Oklahoma Hoodie Ban: Republican Senator Pushes for Amendment to Existing Law That Would Fine Wearers $500

(Photo: Reuters/Pool)In this still image taken from video, U.S. Representative Bobby Rush, a prominent civil rights activist during the 1960s, pulls on the hood of a gray sweatshirt, known as a hoodie during a floor speech in the House of Representatives in Washington March 29, 2012.

Republican Oklahoma state Senator Don Barrington is proposing a new law that would ban people from wearing hoodies in public.

An existing law currently prohibits the wearing of hoods while committing crimes, however; Barrington is pushing to amend this in a bid to deter crime.

His proposed changes would make it "unlawful" to "intentionally conceal his or her identity in a public place by means of a robe, mask, or other disguise," according to Senate Bill 13.

"Oklahoma businesses want state leaders to be responsive to their safety concerns, and this is one way we can provide protection," Barrington told KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City.

It also states that exceptions would be made for "those participating in any public parade or exhibition of an educational, religious or historical character, to those wearing coverings required by their religious beliefs, for safety or medical purposes, or incidental to protection from the weather."

Any violation of this law, should it be passed, would incur a fine of up to $500.

"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," he said.

The existing law has been around since the 1920s and it was first introduced to curb crimes committed by the Ku-Klux-Klan.

Critics of Barrington's proposed law say that it infringes on people's First Amendment rights and described it as "problemtatic."

"I think this is a violation of an individual's right to choose [SIC] 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," Oklahoma City attorney James Siderias said.

The shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin sparked national debates about race and the wearing of hoodies in 2012. Hoodie rallies and protests were launched across the U.S. to protest police handling of the case.

Democratic lawmaker Rep. Bobby Rush, a prominent civil rights activist during the 1960s, famously donned a grey hoodie during a floor speech in the House of Representatives in honor of Martin.

Political talking head Geraldo Rivera caused an uproar after suggesting the Florida teen was fatally shot by George Zimmerman because he was wearing a hoodie.

"I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies," Rivera said at the time on "Fox & Friends." "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was."

He later apologized for his comments.