Are Nooses Illegal?

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While neither making nor owning a noose is illegal, it may be illegal to publicly display a noose depending on the state in which one resides according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate group watch organization. A noose is an adjustable loop at the end of a rope used to hang a person. They were most commonly used for legal executions and lynchings.

The noose may be perceived by some people as a symbol of hate speech and possibly a violation of the First Amendment. Nooses are often perceived as showing support for the days of segregation and suppression, embodying the essence of discrimination. The First Amendment does not protect child pornography, obscenity, incitement to imminent lawless action, perjury, libel or true threats. Noose laws vary by state. Contact the local law enforcement agency to determine if displaying a noose is illegal.