The niqab has no place in any free country. There is nothing in the quran that says that women should wear it, only that they should wear hijab. The niqab is restrictive to the woman and often construed in a threatening manner by members of the public. Women can feel free to wear the niqab in predominantly muslim countries, but not in Western states.
Banning the wearing of niqabs in public goes against a country's title of 'free'. In a 'free' country you'd expect to have the freedom to dress however you like in public. Also, I just don't see the point in banning an item of clothing. People are entitled to find niqabs unfashionable or whatever but that does not justify banning them. I personally find vans (shoes) unfashionable but do not expect them to be banned. Some people feel that the niqab is degrading to women, again, people are entitled to this view but that's all it is, their opinion and they don't have to wear the niqab if they don't want to. There are also people out there who genuinely find the niqab empowering and choose to wear it. These people should not be deterred from using public facilities simply because of their choice of dress. With living in a free country comes a certain level of tolerance and discretion.
The niqab is a piece that covers a woman's head and it gives them an opening to see out of. It is different from the hijab because it only involves the headdress, not an entire cover. I do not believe countries should feel the need to ban wearing these articles. The problem with these articles is the fact that some people are forced to wear them in certain countries. Some women may actually prefer them, so banning them, while opposite of a requirement, is overkill.
As an American I highly disagree with the act of banning nearly anything. Even if it may be seen as offensive to some groups or individuals, woman in a free country should have the right to exercise their religion like everyone else. Wearing a niqab is a very personal choice, and as such should be left up to the individual to make that choice.
I disagree that free countries should ban people wearing the niqab in public, purely because for some people, it is important that they wear it. It is a part of a culture they have grown up with, and it's the same as telling a Christian they can't wear a cross, or telling a priest he can't wear his robes. It's a part of a person's faith, and it's up to them if they wish to wear it.