New York’s New Gun Applicants Will have to Submit Social Media Accounts For ‘Character and Conduct’ Reviews.
New York state is rolling out a new law that requires gun permit applicants to hand over lists of their social media accounts for a review of their “character and conduct.” Some experts have questioned how the law will be enforced and still address free speech concerns.
The state passed the new law in response to a Supreme Court ruling that most people have the right to carry a handgun for personal protection without prior justification.
The law requires applicants to provide local officials with a list of current and former social media accounts from the previous three years, undergo hours of safety training, prove they’re proficient at shooting, provide four character references and sit for in-person interviews.
New York State Police will now have to monitor social media accounts of people they suspect of being involved in violent crimes. The law comes amid growing debate over the policing of social media posts and a legacy of unwarranted surveillance of minorities.
New York should consider appointing a trained group to reach out to people online who are showing signs of radicalization or trauma and may need help, said Metro State University criminal justice professor James Densley.
New York’s law on gun ownership could set a precedent for mandatory disclosure of social media activity for people seeking other types of licenses from the state, said public policy professor Adam Scott Wandt.
The idea of social media surveillance and the actual practice are two entirely different things. Time will tell if New York has the manpower or resources to do so effectively.
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