Social Media Checks: The New Gun Control?
New York State Senator Kevin Parker has proposed a law that would require police to check a handgun license applicant’s social media for “biased language” – potentially denying the applicant based on findings. The proposed law would require applicants who are looking to apply or renew their handgun licenses to turned over login and password information to the authorities.
Police would be able to investigate any posts or searches related to threats, terrorism, slurs or “biased language” describing a person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.
The proposal states, rather vaguely, that police would also be able to examine posts or searches regarding “any other issue deemed necessary.”
Sen. Parker’s reasoning for a need of social media checks is to spot the warning signs of potential mass killers, but his good intentions sparks a lot of First and Second Amendment issues. His response to outrage – from those on both sides of the gun-control debate—was “if you’re afraid of your personal privacy, don’t apply for a handgun license.”
We’re already seeing what the social media platforms are willing to do to discriminate against conservative speech and that those are the type of people who will be harmed by such a law. Such a vague proposal would open a door for abuse to not only take away a lawful citizen’s right to carry a firearm, but to a citizen’s right to freely speak on the platforms.
The proposed law would be intrusive to lawful gun owners who want to go through a legal process to defend themselves and would place a heavy burden on law enforcement who are already conducting thorough background checks on criminal records and mental health histories.
Is this the new type of gun control that we will expect from gun-control advocates and how far will they go to completely dismantle constitutional freedoms for law-abiding Americans? If such a law passes, proponents should brace themselves for a fight with Second Amendment supporters AND First Amendment supporters.