Many Democrats and national gun control advocacy groups have applauded a new strategy in New York state that requires individuals seeking permits to carry concealed handguns to hand over their social media accounts for a review of their “character and conduct.
However, the Associated Press reported that “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.”
Peter Kehoe, the executive director of the New York Sheriffs’ Association, told the news agency that he believes the requirement, which takes effect beginning in September, infringes on Second Amendment rights.
“I don’t think we would do that,” he said. “I think it would be a constitutional invasion of privacy,” Kehoe continued.
Meanwhile, Metro State University criminal justice professor James Densley, the co-founder of research initiative The Violence Project, mentioned that “the sticking point is: how do we go about enforcing this? I think it starts to open up a bit of a can of worms, because no one quite knows the best way to go about doing it.”
As expected, gun rights advocates quickly blasted 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, contended in a widely viewed video on the new law. “What have we come to?”
This particular strategy was included in a law passed last week that sought to preserve some limits on firearms after the Supreme Court last month struck down a 108-year-old New York law limiting who can obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun in public.
In the ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Constitution protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” That right is not a “second-class right,” he continued. “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul responded in a statement that “in the wake of the reckless Supreme Court decision to strike down the ‘proper cause’ provision of New York's concealed carry law … we will enact new policy that carefully regulates access to concealed carry permits within the confines of the decision.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.