New York –-(Ammoland.com)- Can a post on social media be used to stop you from purchasing a gun? If New York state Senator Kevin Palmer and Eric Adams, the president of Brooklyn Borough had their way, it would.
The two lawmakers have started work in drafting legislation that would require everyone who attempts to purchase a firearm in the state of New York to turn over the last three years of their social media posts for scrutiny. Not only that, but the legislation would also require the would-be purchaser to turn over their internet search history from the same period of time.
Any speech that is deemed to be “hate speech” or merely offensive comments would be grounds to deny the sale of the firearm to the resident. What the proposed law fails to do is state what would be considered hate speech or offensive remarks.
“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 firearm,” Adams told WCBS Newsradio 880.
The lawmakers built their proposed law on the premise that posts on social media can identify a mass shooter before they can carry out their actions. Adams notes that hate speech and offensive comments have been found on mass shooters social media profiles in the past. They believe that if background checks including checks on social media were in effect in the past, the law would have prevented some mass shootings.
Gun rights advocates are critical of the proposed law citing a violation of not only the Second Amendment but also a violation of the First Amendment. LtCol (r) Willes K. Lee, President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies and member of the NRA Board of Directors believe this proposal to be a publicity stunt.
“In another publicity stunt, this being an attack on both our First and Second Amendment RIGHTS, they want another way to subjectively decide who is ‘deserving’ of the Constitution,” LtCol Lee told AmmoLand. “This is not only wrong, this is wasteful of America’s time and resources as we’ll watch this play out in the courts. This is simply a ploy by no-name legislators to excite their ignorant progressive base while not producing any real solutions to safeguarding American lives.”
Palmer and Adams cite that police use social media to investigate crimes. Police do use social media to investigates crimes, but that is after an offense has taken place.
“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 told the local radio station.
Other Second Amendment Advocates point out that the law seems to run afoul of the due process clause of the US Constitution. Erich Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, accuses this proposed law and red flag laws of constitutional violations.
“What New York politicians are advocating is the total destruction of our constitutionally-protected rights,” Pratt told AmmoLand. “If the anti-gun Left is going to use Social Media to throw Due Process out the window and restrict people’s Second Amendment rights, then why stop there? Last year, a terrorist used a truck to perpetrate a total of 19 casualties in New York. Yet no one said, ‘We need to look at people’s Facebook account before they can drive a vehicle.’”
“That’s the hypocrisy. The anti-gun Left doesn’t care about ‘car violence’ — even though more people every year die from vehicles than guns,” Pratt went on to tell AmmoLand.
The proposed law might run into First Amendment issues in the courts. The United States Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that there is no “hate speech clause” in the First Amendment.
Matal v. Tam was the latest of these rulings. In 2017 SCOTUS ruled unanimously to reaffirm that there is no “hate speech clause.” Legally speaking, hate speech does not exist. All speech that is not a direct call for violence is protected. In short, hate speech is protected speech.
If New York passes this law, it will face an uphill battle in the courts.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.