Â Could wearing a hoodie really be a crime? In Oklahoma, Republican Senator Don Barrington is proposing such a bill. At least that is the way some are trying to make it seem. The billÂ will make wearing a hoodie, or concealing your identity in public illegal. The bill does exclude Halloween costumes, religious head attire, medical purposes, and weather related items. There are other exceptions as well.
Even though this bill may seem a little silly, Oklahoma has already had a law since the 1920’s making it illegal to wear a mask or covering to conceal your identity while committing a crime. That was put into place to combat the Ku Klux Klan. Some people feel like this newÂ bill is a violation of personal freedom, unlike the original law that only affected a person committing a crime.
â€œThis is a violation of an individualâ€™s right to choose what they want to wear as long as it doesnâ€™t violate the realm of public decency and moral values,â€ attorney James Siderias said. â€œI 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.â€
If the bill passes, it will be up to a $500.00 fine if you conceal your identity in public, whether by putting up the hood on a sweatshirt or wear anything covering your face.
â€œThe 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 harassmentâ€¦.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.â€ â€“ said Sen. Don Barrington of Lawton.
Both sides have good arguments, but will criminals really follow this new law? Or will they continue to commit crimes and try to conceal who they are? Will a $500.00 fine really make them think twice before committing a crime? Not likely. They already know what they are doing is illegal and the punishment will probably be a larger consequence than $500.00.
The people who most likely will be affected are law abiding citizens who will either follow the law or inadvertently break the law out of old habits, like throwing up the hood on their sweatshirt when they get cold.
Will the Senate Bill 13 pass? And if it does pass, does it infringe on the personal freedom of the people? Only time will tell.