Most laws are created to protect people or property in some way. But sometimes outdated laws stay on the books because legislative bodies don’t bother to repeal them.
Occasionally laws are based in cultures that can leave visitors confused. And sometimes you’ll find laws that seem like such common sense you can’t believe they even had to be written down.
Let’s look at some examples. Here are 15 funny, dumb, and crazy laws from around the world.
1. Most chewing gum is banned in Singapore.
Since 1992, it’s been illegal to import or sell general chewing gum in Singapore.
While the rule was partially repealed to allow gum specific for dental health, as well as nicotine gum sold through doctors or pharmacists, there are still heavy restrictions and recreational gum can’t be sold.
Tourists, however, are allowed to bring up to two packs of gum with them on their visits.
2. Swearing in public in St. Kitts could get you in hot water.
Rapper 50 Cent found out the hard way this small Caribbean nation takes public swearing seriously. He was arrested after swearing on stage during a performance.
3. In Billings, Montana it’s illegal to buy or raise rats as pets.
As many pet-parents can tell you, rats can make for intelligent and loving pets. Sure, they’re not for everybody.
But in Billings, Montana it’s actually illegal to buy or raise rats at all – unless you’re buying them to feed your reptiles or birds of prey. Are we sure a snake didn’t write this law?
4. If you want a pet guinea pig in Switzerland, be prepared to raise two.
Not all unusual pet laws are about demonizing certain animals like rats. Sometimes it’s about the animal’s own welfare.
Switzerland understands guinea pigs are social creatures. So if you want to raise one there as a pet, you’re required to get more than one.
5. In the UK, it’s illegal to fire a cannon within 300 yards of someone’s house.
The crazy thing about this law is that the Brits have felt a need to keep it in effect for this long. (It was enacted in 1839, and at least was still in effect around 2015.)
6. You need a permit to feed garbage to most pigs in Arizona.
If you want to feed garbage to swine in the state of Arizona, you’ll need a permit. You’ll also have to renew that permit every January. Don’t worry though. If you’re raising that pig for your own consumption, you’re exempt.
7. In Oregon, it’s illegal to fling feces from a moving vehicle.
There are some things that deserve to be enshrined in law. And there are some behaviors your parents should have instilled in you before you turned five. This is a case of the latter.
Yet Oregon felt a need to make it outright against the law to throw human waste from a moving car. Leave the poo-flinging to the monkeys at the zoo, you animals.
8. You could get arrested for peeing on the Alamo.
Not urinating on public monuments should be another no-brainer, but you could risk prison time and hefty fines if you relieve yourself on the Alamo while visiting Texas. Just ask Daniel Athens.
9. In France, it’s legal to marry a dead person.
Apparently since World War I, France has had hundreds of requests for posthumous marriage each year. And they can be legally approved for reasons such as legitimizing a child. ‘Til death do them part?
10. In China, you better remember to visit your elderly parents.
Ideally adult children will see their parents often out of love and duty. But to battle elderly neglect, China made it law in 2013.
Perhaps it will prompt more people to take a break from their busy lives and spend time with loved ones.
11. It can be illegal to take and share photos of the Eiffel Tower at night.
Blame this crazy law on copyrights. While you’re free to take and distribute, or even sell, photos of the Eiffel Tower that you take during daylight hours, the same rules don’t apply at night.
That’s because the light display on the tower is protected by its own copyright. Don’t worry if you’re just taking photos as personal mementos. The problem is if you distribute them without permission. That includes on social media.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to find a lawyer if you share a photo on Facebook. But you might want to avoid commercial use like uploading them to stock photo sites.
12. In Denmark, you might not legally be allowed to name your child what you want.
Several countries have naming standards for babies, where choosing a silly or highly-unusual name might have their registration rejected. But Denmark’s are a good example.
They have a list of around 7000 names you can choose from. But fear not if you were hoping for something more original. You can apply for a name outside the list to the Ankestyrelsen and hope for approval.
13. In Indiana, it’s illegal to catch a fish with a firearm (or with your bare hands).
Unless you can convince someone to issue a special permit, in the state of Indiana you better come equipped with a hook and line if you want to go fishing.
Catching fish bare-handed or by shooting at them with a firearm (though why would you want to?) are both illegal.
14. It’s illegal to pump your own fuel in New Jersey.
When you visit most gas stations in the U.S., you get out of your car and pump your own fuel. But not in New Jersey – the last holdout state in the country making it illegal.
There you stay in your car and let an attendant fill up your tank. What’s the worst that could happen if you pump your own gas? You could be fined $50-250 for your first offense and up to $500 each offense after.
15. In Kentucky, it’s illegal to marry the same man for a fourth time.
You would think you’d have learned your lesson by the third marriage to the same guy. But apparently some need a little sense driven into them by the state. So Kentucky made it illegal to marry the same man four times.
If you’re a real glutton for punishment though, you might still be able to tie the knot again in a neighboring state.
What are the craziest, most humorous, or most stupid laws you’ve come across where you’ve traveled or lived?