A 1920s Oklahoma law that was once meant to combat the Klu-Klux-Klan may now be amended to make it illegal to wear a hoodie in the state. Under the new proposal, a person could be fined up to $500 for sporting a hoodie.
State senator Don Barrington is proposing changes to the law because he says he wants to help victims of robbery.
“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. Barrington of Lawton, according to KFOR.
People in opposition to bill believe that this would represent a violation of rights.
“I think this is a violation of an individual’s right to chose 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,” said attorney James Siderias to KFOR.
Those concealing themselves for religious purposes, weather, parades, and Halloween would be exempt from punishment.
The 1920’s law banning hoods made sense during the days when the KKK was prominent, but some citizens who spoke to KFOR believe extending the law to ban hoodies would be overreaching.
“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.
Some believe that the proposed law will give another reason for law enforcement to profile men of color.
“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.
You can read the full bill with the proposed amendment here.