List of strange state laws on the books in Tennessee. These rules and regulations were passed by the Tennessee state legislature, or in an individual in Tennessee city, and for one reason or another, were never overturned, remaining active on the books until this day. Almost every city and state has some outdated, old-fashioned or even nonsensical laws on the books, and they can come about for a variety of reasons. Most frequently, the laws appeared in the books following a court ruling on a specific case, that then set a common law precedent from that point on.
Strange or unnecessary laws have become a popular source for humor, online and more generally in popular culture. TV shows like "The Simpsons" have had a lot of fun with the notion of small towns having peculiar regulations on the books. (In one episode, Mayor Quimby is surprised to find out the town charter mandates that all ducks wear long pants.)
Often, "dumb laws" as reported on websites and in humor books have been shown to be inaccurate. This sometimes happens because a real, sensible law has been exaggerated or misunderstood, turning into something that sounds silly or ridiculous. Other times, it is simply the result of a hoax being repeated enough times to gain some kind of credibility. If you think any of the laws on this page are not accurate or do not remain active in Tennessee, let me know in the comments below.
list ordered by
Stealing a horse Stealing a horse is punishible by hanging.
Crimes against nature “Crimes against nature” are prohibited.
Lasso for fishing It is illegal to use a lasso to catch a fish.
Netflix password It is a crime to share your Netflix password in Tennessee.
Live in the same house More than 8 women may not live in the same house because that would constitute a brothel.
Picking up trash on Easter day No Christian parent may require their children to pick up trash from the highway on Easter day.
Hitching post In front of their buildings, all businesses must have a “hitching post. (Knoxville)
Ministers Ministers are to be dedicated to God and therefore are not eligible to hold a seat in either House of the Legislature.
Roadkill It is legal to gather and consume roadkill.
Frogs It’s illegal for frogs to croak after 11 PM. (Memphis)
Woman driving a car Illegal for a woman to drive a car unless there is a man either running or walking in front of it waving a red flag to warn approaching motorists and pedestrians. (Memphis)
Participating in a duel Any person who participates in a duel may not hold any public office in the state.
Oral sex Giving and receiving oral sex is still prohibited by law.
Posting images online In Tennessee it is illegal to to post images online that cause “emotional distress” “without legitimate purpose”.
Riding a scooter All persons riding scooters must ride in single file. (Nashville)
Call a man for a date It is illegal for a woman to call a man for a date. (Dyersburg)
Hollow logs Hollow logs may not be sold.
Throwing bottles One may not throw bottles at a tree. (Bell Buckle)
Dumb animal The definition of “dumb animal” includes every living creature.
Ice cream cone It is illegal to transport an ice cream cone in your pocket. (Lexington)
Throwing stones Throwing stones is prohibited as it might break a window. (Nashville)
Fire a gun out the window When you pull up to a stop sign you must fire a gun out the window to warn horse carriages that you are coming. (Lenior County)
Skunks Skunks may not be carried into the state.
It Ain’t Goin’ To Rain No Mo An ordinance forbids anyone to sing the song “It Ain’t Goin’ To Rain No Mo’". (Oneida)
Unsual noises Bar owners may not let patrons make loud, unusual noises. (Kimball)
Playing Pinball To play pinball, one must be 18 years old. (Nashville)
Roller skate and listing to music No person may roller skate and listen to a personal cd player at the same time. (Nashville)
Permit before begging Panhandlers must first obtain a $10 permit before begging on the streets of downtown Memphis. (Memphis)
Holding hands Students may not hold hands while at school.