Oklahoma state Rep. Lucky Lamons, a former police officer, wants to loosen the state law that bans registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or day care center, reports USA Today. He says it forces many offenders to live in rural areas where they are difficult for authorities to monitor. He says it does not differentiate between real predators and the type of men arrested for urinating in public.
Lamons is among a growing list of officials who want to ease the “not-in-my-backyard” policies that communities are using to try to control sex offenders. In the past decade, 27 states and hundreds of cities have enacted residency restrictions. Now, several states, including Iowa, Oklahoma, and Georgia, are considering changes in residency laws that have led some sex offenders to go underground. Such offenders either have not registered with local police as the laws require or they have given fake addresses. Many complain they cannot find a place to live legally. The reformers are battling a “mountain of momentum,” says USA Today, because residency restrictions remain popular. New or expanded ones have been proposed in 20 states this year.