New York will officially begin enforcing a new law that requires gun applicants to list their social media accounts for review.
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) signed the bill into law earlier this month, and it’s part of legislation that seeks to ramp up the requirements associated with obtaining gun permits in the state.
“Sometimes, they’re telegraphing their intent to cause harm to others [on social media],” Hochul noted during a press conference, according to AP News.
The law is slated to go into effect on Sept. 1. However, not everyone is on the same page.
Peter Kehoe, the executive director of the New York Sheriffs’ Association, is unsure whether deputies will enforce the law by going through people’s social media accounts.
“I don’t think we would do that,” Kehoe said, according to AP News. “I think it would be a constitutional invasion of privacy.”
James Densley, a criminal justice professor at Metropolitan State University, also side-eyed the implementation of this law in a statement to AP News.
“Often 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,” he noted.
“Where this will get tricky is [determining] to what extent this is expression and to what extent [this is] evidence of wrongdoing,” Densley added.
Similar doubts were expressed by Desmond Upton Patton, a professor of social policy, communications and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
“There’s a lot of nuance and contextual issues. We speak differently; how we communicate, that could be misunderstood,” Patton said, per AP News. “I’m concerned we don’t have the right people or the right tools in place to do this in a way that’s useful in actually preventing violence.”
Finally, civil rights attorney Jonathan Corbett has gone as far as to file a lawsuit against Gov. Hochul for approving the legislation, alleging that it violates the 1st, 2nd, and 14th amendments.
Regardless, this new law comes amid loud calls for gun reform in the United States, amplified in the wake of recent mass shootings.
On the Fourth of July, a 21-year-old gunman opened fire during a parade in Highland Park, Illinois. This resulted in the deaths of 7 people.
Less than two months ago, an 18-year-old gunman massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York grocery store.
Ten days after the Buffalo tragedy, another 18-year-old slaughtered 21 people, including 19 young children, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
What do you think about the situation?