Oklahoma has a law on the books, since the 1920s, banning the use of a hood during the commission of a crime. That law was apparently meant to provide enhanced sentencing options for Ku Klux Klan members committing crimes. Now a Republican state senator, Don Barrington, has introduced legislation that would declare an emergency related to the wearing of hoods, masks, and other clothing meant to "conceal" your identity in public, imposing up to a $500 fine for wearing such clothing in public, with exceptions for things like the weather and medical conditions.
Senator Don Barrington authored the proposed amendment; he says they want to help victims of robberies.
"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. Don Barrington of Lawton.
At a time of unprecedented engagement around the country on the issue of community policing and what kind of laws to send police out among the population to enforce, this bill seems particularly ridiculous, if typical of the legislative impetus to impose laws restricting people's freedoms.