Two lawmakers in New York are proposing a law that would require an examination of a person’s social-media and internet-search history before they would be allowed to purchase a gun.
WCBS radio reported the plan comes from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and state Sen. Kevin Palmer.
“A three-year review of a social-media profile would give an easy profile of a person who is not suitable to hold and possess a fire arm,” Adams told the station recently.
They say they want to identify any hate speech on social-media profiles.
“If the police department is reviewing a gang assault, a robbery, some type of shooting, they go and do a social-media-profile investigation,” Adams said.
“This bill is closer to what one might call pre-crime, an idea that has served as a plot device in dystopian literature for more than half a century,” FEE’s Jonathan Miltimore said.
“First, comparing the search of a prospective gun buyer’s internet history to routine police investigations is odd. When an assault, robbery, or shooting occurs, police are investigating a crime. That is not the case with someone trying to buy a firearm; the buyer is simply trying to make a lawful purchase,” he explained.
“There is also the issue of privacy. Peering into people’s search histories and social media posts is a highly invasive act. Some social-media pages are public by design, but others are not. Would authorities be able to snoop in these? Presumably so considering the legislation would allow authorities to snoop in the search histories of prospective gun buyers,” said Miltimore.
And further, “to deny someone a fundamental right based on the state’s interpretation of ‘hate speech’ would be an affront to constitutional principles.”
He explains the right to bear arms and free speech are arguable the two most fundamental rights in the Constitution, and “these are rights beyond the reach of government.”