Could social media impact your right to bear arms? NYS Senator introduces bill

Local News

In New York State, you can’t legally get your hands on a gun without a background check. One senator is hoping to add a social media check to the process. 

“Everybody has an interest in trying to prevent gun violence and protect the public. However, I don’t think this law will pass constitutional muster,” Roy Gutterman, Newhouse Professor of Communications Law and Director of Tully Center for Free Speech.

The bill would require applicants to handover their passwords to social media sites like Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram, so they can access posts from the last three years. Google searches from the last year may also come into play.

“I think (it’s) taking a step too deep into people’s social media lives with the turning over of passwords, is just, too big a leap,” Gutterman said. 

The bill declares the red flags as profane slurs, threatening the health or safety of another person, or an act of terrorism. Most of which Gutterman said can’t be prosecuted.

“You can’t punish somebody for a crime that hasn’t been committed yet,” Gutterman said. 

However, one student said those posts can reveal a lot about what the person plans to do and could be useful in keeping guns out of the wrong hands. 

“Someone’s right to own a firearm doesn’t outweigh someone’s right to stay alive,” said Candice Bina, a Syracuse University Freshman.

The bill was introduced in November by Democratic Sen. Kevin Parker, representing the Brooklyn area. The proposal is sitting in committee as of now. 

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