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Saturday, May 25, 2024

NY Will Force Gun-Permit Applicants to List Social Media Accounts

'I don’t think we would do that. I think it would be a constitutional invasion of privacy...'

(Headline USA) Missed warning signs continue to mount in investigations of mass killings, seeming to provide evidence that oppressive gun control measures are largely ineffective at stopping criminals and kooks from shooting people, while punishing law-abiding gun owners by stripping their rights.

That doesn’t seem to matter to New York‘s leftist rulers, who have issued another gun grab edict after the Supreme Court ruled people have the right to carry a handgun without providing a reason to government officials.

Under the state’s new decree, which Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law, people seeking to carry concealed handguns will be required to hand over lists of their social media accounts for a review of their “character and conduct.”

It’s an approach applauded by many authoritarian and tyrannical Democrats and national gun control advocacy groups, who care more about retaining power than finding actual solutions to address mass shootings.

The decree is almost certain to face legal challenges, with serious questions and concerns about how the law will be enforced and address free speech concerns.

Some of the local officials who will be tasked with reviewing the social media content also are asking whether they’ll have the resources and, in some cases, whether the law is even constitutional.

Sheriffs haven’t received additional money or staffing to handle a new application process, said Peter Kehoe, the executive director of the New York Sheriffs’ Association. The law, he asserted, infringes on Second Amendment rights, and while applicants must list their social media accounts, he doesn’t think local officials will necessarily look at them.

“I don’t think we would do that,” Kehoe said. “I think it would be a constitutional invasion of privacy.”

Under the law, applicants have to provide local officials with a list of current and former social media accounts from the previous three years. It doesn’t specify whether applicants will be required to provide access to private accounts not visible to the general public.

It will be up to local sheriff’s staff, judges or county clerks to scroll through those profiles as they check whether applicants have made statements suggesting dangerous behavior.

The law also will require applicants to undergo hours of safety training, prove they’re proficient at shooting, provide four character references and sit for in-person interviews.

Predictably, far-left social justice gadflies have found a way to work their race-baiting narratives into the mix.

“The question should be: Can we do this in an anti-racist way that does not create another set of violence, which is the state violence that happens through surveillance?” said University of Pennsylvania social policy, communications and medicine professor Desmond Upton Patton, who also founded SAFElab, a research initiative studying violence involving youths of color.

Meanwhile, gun rights advocates are blasting the law.

“You’re also going to have to tell them your social media accounts because New York wants to thoroughly investigate you to figure out if you’re some of those dangerous law-abiding citizens who are taking the country by storm and causing crime to skyrocket,” Jared Yanis, host of the YouTube channel Guns & Gadgets, says in a widely viewed video on the new law. “What have we come to?”

Hochul, who also has tasked state police with routing out extremism online, didn’t immediately respond to a list of questions about the social media requirement, including how the state will address free speech and privacy concerns.

Spokespeople for the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, 4Chan and Parler didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Adam Scott Wandt, a public policy professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that he supports gun control, but that he worries the New York law could set a precedent for mandatory disclosure of social media activity for people seeking other types of licenses from the state.

New York’s law is rushed and vague, said Wandt, who teaches law enforcement personnel how to conduct searches on people through social media.

“I think that what we might have done as a state here in New York is, we may have confirmed their worst fears — that a slippery slope will be created that will slowly reduce their rights to carry guns and allow a bureaucracy to decide, based on unclear criteria, who can have a gun and who cannot,” Wandt said. “Which is exactly what the Supreme Court was trying to avoid.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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