Biggs Describes Overabundance of Federal Crimes and How to Cut Back

Biggs Describes Overabundance of Federal Crimes and How to Cut Back

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
May 1, 2024

Did you know you might be unwittingly committing three felonies a day? The overabundance of federal crimes in the law books was the subject of a recent hearing hosted by Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ), where he led an opening statement on the "kneejerk" legislation passed by Congress criminalizing various acts over the past 200 years, resulting in a dense amount of laws spread over multiple agencies to the point that "the laws are so obscure and vague, that even law enforcement and federal agencies are unaware that they exist."

Attorney Harvey Silvergate's book on the numerous obscure and vague laws in the United States Code of Federal Regulations is a stark reminder of the need for potential reforms. As The Hill points out, 'We find that there is no single place where an American can go to learn what is a federal crime. The laws are scattered pell-mell throughout the code. Some are so vague that no reasonable person can know what they mean.'

Rep. Biggs highlighted two particularly bizarre laws in his statement, illustrating the absurdity and confusion caused by the overabundance of federal crimes. He mentioned that it is "a federal crime to try to sell a quarantined zebra while it is still in quarantine" or another criminal offense "to offer to buy swan feathers for use in making a woman's hat."

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Other famously strange laws are found in Mike Chase's "How to Become a Federal Criminal," which, while not mentioned by Rep. Biggs, includes offenses such as "clogging a toilet in a national forest," "writing a letter to a pirate," and "drinking beer while riding a bike in a national park."

As Biggs pointed out, "What we all too often forget is that many of the problems we seek to solve are actually state and local issues," yet Congress continues to introduce federal crimes to the law books.

The Arizona Congressman concluded with what appeared to be a subtle jab at the prosecution of former President Donald Trump, which many on the right believe to be politically motivated, by saying, "Note that prosecutions, even politically inspired ones, are protected under a veil of legitimacy because of the overabundance of these criminal laws that Congress keeps putting in place."

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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