Looking for Fourth of July events? Duluth has the largest fireworks display in the state, Minneapolis is shooting lasers instead of fireworks, and there a ton of community festivals all around our area in southern Minnesota.

When you attend one of these festivals or host your own party, it's common to see people wearing patriotic apparel. A listener called our morning show on Friday to ask if these people are breaking the law and after a little reading I've learned a lot about the federal flag code.

Read what the law says about the shirt you're planning on wearing below, but first, as I was searching for info, I learned that our favorite sports teams violate the flag code all of the time.

We've all seen the giant flag that they stretch across the field for the national anthem. That's technically a violation. Section C says, "The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally."

 Are US Flag T-Shirts and Swimsuits Against The Law?


Section D of the Federal Flag Code says, "The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery."

What about the stuff with the flag printed on it?

The federal flag code says, "The flag should never be used for advertising purposes whatsoever." It also states the flag shouldn't be printed or embroidered on items intended for temporary use.

Marc Leepson, author of “Flag: An American Biography” told CNBC, "Every item of apparel that they’re wearing that has an American flag on it: shirt, shorts, bikini, hat, technically is in violation of the flag code.”

Here's how the Minnesota law reads:

609.40 FLAGS.

Subdivision 1. Definition.

In this section "flag" means anything which is or purports to be the Stars and Stripes, the United States shield, the United States coat of arms, the Minnesota state flag, or a copy, picture, or representation of any of them.

 Subd. 2. Acts prohibited.

Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a misdemeanor:(1) intentionally and publicly mutilates, defiles, or casts contempt upon the flag; or

(2) places on or attaches to the flag any word, mark, design, or advertisement not properly a part of such flag or exposes to public view a flag so altered; or

(3) manufactures or exposes to public view an article of merchandise or a wrapper or receptacle for merchandise upon which the flag is depicted; or

(4) uses the flag for commercial advertising purposes.

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