BY EMILY ATKIN
Republican Senator Don Barrington will introduce the bill, which would make it a misdemeanor to “wear a mask, hood, or covering” either while committing a crime or in order to intentionally conceal one’s identity. If the bill is passed, offenders would be subject to a fine of $50 to $500, and up to one year in jail. The ban would not affect mask-wearers on Halloween or at masquerade parties, nor would it apply to people who wear head coverings for religious purposes.
The bill’s purpose is seemingly to deter crime. As Channel 6’s report notes, robberies caught on surveillance camera often show the perpetrator wearing a mask or hoodie to cover his or her face. With the bill’s language only prohibiting wearing hoodies while committing a crime or to intentionally hide, supporters say the ban wouldn’t negatively affect people just trying to wear a sweatshirt in day-to-day life.
Others, however, have argued that bans on hoodies — no matter the intention — only serve to exacerbate problems with racial profiling. CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostintook on the issue when an Indiana mall banned the garment in March:
“This is about the pretext of being able to stop young African-American males,” she said. “Hoodie is code for ‘thug’ in many places and I think businesses shouldn’t be in the business of telling people what to wear. The Fourteenth Amendment protects us from this.”
More on both sides of the argument can be found in the video below:
More at ThinkProgress: