In some mass shootings, social media has given us clues about to what the shooter might have been thinking prior to the horrific incident.
Now, a New York lawmaker is proposing the state look at a person’s internet history before giving them a gun permit.
However, some Second Amendment supporters question if more laws will help stop a shooter.
“I do want to stop bad people from getting guns, but I also understand people that are applying for license typically aren’t the ones that are doing the bad stuff,” Matt Mallroy, owner of Public Safety and Education, said.
Sen. Kevin Parker, a Democrat from the 21st district is sponsoring the bill. Those applying for a gun license would have to give “consent to have his or her social media accounts and search engine history reviewed.”
“I’m not seeing how this law is going to do anything other than infringe on good, legal law-abiding citizens that are just trying to protect themselves, ” Mallory said.
The bill states that the social media and search engine review is an effort to “establish good character, competency, and integrity” before getting a gun.
Prof. Roy Gutterman is an expert in free speech and the First Amendment at Syracuse University.
“What we see with this bill is kind of far-reaching extension into peoples’ social media lives, which I’m not sure would really follow through under the first amendment,” Gutterman said.
Gutterman says the law can punish a social media user who posts a true and specific threat.
However, Gutterman says a bill like this could infringe on a social media user’s free speech protections as well as the companies that provide the services.
“I don’t want to demean the proposal or the senator’s interest. Society has an interest in preventing mass shootings, but as laudable as this proposed legislation is, I’m not sure it really hits the mark,” Gutterman said.
CNYCentral reached out to Senator Parker’s office several times on Thursday to ask about the bill. They said he would send a statement, but so far, no statement has been sent.
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