An Oklahoma lawmaker has introduced a bill that would make wearing a hoodie — the popular cold-weather garment that protects your face and head from the elements — a crime punishable by a fine of up to $500, KFOR (Oklahoma City) is reporting.
Ostensibly, the proposed hoodie ban is meant to make Oklahoma safer from people who would conceal their identity, but civil liberties groups argue the ban is little more than another means of racial profiling.
The proposed Oklahoma hoodie ban (21 OS 1301) makes it a crime to wear a mask, hood, or other facial covering, either during the commission of a crime, or to intentionally conceal your identify when in a public place, according to Russia Today.
The bill’s author, Republican state senator Don Barrington, believes the bill would make it harder for would-be scofflaws to conceal their identities when committing crimes.
“The intent of Senate Bill 13 is to make businesses and public places safer by ensuring that people cannot conceal their identities for the purpose of crime or harassment….Similar language has been in Oklahoma statutes for decades and numerous other states have similar laws in place. Oklahoma businesses want state leaders to be responsive to their safety concerns, and this is one way we can provide protection.”
The bill allows certain exceptions: covering mandated for religious observance, for example, or children’s Halloween costumes.
Civil liberties groups, however, have fought to have similar garment bans in other states overturned. For example, the city of Ocala, Florida, passed a ban on wearing saggy pants last summer, according to this Inquisitr report. After the ban brought widespread condemnation and ridicule, city council members repealed the ban.
The people of Oklahoma City seem to think the proposed hoodie ban is ridiculous, at least, according to a random sampling of KFOR viewers.
James Siderias points out that Oklahoma can get nippy in the winter, and the hoodie is a perfect garment for cold, drizzly days.
“If somebody is out running, especially in this kind of weather, where it`s cold, drizzly, you might be inclined to wear your hoodie.”
A.T., however, believes the hoodie ban will just give law enforcement more reason to harass minorities.
“I don’t think that solution will work. I just think that will cause a little more tension within the community. It probably will be a reason for cops to mess with more people wearing hoodies.”
If the hoodie ban passes, violators can face fines of between $50 and $500.