Jan 03 2015

Hoodie Ban Could Cost You $500 in Fines (Or Jail Time)

hoodie ban

Laws associating hoods with crimes are nothing new. Oklahoma already has a law on the books banning the use of hoods during a crime. Many similar laws – like this law from 1923 – are associated with the Klu Klux Klan. Fast forward to today, when protesters are taking to the streets more than ever, and suddenly a “no hoods” law becomes a whole other beast.

Oklahoma lawmakers are now considering a “hoodie ban” that would add an amendment to the original 1923 law. The amendment would ban people from wearing hoods, masks, or any other face covering in public spaces. Don’t worry though – there’s a special exception for children on Halloween.

The creator of the bill, state senator Don Barrington (R), claims that the purpose of the ban is to cut back on crime – specifically, masked robberies. However, logic dictates that those already intent on committing a robbery are not likely to check the law books and, because of an anti-concealment rule, leave their ski masks at home.

A hoodie ban is simply not going to stop crime, though similar laws exist in ten other states – including Florida, California, New York, and Washington DC (I’m sensing a pattern, here). Some, like the New York City hoodie ban also threaten to tack on a trespassing charge. Such bans – though reportedly to “deter crime” – have gained in popularity and momentum since the birth of the Occupy movement in 2011.

Such laws apparently forget that the hoodie is a fitness, cold-weather, college student, and old lady rap group staple.

The Oklahoma law would allow law enforcement to charge anyone with a hoodie in public with a misdemeanor charge. If convicted, the hoodie wearer could face $50-$500 of fines, a year in county jail, or both.

In a statement, Barrington told residents, “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… Oklahoma businesses want state leaders to be responsive to their safety concerns, and this is one way we can provide protection.” He added that the bill is also meant to “help the victims” of robberies, but was not clear in how this the bill is supposed to help people who have already had their property stolen.

While there is some support for the bill – or at least some people who sympathize with “good intentions” – many residents believe the bill will increase tension in the community, escalate racial profiling and police harassment, and will limit the individual right of freedom of expression. Others claim the hoodie ban is also a way to deter protesters.

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