Manhattan Institute

More Laws, Less Freedom

Rafael A. Mangual joins John Stossel to discuss how the expansion of state and federal criminal laws puts well-meaning citizens at risk of serious prosecution.

The number of state and federal laws carrying criminal penalties has grown dramatically since the mid-twentieth century. At the federal level alone, more than 300,000 laws and regulations govern ordinary business practices and everyday activities—and, if violated, can lead to prison time. The list of criminal laws by which Americans are bound continues to grow.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse for serious criminal behavior, of course, but no one can keep track of all the arcane rules being created by state and federal legislators. “Overcriminalization” is a threat to American liberties.

This video is part of a special collaboration with John Stossel and City Journal contributors.

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