what is a weird law in utah

The Weirdest Laws in Utah: A Comprehensive Guide

Utah, known for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant cultural heritage, also harbors some of the most peculiar laws in the United States. While laws are designed to maintain order and safety, a few statutes in Utah might have you scratching your head, wondering about their origins. This article explores some bizarre regulations, ranging from prohibitions on causing catastrophes to restrictions on violin transportation.

Catastrophe Prevention: More Obvious Than You’d Think

In an attempt to cover all bases, Utah law explicitly makes it illegal to cause a catastrophe through various means, including weapons of mass destruction, fire, flood, avalanche, and building collapse (UT Code § 76-6-105). While it might seem redundant to state that causing mass destruction is illegal, this law ensures there’s no ambiguity when it comes to large-scale disasters.

Provo’s Projectile Problem

Provo City takes the safety of its citizens seriously, to the point where throwing rocks, sticks, snowballs, or “other missiles” is a misdemeanor offense (Provo City Ordinance 9.14.100). This law aims to prevent injuries and property damage, ensuring that what starts as playful fun doesn’t end in a courtroom.

Logan’s Linguistic and Liability Laws

In Logan, the law once forbade women from swearing, and uniquely, held husbands accountable for crimes their wives committed in their presence. This law, discussed by Utah representatives in 2000, reflects outdated gender norms and the concept of marital liability.

Landlocked Whale Hunting Ban

Considering the state’s landlocked geography, Utah’s prohibition on whale hunting (UT Code § 23-15-9) is perhaps the most bewildering law. This curious statute serves as a reminder of the sometimes inexplicable nature of legal codes.

Salt Lake City’s Auctioneer and Entertainment Ordinances

Historically, Salt Lake City had some peculiar regulations regarding auctioneers. At one point, hiring trombone players to attract attention was off-limits, as was using “immoral or indecent language” (Salt Lake City Code §5.54.310). These laws were likely intended to maintain public order and decency but now add a touch of whimsy to the city’s legal history.

Additional Oddities

Other peculiar laws in Utah have included restrictions on carrying violins in paper bags down the street in Salt Lake City, limitations on how close dancing partners can be, and a surprisingly strict two-day time limit to bury deceased pets. Many of these laws seem archaic and are likely no longer enforced, yet they remain a part of Utah’s legal landscape.


Utah’s strange laws offer a fascinating glimpse into the state’s legislative history, reflecting a range of societal norms and concerns over time. While many of these laws may no longer be relevant or enforced, they continue to intrigue and amuse, serving as quirky reminders of the complexities and peculiarities of legal systems. Whether these laws are a testament to thoroughness or an artifact of bygone eras, they undeniably contribute to Utah’s unique character.

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