by Mark Nestmann, Activist Post:
Do you own a dog? You could face six months in federal prison if you walk it on federal lands and your leash is longer than six feet.
Do you have a bank account? If you deposit or withdraw more than $10,000 in cash over multiple transactions, you could be imprisoned for up to five years. Plus, they could take every penny in the account, under the theory it “facilitated” your crime.
Do you have foreign investments? Neglect to tell Uncle Sam about them, and the penalties will be brutal. Forget to file just one form? You could face a $10,000 penalty per account per year.
There’s no requirement that you know any of these crimes exist for you to be found guilty of violating them. After all, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”
Given this, you might think Uncle Sam would make it easy to understand exactly what’s legal and what’s not. Think again. In 1790, the first set of federal criminal laws contained a grand total of 20 crimes. Since then, the number of federal crimes listed has bloated beyond recognition. No one knows how many federal crimes exist, although a 1998 study from the American Bar Association concluded the total was likely “much higher” than 3,000.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Federal agencies have the power to “make” laws called “Administrative Laws” out of thin air. Violate one of these, you will end up in a cell. Indeed, the number of federal regulations carrying criminal penalties may be as high as 300,000.
And don’t forget about state and local laws. In Arizona, you face 25 years imprisonment for cutting down a cactus. In Mississippi, it is illegal for a male to be sexually aroused in a public place. In Pennsylvania, a woman was arrested for swearing at a clogged toilet.
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