Oklahoma could ban hoodies: Are we really giving away our freedom that easily?

One of the biggest fashion trends in America may soon be a crime in yet another state.

The Oklahoma state Legislature is set to vote on a bill to ban hoodies during its first session in February.

It would make wearing hoodies in public illegal and subject violators to a $500 fine or one year imprisonment.

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According to the language of the amendment it is “immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety.”

The intent being to cut down on crime by those wearing masks, hoods or other facial coverings.

However, this amendment is written for a law already on the books that dates back to the 1920s forbidding the wearing of a hood during the commission of crime

The law originally targeted the Ku Klux Klan, according to KFOR.

The proposed amendment would make it illegal to wear hooded garments in public at all, with exceptions made for religious expression, Halloween costumes, parades and some special events.

Similar laws — banning clothing that conceals a person’s face — are already on the books in 10 other states, including Democrat-controlled New York and Republican-dominated Florida, according to Time magazine.

State Sen. Don Barrington, the Republican who authored the proposal, said it will help fight crime.

“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,” Barrington said. “Similar language has been in Oklahoma statutes for decades and numerous other states have similar laws in place.”

The laws in other states are rarely enforced.

A local ordinance banning saggy pants in Ocala City, Fla., was overturned in September after the NAACP got involved claiming the law unfairly targeted African-Americans.

Some argue that the proposal is another example of the nanny state limiting the freedom of choice “for our own good.”

Attorney James Siderias spoke to KFOR about the proposal.

“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,” he said.

Is it worth giving up a basic freedom for the idea of safety?

Aren’t similar arguments made by gun control advocates who believe disarming law abiding citizens will somehow result in less crime?

Criminals, by definition, are law breakers, so the question is the same as it is in gun legislation debates. Why would a criminal decide to obey this particular law?

As Benjamin Franklin said “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Carmine Sabia

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