An in-progress New York bill would give state officials the ability to access your social media information and search engine history when applying and renewing firearm permits.
State senator Kevin Parker and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams drafted a bill that would implement a new policy to gun registration allowing them to access up to three years of past search engine history. The information would be provided from major search engine databases, meaning users cannot clear said information beforehand. This includes engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Additionally, those applying or renewing a pistol permit would be required to give up the account information for their social media. This supposedly includes usernames and passwords, but I could not confirm this for myself.
The social media accounts and search history would be examined for dangerous or hostile biases or intentions, including racism, sexism, and terrorism. If you go on Twitter, telling people how you think minorities should die, odds are you’d be declined for a pistol.
A number of folks are adamantly against this proposed policy, believing that they have a certain expectation of privacy, which this infringes on. Others don’t trust the government official to make fair and unbiased assessments about those applying.
Sheldon Boyce, an attorney with Brenna Boyce PLLC spoke about exactly this.
“For example, religious practice- are we going to deny permits because a person goes to church or goes to a mosque? In the case of Heller vs District of Columbia in 2008, the US Supreme Court held that the possession of a handgun in the home is a fundamental constitutional right so anything that infringes upon that right is subject to challenge.”
The bill is currently in committee with a scheduled vote still pending. If you’re in New York, you may want to call/write to your local representative.