[Ed. – It used to be that bookstores sold amusing compilations of silly city and county ordinances from across America. Now, the federal government has been in the same business for decades — and it’s no laughing matter.]
Welcome to the 21st century. Today more than 300,000 federal criminal laws are on the books. There are so many, in fact, that stating the exact number is impossible. No one knows for sure how many there are.
“They are published in the bowels of the federal register — the place where few people outside of law firms and major corporations look to find laws — and are often drafted in ambiguous and often hyper-technical language that can’t be understood,” writes John-Michael Seibler, a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. …
But still, you may be thinking, these crimes must be pretty bad. Well, let’s see. Has your dog ever barked at a squirrel? Depending on where the squirrel is, you may be in trouble. It’s a federal crime to allow a pet to make a noise that scares wildlife within a national park.
Let’s say you work at an ice-cream shop, and you put a few too many drops of wine into a wine sorbet that’s for sale. Uh-oh. That, too, is a federal offense, punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.