NC Lawmakers Push Bill to Ban Public Mask-Wearing Due to Crime

( – A law enacted in the 1950s in North Carolina to deal with hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan prohibited mask-wearing in public — with a few exceptions. Those allowances to the law were expanded in 2020 for health reasons. But now, NC legislators aim to scale back those expansions to restore the law back to its original form.

On May 15, the North Carolina Senate passed an amended version of House Bill 237, Unmasking Mobs and Criminals, by a vote of 30 for and 15 against along party lines. If passed through the state House and into law, the bill would impose additional penalties against those who commit crimes while wearing a mask in public and add a punishment for people who block traffic. The measure is reportedly aimed at pro-Palestinian protestors who have been clashing with police and blocking traffic in the Tarheel State.

Several Democratic senators attempted to amend the bill to allow for health reason exemptions, but the Republican majority rejected them. Wake County Democratic Senator Sydney Batch said she was concerned about the bill negatively affecting immunocompromised North Carolinians.

As one of those people, Batch opposed the bill stating that she and her husband should be free to wear a mask to protect themselves “without fear of being arrested and charged” with a misdemeanor. Batch said that’s what the bill would allow.

One of the bill’s sponsors, State Senator Buck Newton (R), said there was a “fundamental misunderstanding” about what the bill does and doesn’t do. Given that, he understood why “many folks are scared” about the rollback. He said that wasn’t the move’s intent. However, another Democratic lawmaker, state Senate Leader Dan Blue, said if mask-wearing is against the law, police will have “probable cause” to stop you. The North Carolina NAACP called the measure “dangerous.”

The measure will now head to the NC House for consideration and possible amendments.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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