our laws, pruning.

Hal Chamberlin - March 20, 2016

Silly laws on the books reduce the respect for law overall. Besides the “pruning” mentioned, I believe that all new criminal laws should have an expiration date. That will prevent this problem from recurring and ensure that criminal laws keep up with the times

James Nichol - March 20, 2016

If a law doesn’t affect the natural laws of humans. Then the law should be written with a sunset rule. This way if it is a sensible law the sunset rule can be renewed if needed.

Jim Dick - March 20, 2016

Yes, they should be cancelled, but very carefully with at least a modicum of thought.

Doug Kaess - March 20, 2016

It seems it would be the only reasonable thing to do. Remove these outdated laws.

Karis - March 20, 2016

Yes, our criminal.laws definitely need serious pruning

J. H. Webb - March 20, 2016

We should appoint select conservative legal scholar trainees working in the U.S. House of representatives to review our current laws that are currently on our books and present them en masse to the proper leaders for approval thru the legal process to have them removed from our system. I have long thought we have so many laws on our books that virtually no one reviews them for applications to current situations but instead write new ones to further burgeon our system – to further complicate our existing system.

Henry C. Holder - March 20, 2016


Esther Sidat - March 20, 2016

Yes, prune the archaic laws, but who will do the pruning?

Victress Jenkins - March 20, 2016

The sooner, the better!! There needs to be a revamping of the “sunset provisions” regarding outdated legislation.

Dennis Ray Smith - March 20, 2016

Yes, and it’s about time.

Karen - March 20, 2016

Yes, get rid of these ridiculous laws….we have enough frivolous lawsuits as it is…..

Blossom Grace - March 21, 2016

crazy laws make no sense.

George Danz - March 21, 2016

Yes we SHOULD PRUNE OUT stupid and irrelevant laws from our codes.

Art Davis - March 21, 2016

In some states the penalty for horse thieving or cattle rustling is still hanging. So yes we need to reconsider archaic laws and remove them.

Bill & Betty Whitehead - March 21, 2016

Common sense (although, it seems, many in Congress do not possess it) would dictate that we remove old, obsolete laws/rules that are no longer useful or meaningful after a short review using proper jurisprudence. But then again, I digress!

Anita Roberts - March 21, 2016

It is very important to watch the putting down or making of laws. , especially when it comes to “who” is doing the adjusting. May I ask who is in a position to adjust the laws we live by? We have no faith in the Democrats, and since they are in office, they will certainly do what best suits them.
God help us! Anita

Anita Roberts - March 21, 2016

Junk should be done away with, however, it is important to make it ok for everyone and not just one party or elite group of Americans. That has been a hugh problem
for decades. Anita Roberts-March 21,2016

Patrick j. Gilhooly - March 21, 2016

Yes, I believe we should “prune” these obsolete laws. There is too many redundant laws made in this country, and I believe for every new one, there should be a removal of an obsolete one, at least..

Karen Pautler - March 21, 2016

First – – This cannot be done well until we get a common sense, moral president, and common sense senators and representatives. Otherwise, what we call good laws will be eliminated by the non-Judeo-Christian leaders currently in power who think our good laws are useless and ridiculous. Please remember, those currently in power think the opposite from our thinking regarding laws. Also, we cannot take their word for it if they are Judeo-Christian. We ourselves must educate ourselves enough to judge whether they live by the Judeo-Christian way of life.
Second – – Look what our current President did – vetoed the decision of both houses of congress so he could keep funding the abortuaries of Planned EX-Parenthood.
Third – – I agree we must not prune these outdated laws. Yes we should eliminate them.
Fourth – – They must – not – be put into a bunch. They must be thought about and decided upon individually.
Fifth – – All our proposed laws should be considered individually and not in bunches.
Sixth – – Again, our current leaders are – not capable – of doing this job right. Look what they did to our whole health care system. They can not be trusted with any job, no matter how small.
Seventh – – A wise lawyer said many years ago that the reason we now have so many laws on the books is because the original Ten Laws have been abolished.

Bethany Meadors - March 21, 2016


David Campbell - March 21, 2016

Isn’t this a “Captin Obvious” question? Of course we need to reduce the number of laws. If anything, we should err on the side of too few laws instead of too many.

Linda Braden - March 21, 2016

Useless laws as well as unnecessary laws that infringe on our liberties should be removed, declared null, void or whatever the proper language is to reduce the volume and scope of stuff that makes us less free. Less government, less laws, more freedom.

Elaine Coles - March 21, 2016

There are too many ridiculous laws, and laws that are constantly made that the people are totally unaware of.
Years ago there was a law in Minnesota, I believe, that a woman’s hair belonged to her husband.
This also proves that the government believes they have the right to control our lives simply by making up laws that are frivolous and cumbersome for the people.
Why can’t those who are voted into office do what the people ‘tell’ them to do.
Because they no longer work ‘for the people’.

David B Goedde - March 21, 2016

Start first by removing all welfare assistance to illegals (school, housing, etc.) Let their be private funds donated for this. They may stop coming if the free ride is eliminated. Eliminating unnecessary laws is not a priority right now, but it should be done. Start with the presidents executive actions that are out of bounds.

Bkuehne - March 21, 2016

You would think this would be a no-brainer.

Val Lemen - March 22, 2016

Of course we ought to prune old laws. Get with it! Val

Lincoln Craighead - March 22, 2016

Yes,useless {obsolete} laws should be scrapped. Also we should eliminate the
stupid requirement that ballots should be available in foreign languages. To vote you must be a citizen, which requires
knowing English.

Cindy Morgan - March 22, 2016

YES! Such laws waste our money and the time of those who have to enforce them.

Barbara Nibert - March 25, 2016

Yes , we definitely need to prune or just remove. If they are no longer needed, why prune, some of these I don’t know why they were there to begin with.

Bill Layton - March 25, 2016

It should be no surprise that the responses are overwhelmingly in favor of removing such silly and/or obsolete laws. It’s simply common sense. However, what is Heritage going to do with all this information? Just gathering all the comments doesn’t get the necessary action done!

michael kaulakis - March 26, 2016

It’s a sad day when we even have to ask this question. What has our country come to when this isn’t done automatically. Sunset all legislation to make people think about it again.

Wisesooth - March 28, 2016

How a cap-and-trade policy on new legislation. Require every new law to repeal at least one existing lawwith no option to suspend the rules to allow exceptions. This should fix the problem.
Sincerely Irish, Wisesooth

Mary Kelly - April 1, 2016

yes Sunday laws on the books should also go.

Emily Farmer - April 3, 2016

maybe if we start with obsolete laws we will get to recent absurdities.

Emily Farmer - April 3, 2016

Do you really think Washington is capable of doing this right?

Winston Sparks - April 25, 2016

YES, by all means ! Agree that obsolete laws “ought to be eradicated/eliminated/
made null and void.”

Julia Wood - May 28, 2016

In Utah, if you are planning on driving a car on any street, someone with a lantern needs to walk ahead, announcing that your automobile will be, shortly, on that road. OH Yes – you can be arrested in Utah for Not following this circa 1900 law. Obsolete laws are clogging up the courts in this country.

Andrew Lazarus - December 3, 2017

Most of those laws seem to me to make good sense. Incidentally, the “law” against a check under one dollar appears to me to be a statute prohibiting governments or banks from issuing unauthorized currency (happened during the Civil War and the Great Depression).

DONALD R MOLINE - January 30, 2019

Which federal law makes it illegal to write a check for an amount less than $1.00?

Brian Douglas - March 6, 2019

Come on now! You are obviously preaching to the choir.
Someone once said that “everything they ever needed to know, they learned in Kindergarten.” Basically live by the golden rule. Treat others as you should be treated.
By the the time we reach such tender age we already have an inheritant understanding of right and wrong.
We know not to steal from others, not to kick punch or hurt one and another. Notwithstanding the white lie as to protect another’s feelings, we know untruthfulness or to fib is wrong. Of course, Moses was given the Ten Comandments, which was a greater expounding or study of the basic Golden Rule for grownups.
Now back to the subject of all these ever increasing burdensome legislation of the greater good and standing record for inflating some political ego or ambition to prove their self important place in the historical record and greater indulgence of do’er of good.
If one was to appear before the justice to answer upon charges of action in violation of some legal doctrine or written law. Ignorance of the law is not in any way an excuse for an action or past deed already executed. In otherwords you either did or didn’t cross the boundary , black or white it matters not why . Just the facts did you or didn’t you? The judge will remind you as he remands you …. Ignorance is no excuse for the law.
What do we need to do? Revolt? Ask the man if he knows and can recite on the spot every single law enacted or published in the last Federal Registry during the last session of congress off the top of his head? During such duration you may need an abacus to count the total of all the new laws or proposed rule making. During the same session how many fingers does it take to count the laws that were repealed? Usually less than one hand to count the repealed.
Everyone in this Country is likely a felon or has committed some felonious action at some point within the last 90 days. I am almost certain.

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