ACLU: Proposal could include not only hoodies, but also open door to abuse power

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OKLAHOMA CITY -The controversial proposal to outlaw hoodies has flooded our newsroom with questions.

The ambiguity of the amendment has caused confusion, as the bill targets any disguise that will intentionally conceal an identity in public.

It raises the question: Would sunglasses, a ski mask or the hood on that hoodie all be considered concealing your identity?

"It's very questionable on how our government can make such a ban like that over the people, it's very scary," said Hannah Royce, DNA Galleries social media/creative director.

It is scary for some, but the author of the proposal, Sen. Don Barrington, wants to protect small businesses like DNA Galleries.

In an email to NewsChannel 4, Sen. Barrington said, "Oklahoma businesses want state leaders to be responsive to their safety concerns, and this is one way we can provide protection."

Protection this retailer says won't come at the hands of banning hoodies or any other disguise.

"People walk in here that look sketchy and you know they're sketchy," Royce said."Regardless, if they have a hood on their head, just by the way they're acting, you get a vibe from people. It's not judging them by their clothes."

The senator responded in an email, saying, "Because hooded garments, or hoodies, are often worn as weather protection and not for the purposes of intentional concealment, it is unlikely they would be considered a disguise under the bill."

But the ACLU is not buying it.

"The bill as it's written is so vague and so overly broad. I think it's a mistake to say it does not include hoodies," Ryan Kiesel, executive director for Oklahoma's ACLU, says.

"The proposal is intended to protect law-abiding citizens, not limit their rights," said Sen. Barrington.

People we spoke with say they are afraid of laws that would  limit their rights.

"If we give law enforcement this very vague, overly broad piece of legislation to work with, we shouldn't be surprised if some law enforcement, at some point and time, abuse it," Kiesel said.

"It's hard to wrap our mind around the fact that we couldn't go outside and just throw our hood up and possibly be breaking the law. It is really just terrifying," Royce said.

"It invites selective enforcement, it invites the type of over-policing that we should be moving away from as a nation and a state, not towards," Kiesel says.

Again, there are exemptions for concealing your identity in the case of Halloween, religious purposes or the weather.

Critics still say it could be difficult to prove your intentions good or bad.

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