The state of Oklahoma look set to become the 11th state in the US to outlaw the wearing of hoodies and masks in specific locations and when committing crimes.
The new Bill will become law in February and will make wearing a hoodie or mask whilst committing a crime an offense punishable with a fine of between $5 and $500 plus up to one year of jail time. Supporters of the controversial Bill claim the ban will deter those looking to commit crimes from hiding their identities.
Those on the other side of the argument claim the ban follows those profiling African-American males as potential criminals. Introduced by Republican Senator Don Barrington, the proposed law is designed to deter the kinds of crimes often reported on local news programs, where the criminal often has their identity hidden by a hooded sweatshirt or mask.
Civil liberties groups have questioned the legitimacy of the ban and claim the problem facing law enforcement agencies is the targeted clothing is often of the style and design favored by young African-American males.
Ten states have already introduced bans on wearing hoodies during criminal activities, with a number of large and small stores also choosing to ban hoodies from their premises. Community leaders have also expressed concern that police officers will use the ban as a way of targeting young men who are not under suspicion of committing any crime.