Weirdest Laws In Colorado

Weird laws and where to find them is a perennial source of entertainment all around the world, providing material for small talk, quizzes, and countless blog posts. One rumored tidbit in the United Kingdom, for example, is the idea that an outdated law still exists that an Englishman may legally shoot a Welshman with a crossbow on a Sunday — as long as the assault takes place within the city walls. Yet, as the Library of Congress notes, research has shown that the existence of such a law is an urban myth, as is the case with a great many supposed weird laws circulated online.

As an enormous country with a federal system of government, the United States has more laws than most. While some of the wilder laws that get shared around the internet under the assumption that they are true are in fact bogus, each state does indeed have at least a handful of strange, unexpected, or weirdly phrased laws on their books — if you're willing to look hard enough.

With that said, here is a smattering of just a few verifiable, 100% true laws that people must abide by in the state of Colorado, found right there in black and white in the Centennial State's municipal codes.

Aspen: snowball fights are illegal

Aspen, Colorado, like most places in the U.S., has a law in its municipal code illegalizing the throwing of projectiles at other people or their property. Makes sense, doesn't it? No one likes to have objects hurled at them, or have the paintwork on their car messed up by a flying object. However, there is one other aspect of Aspen's anti-missile legislation: It also outlaws the use of snowballs, which, in a famously snowy ski resort town, is a bit of a buzzkill.

"It shall be unlawful for any person to throw any stone, snowball, or other missile or discharge any bow, blowgun, slingshot, gun, catapult or other device upon or at any vehicle, building or other public or private property or upon or at any person or in any public way or place which is public in nature," according to the City of Aspen​​. Now, all that stuff about bows, blowguns, and catapults (which assumedly means the big trebuchet ones used in medieval warfare, as the Dennis the Menace pocket-sized version is already covered in "slingshots") is probably reasonable. But come on: No snowball fights?!

Boulder: no furniture outdoors

It seems unimaginable that a local government would feel the need to impose an actual law criminalizing the placement of furniture in an outdoor setting. Yet, that's exactly what happened in Boulder, Colorado, with the introduction of the law making the pages of The New York Times all the way back in 2002. So what was the deal? Was Boulder overrun with outdoor furnishings?

Actually, the law was reserved purely for upholstered furniture and was introduced into the municipal code to deal with one recurrent problem. Drunk students from the University of College campus would wantonly set fire to couches they had stolen from residential porches, a frat ritual that saw the immolation of more than 100 couches since the practice emerged in 1996.

Colorado students seemed to have a thing about fire at the turn of the millennium. "In 2001, some of the students turned a car over and there was gas running down the street toward a burning couch. Then they tried to stop the firemen from getting to it," one academic speaking to the newspaper recalled. Maybe hiding the soft furnishings was a good idea after all; hopefully, most Boulder residents have garages.

Pueblo: cut your weeds

While keeping potted plants has enjoyed something of a boom in recent years among people of all generations (per The Conversation), full-blown gardening has yet to have the kind of cultural cut-through as the task of religiously watering your monstera or talking to your Japanese peace lily every day. Of course, part of this is because only a minority of people have gardens; the other reason is that gardening is really, really hard, and getting good at it requires years of patience, an awareness of the changing seasons, and rigorous long-term planning. No wonder so many of us are happy to just let our garden do their own thing

Reluctant gardeners of Colorado, beware! In Pueblo, the municipal code of ordinances states that "it shall be unlawful for any owner of land to permit weeds in excess of ten (10) inches in height to grow, lie or be located upon such land. It shall be unlawful for the owner of land not to cut, destroy or remove from such land all weeds in excess of ten (10) inches in height." The law includes a list of invasive "noxious" weeds that need to be effectively controlled, but also common plants such as dandelions. If the owner refuses to get the lawnmower out, the code goes on to explain that the office of mayor has the right to cut the weeds for them, then charge the owner for the service.

Colorado: no Sunday car sales

For a seemingly unspecified reason, it is an offense to sell a car on the Sabbath in the state of Colorado. Per Justia, the ban comes under what the Colorado Revised Statutes calls "Sunday closing." According to the statute, "no person, firm, or corporation, whether owner, proprietor, agent, or employee, shall keep open, operate, or assist in keeping open or operating any place or premises or residences, whether open or closed, for the purpose of selling, bartering, or exchanging or offering for sale, barter, or exchange any motor vehicle, whether new, used, or secondhand, on the first day of the week commonly called Sunday."

The oddly specific law goes on to explain that, while Coloradans who want to sell an old Honda on a Sunday are breaking the law, they are more than able to sell a boat, or even a snowmobile, as these aren't covered by the ban. Similarly, it is stated that the law doesn't cover the sale of automobile accessories, so you can still buy gas or spare parts. This leaves open the possibility that you could assemble a vehicle from scratch using parts found on Craigslist and drive off into the sunset, knowing the cops can't touch you — although it might just be worth waiting till Monday for that Honda.

Boulder: Fighting words

There is one more strange law back in Boulder that regularly makes the internet's "weirdest laws" lists — mainly because of the odd scenario the wording of the law brings to mind. Under the heading "Use of Fighting Words," Ordinance No. 7974 of the Boulder municipal code has an unusual exception.

"No person shall, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another, repeatedly insult, taunt, or challenge another in a manner likely to provoke a disorderly response. If the person to whom such insult, taunt, or challenge is directed is a police officer, there is no violation of this section until the police officer requests the person to cease and discontinue the conduct, but the person repeats or continues the conduct," per the City of Boulder.

So, it appears that while in Boulder it is quite rightly an offense to threaten and verbally abuse your fellow civilians, you have a free pass when it comes to cops. Please note: It only appears this way thanks to the wording of the ordinance — it doesn't take a genius to work out what would actually happen if one were to head down to Boulder in the hope of letting off some steam in the face of a serving officer.

Demonstrating the unwieldiness of the law, in was announced in 2014 that the ordinance was to be amended, after the law was found "unconstitutional" by a district judge dealing with a "Fighting Words" case, though the case did not seemingly involve a police officer. The version of the ordinance quoted above remains its current wording.