Oklahoma Hoodie-Wearers May Soon Face $500 Fine
Sen. Don Barrington says bill amendment would ease business owners' minds
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Suggested by jgmann
Posted Jan 5, 2015 10:34 AM CST
Patrick Mulchay, center, joins other congregants in song during a service at Middle Collegiate Church in New York, March 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – A law originally meant to dissuade crime by Ku Klux Klan members may soon keep people having a bad-hair day from wearing hoodies in public. Oklahoma state Sen. Don Barrington has proposed an amendment to an early 1920s bill that makes it illegal to wear a "mask, hood, or covering" while committing a crime—except Barrington's addition would now make it against the law in his state to wear such apparel in public at all, with a $500 fine for offenders, KFOR reports. The proposal is designed to prevent people from keeping their identities hidden "by means of a robe, mask, or other disguise" and is, the proposed bill states, "immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety," ABC7 reports. Barrington cites businesses wary of being robbed as his impetus. There are exceptions, including religious garb, Halloween costumes, and clothing worn to shield wearers from the elements.

"Oklahoma businesses want state leaders to be responsive to their safety concerns, and this is one way we can provide protection," he says in a statement, per KTLA. Attorney James Siderias believes the intention behind Barrington's idea is to make Oklahoma "a little bit safer" but that it has "overreached a little bit"; he tells KFOR that "it 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." One local resident points out to the station that "[people] might have personal issues for keeping [hoodies] on … maybe they have cancer or they're losing their hair," while another worries such a law would "cause a little more tension within the community [and] … probably will be a reason for cops to mess with more people wearing hoodies." (Wearing a hoodie may have cost Mark Zuckerberg a lot of money.)