Editor's note: The following is based on John Stossel’s latest video collaboration with City Journal, featuring Rafael Mangual on how “overcriminalization” puts well-meaning citizens at risk of serious prosecution.
A law in South Carolina bans playing pinball if you're under 18. That's just one of America's many ridiculous laws restricting freedom.
"There is a role for the government in keeping people safe from actual criminals, people who commit murder, robbery," says Rafael Mangual, a "tough-on-crime" guy at the Manhattan Institute.
"But a lot of laws don't keep people safe," he says. "There's a federal prohibition on walking a dog on a leash longer than six feet on federal property. It is a jailable offense."
Three hundred thousand federal criminal offenses are on the books. "It's way too big," says Mangual. "Part of that is because we don't take any old or outmoded laws off the books."
In Michigan, prosecutors filed criminal charges against a 10-year-old who, during a dodgeball game, threw a ball at another kid's face.
John Stossel is an award-winning television reporter known for his career on both ABC News and Fox Business Channel. He is the author most-recently of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed."
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