A proposed bill in the New York State Senate could mean that anyone wanting to buy a pistol or renew their permit will be subject to a review of their internet history and social media accounts going back up to three years.
The bill, referred to as S9191, was drafted by State Senator Kevin Parker from New York’s 21st Congressional District with the intention of keeping firearms out of the hands of potentially violent people, ABC-affiliate WHAM reports.
S9191 “requires a person applying for a license to carry or possess a pistol or revolver or a renewal of such license to consent to having his or her social media accounts and search engine history reviewed and investigated for certain posts and/or searches over a period of 1-3 years prior to the approval of such application or renewal,” the draft bill states.
The bill spells out what investigators might look for when deciding whether to approve/deny a permit. I highlighted the most surprising parts of the legislation that would require the applicant to turn over passwords and search engine history.
IN ORDER TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER ANY SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT OR SEARCH ENGINE HISTORY OF A LICENSEE PRESENTS ANY GOOD CAUSE FOR THE REVOCATION OF A LICENSE, THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE SHALL, AFTER OBTAINING THE LICENSEE’S CONSENT PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION, AND OBTAINING ANY LOG-IN NAME, PASSWORD OR OTHER MEANS FOR ACCESSING A PERSONAL ACCOUNT, SERVICE, OR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE NECESSARY TO REVIEW SUCH LICENSEE’S SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS AND SEARCH ENGINE HISTORY, REVIEW A LICENSEE’S SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS FOR THE PREVIOUS THREE YEARS AND SEARCH ENGINE HISTORY FOR THE PREVIOUS YEAR AND INVESTIGATE POSTS OR SEARCHES RELATED TO (I) COMMONLY KNOWN PROFANE SLURS OR BIASED LANGUAGE USED TO DESCRIBE THE RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORIGIN, ANCESTRY, GENDER, RELIGION, RELIGIOUS PRACTICE, AGE, DISABILITY OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION OF A PERSON; (II) THREATENING THE HEALTH OR SAFETY OF ANOTHER PERSON; (III) AN ACT OF TERRORISM; OR (IV) ANY OTHER ISSUE DEEMED NECESSARY BY THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, “SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS” SHALL ONLY INCLUDE FACEBOOK, SNAPCHAT, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM, AND “SEARCH ENGINE” SHALL ONLY INCLUDE GOOGLE, YAHOO AND BING. UPON COMPLETION OF THE INVESTIGATION, THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE SHALL REPORT THE RESULTS TO THE LICENSEE WITHOUT UNNECESSARY DELAY.