OKLAHOMA CITY,Okla.-The cold Oklahoma weather has many sporting hoodies outside to help fight the cold, but wearing a hood in a public place could soon be against the law.
The idea of banning hoods is not new to Oklahoma, right now, there is a law banning hoods during crimes that’s been around since the 20’s.
It was originally drafted to help combat crimes from the Ku-Klux-Klan, but people we spoke with say a new amendment of banning hoodies in public could open doors to a bigger problem.
They’re a common closet find, the hoodie.
“I’ve been wearing hoodies since I was a little kid,” Eduar Carreon, a hoodie user said.
Even Kevin Durant is a hoodie fan.
“If somebody is out running, especially in this kind of weather, where it`s cold, drizzly, you might be inclined to wear your hoodie at Lake Hefner,” attorney James Siderias said.
“21 OS 1301 has always made it a crime to wear a hoodie or some sort of disguise during the commission of criminal offense,” Siderias says.
Now, a proposal for an amendment to that law, could make it illegal to hide your identity in public. The fine for your fashion crime? $500.
“I think this is a violation of an individual’s right to choose what they want to wear as long as it doesn’t violate the realm of public decency and moral values, and I think this could be very problematic,” Siderias said.
Senator Don Barrington authored the proposed amendment; he says they want to help victims of robberies.
“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.” – said Sen. Don Barrington of Lawton.
“I think the legislature is just trying to make Oklahoma a little bit safer, and in doing so, I think they just over-reached a little bit,” Siderias said.
“They might have personal issues for keeping them on; they might have a bad hair day or maybe they have cancer or they’re losing their hair. You just don’t know why,” Tracy Wehagen said.
“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,” A.T. said.
The proposal provides exceptions for religious garments, protection from weather, parades, Halloween celebrations and numerous other circumstances.
To read the full bill with the proposed amendment, click here.
The ACLU of Oklahoma is speaking out against the proposed bill, and released the following statements on Monday.
“This bill is an affront to fundamental rights, including the rights of free speech and privacy. No one should worry about retaliation or retribution because they choose to attend a rally or a protest, which is precisely why the First Amendment protects anonymous speech in these instances. It is no less concerning that such a vague and overly-broad law would invite selective enforcement and over-policing of otherwise law-abiding people. For lawmakers who campaign against Government overreach, voting against this bill would be a great way to practice what they preach,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of ACLU of Oklahoma.
“Here in Oklahoma, it has been illegal to use a hood, mask, or disguise for criminal conduct for over 90 years. This bill does nothing whatsoever to strengthen that law or to prevent or punish crime. Instead, this bill specifically targets only law-abiding individuals. Worse yet, the bill explicitly attempts to criminalize protected First Amendment rights. This bill would turn Oklahoma law enforcement into literally “the fashion police.” What it proposes is both unnecessary and unconstitutional. Instead of bringing criminals to justice, this bill is far more likely to land the State of Oklahoma in the courtroom,” said Brady Henderson, legal director of ACLU of Oklahoma.