Bill Would Allow Social Media Profiles and Search History to be Part of Gun Buying Background Check

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At the peak of election season in America, politics is front and center on many minds. While the spotlight is on the polling places, the business of politics continues apace. And a new bill being proposed would allow social media profiles and internet search histories to become part of the background check process for purchasing a firearm.

“Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and [New York] State Sen. Kevin Parker announced legislation they say could have prevented the massacre at Pittsburg’s Tree of Life Synagogue that left 11 people dead,” KPIX writes.

The move is a response to allegations that Robert Bowers, the man who shot worshipers at the synagogue, had left a trail of vitriol and hate online.

If the bill becomes law, it will allow authorities to review up to three years of social media posts, and a year of internet search history as part of the process for buying a firearm.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and so it’s important for us to continue to review our laws as it relates to access to guns and other kinds of weapons,” Parker said.

“Too many people who are emotionally disturbed are doing and showing their emotional instability on the social-media platforms,” Adams added. “Yet these platforms are not being used to properly scrutinize if an individual should purchase a firearm.”

There are four named platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. The sites will be searched by police who would look for patterns of behavior, hate speech, and anything else that would seem troubling.

Some have seen this as an attack on First Amendment rights. They claim the new search would violate their rights to free speech. Adams doesn’t see it that way. He argues that the process is already being used to investigate gang behaviors.

“Don’t only use it to respond to a criminal act, use it to prevent a criminal act,” Adams said.

The bill has a long uphill battle to become a law, and there would certainly be legal challenges.