Weirdest Laws In Delaware

At surface level, Delaware might seem a bit mundane. In fact, if you leave the scrutiny to Google and its savvy search engines, Delaware is literally the "most boring" state in the USA (via HuffPost). But dig a little deeper, and you'll soon find that contrary to popular opinion — this place is actually pretty quirky.

From being overrun by chickens to housing a colossal concrete monster that weighs about as much as 4,000 cats, (via Only In Your State), this state bursting with tiny cities and shore towns that vote based on chicken poop policies could be described as anything but boring.

Not only does Delaware have some wacky places to see and people to meet, but over the years, it has also passed plenty of weird laws that could leave you shaking your head in wonder. Here are some highlights of Delaware's strangest laws, and how they were drafted into the legal system.

It is Illegal for a pawnbroker to accept wheelchairs or artificial limbs

Delaware pawnbrokers must really be up in arms over not being able to cash out on all these wheelchairs and artificial limbs. The law, which falls under Title 24 section 2307b of the Delaware Code Online, is listed under "illegal transactions." A violation could result in a misdemeanor or up to $10,000 in fines, which is a pretty hefty price to pay for a wheelchair collection.

According to the Delaware Campus Library Blog, this law was initially passed in 1907 and originally included another caveat forbidding pawnbrokers from accepting workmen's tools. There is no word as to why they chose to drop the latter and keep this strange law about prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs as part of the legislation. One thing's for sure, if you see a valuable item in a Delaware pawnshop, and you're willing to give your right arm for it, don't even bother. They can't legally accept.

No hunting on Sundays unless, of course, it's foxes

According to Delaware legislators, there is no wrong day to hunt a fox, so long as you are doing so with a pack of tracking dogs. But on Sundays, oddly enough, all other animals are off limits to hunters. This is boldly written in red letters and emblazoned on the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control website, where it clearly warns that, "IT IS UNLAWFUL TO HUNT ON SUNDAY."

According to USA Today, this legislation is categorized as a "blue law" that likely dates back to colonial times and was drafted to ensure American settlers prioritized attending church over chasing deer. However, the current legislation does exhibit a loophole that legalizes hunting deer on private property and certain public spaces designated for the purpose of deer hunting on Sundays (via Delaware). In other words, there are many ways to leap through these legal loopholes if hunting deer on Sunday is of supreme importance to you.

No cursing, talking, or whispering near a house of worship

Speaking of blue laws that were likely drafted to appease colonial social norms, did you know you're not even allowed to whisper in a house of worship in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (via Business Insider)? This law's been a little hush, hush since the turn of the century, but technically it still exists.

According to section 198-22 in Article IV of Rehoboth's penal code (via City of Rehoboth Beach), it is unlawful to curse, speak, or even whisper within 300 feet of a house of worship. While many have interpreted this to mean not making noise in church, the word church is not expressly used in the official legislation. Section A describes "any congregation or assembly met for religious worship" and section b also makes it illegal to "disturb any lawful assembly or gathering of people in any public place." Failure to adhere is considered a civil offense, which could have legal repercussions.

No changing clothes in a public restroom or comfort station

The City of Rehoboth might call their public restrooms "comfort stations," but you better not get so comfortable in them that you start to change out of your bathing suit and into your street clothes or vice versa. Any disrobing in the confines of a public restroom at this beach is strictly prohibited, no matter how much sand has gathered in the seams of your swimmies (via City of Rehoboth Beach).

While it might seem silly at first glance, locals take this one pretty seriously because it is punishable under Chapter 126 of the city's civil offenses. As of late, there's really no safe place to change out of a swimsuit in Rehoboth, which is kind of silly given the whole appeal of this place is swimming. If by now, you're picturing uncomfortable sand-laden pedestrians shuffling in and out of boardwalk stores in cover-ups and towels leaving streaks of sand behind them as they walk, you've got a pretty accurate assessment of life at the Delaware beaches.

Restaurant owners better not even try to pass margarine off as real butter

Here's a law that truly deserves a spread. Delaware restaurant owners are strictly prohibited from serving "oleomargarine," which legislators deemed "applicable to the food product known as 'margarine'" to guests in their establishments without their knowledge. According to Find Law, Delaware Code Title 16 elaborately expresses Delaware's disdain for the oleaginous substance we have come to know as margarine and the penalties it carries if not properly served or sold.

Legislators painstakingly went to the trouble of making this distinction that margarine, be it creamy, yellow, or white, is absolutely not butter. Retailers who dare sell the abhorrent substance are legally required to display "a placard with the word 'oleomargarine' in plain uncondensed gothic letters not less than 1 inch high."

This all seems extremely silly until you learn that failure to comply can result in a year-long prison sentence (via Schwartz and Schwartz).