The federal government has created more than 400 new crimes since 2008, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
In a June report to the House Over-Criminalization Task Force, the CRS identified 439 new criminal offenses to the U.S. Code between 2008 and 2013.
A 2008 analysis by the law scholar John S. Baker for the Heritage Foundation found that, between 2000 and 2007, the government added 452 crimes to the books, indicating the government has increased the rate at which it created new crimes.
The 2008 report identified “at least 4,450 federal crimes.” Adding in the CRS report tally, there are now 4,889 federal crimes on the books.
Many of the new crimes simply expanded the criminal code surrounding fraud, racketeering, child pornography, recruitment of child soldiers, and other crimes often pursued by federal prosecutors.
However, there were a few new activities liable to land one in federal prison. For example, it is now a federal crime to conduct “high seas navigation of an unflagged submersible or semi-submersible vessel.” The law was created in response to so-called “narco-subs” used by drug cartels in South America.
Another new section of the code “criminalizes mailing cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.”
Hey, and that’s with Congress not exactly in overdrive. Imagine if they were working at full capacity to make new things illegal, as the Left wishes they could. Damn near everything could be illegal by now! Sadly, we have missed out on much progress on this front. Vox laments.
Read Ciaramella’s whole piece to get an idea of exactly what you’re now not allowed to do.
What’s good to know is that, even though government officials have so very much on their plates, the state of Pennsylvania’s not letting anything fall through the cracks. In small-town Pennsylvania, the state Department of Agriculture is making sure free Americans don’t establish a system for trading seeds from their gardens:
CARLISLE — It was a letter officials with the Cumberland County Library System were surprised to receive.
The system had spent some time working in partnership with the Cumberland County Commission for Women and getting information from the local Penn State Ag Extension office to create a pilot seed library at Mechanicsburg’s Joseph T. Simpson Public Library.
The effort was a new seed-gardening initiative that would allow for residents to “borrow” seeds and replace them with new ones harvested at the end of the season.
Mechanicsburg’s effort had launched on April 26 as part of the borough’s Earth Day Festival, but there were plenty of similar efforts that had already cropped up across the state before the local initiative.
Sixty citizens— or should I say criminals???— signed up for seed trading, according to reports, and no one thought there was reason to worry about the legality of this rather modest endeavor that doesn’t even actually involve commerce. Oh, but they forgot about the Seed Act of 2004, which the Department of Agriculture claims means they can crack down on the trading of seeds to curb the twin scourges of mislabeling and agri-terrorism.
The commissioners were equally flabbergasted by the change of events, as well as with how the agriculture department handled the investigation — sending a high-ranking official and lawyers to a meeting with the library.
Darr explained that the Seed Act primarily focuses on the selling of seeds — which the library was not doing — but there is also a concern about seeds that may be mislabeled (purposefully or accidentally), the growth of invasive plant species, cross-pollination and poisonous plants.
The department told the library it could not have the seed library unless its staff tested each seed packet for germination and other information. Darr said that was clearly not something staff could handle.
The Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania, due to public outcry, has decided mercifully not to shut down seed libraries entirely but to spend a bunch of man hours and tax dollars coming up with a complicated regulatory protocol for free citizens who frickin’ wish to give cucumber seeds to one another.
Now, if only we could make this seed library thing a federal concern, we’d really lick all our problems. Sure, Pennsylvania sent a lawyer and a high-ranking official to deal with a seed-sharing ring, but I bet the feds could send a SWAT team. Get on it, USDA!