NY Gun applicants will be required to list social media accounts (VIDEO)
By Associated Press
July 8, 2022
A new law will also require applicants to complete security training, provide four character references, and conduct in-person interviews.
As missed warning signs mount in mass murder investigations, New York State is rolling out a new strategy to screen gun license applicants. People seeking to carry concealed handguns will be required to submit lists of their social media accounts for a review of their “character and conduct.”
It’s an approach applauded by many Democrats and national gun control advocacy groups, but some experts have raised questions about how the law will be enforced and address free speech concerns.
Some of the local officials who will be responsible for reviewing social media content are also asking if they will have the resources and, in some cases, if the law is even constitutional.
Sheriffs have not received additional money or staff to handle a new application process, said Peter Kehoe, executive director of the New York Sheriffs’ Association. The law, he claimed, violates Second Amendment rights, and while candidates must list their social media accounts, he doesn’t think local authorities will necessarily review them.
“I don’t think we would do that,” Kehoe said. “I think that would be a constitutional invasion of privacy.”
The new requirement, which takes effect in September, was included in legislation passed last week that sought to preserve certain limits on firearms after the Supreme Court ruled that most people have the right to carry a gun. handgun for personal protection. It was signed by Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, who noted shooters sometimes telegraph their intent to harm others.
More young men have gone online to give clues about what to expect before executing a mass murder, including the gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Aus. Texas.
By law, candidates must provide local authorities with a list of current and former social media accounts from the previous three years. It does not specify whether applicants will be required to provide access to private accounts not visible to the general public.
It will be up to local sheriffs staff, judges or county clerks to scroll through these profiles when checking whether applicants have made statements suggesting dangerous behavior.
The law will also require applicants to complete hours of safety training, demonstrate proficiency in shooting, provide four character references, and sit down for in-person interviews.
The new approach, however, comes amid a growing debate over the control of social media posts and a legacy of unwarranted surveillance of black and brown communities.
Hochul, who also tasked the state police with rooting out online extremism, did not immediately respond to a list of questions about the social media requirement, including how the state will handle issues. freedom of expression and confidentiality.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.