New Gun Bill Would Require Buyers To Reveal Social Media History
In Illinois, posting anything on social media related to gun ownership may soon cost you your weapon, as a new bill would require potential gun buyers to reveal their public social media accounts to state police before being approved for firearm licenses.
The bill, sponsored by two Democratic lawmakers, aims to keep weapons out of the hands of people who have made threatening or alarming comments on social media, CBS 2 Chicago reported Wednesday.
“This is something my community is demanding action on,” said Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove), who is proposing gun buyers reveal their public social media accounts to Illinois police before they’re approved for a firearm license.
In order to be granted a FOID card by the overlords in Illinois, you have to answer a questionnaire that asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony, whether you are addicted to narcotics, whether you’ve been treated in a mental institution or are “intellectually disabled.” Other questions ask about convictions of some specific crimes, whether you are an illegal alien, whether you're named on a current order of protection that prohibits firearms, the Herald Review reports.
“A lot of people who are having mental health issues will often post on their social media pages that they’re about to hurt themselves or others,” Didech said. “We need to give those people the help they need.”
Before opening fire inside Florida’s Parkland High School and killing 17 people, Nikolas Cruz posted “very disturbing” images on social media sites last year.
Cruz’s Instagram account had photos of a young man posing with guns and knives, his head covered with a balaclava – a knit mask that covers most of the head and face. One post about buying a gun read: “I plan on getting this but I need more information on it so if someone could give advice on how much I’m spending and background cheeks [sic] please to god let me know.” Another post showed a target that had been shot up. The caption read, “Group Therapy.”
Robert Bowers, who shot 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue last year, reportedly wrote “jews are the children of satan” on his Gab.com account before it happened.
And before former Marine Ian David Long gunned down 12 last year at a California bar he posted on Facebook, “I hope people call me insane.”
The bill is similar to one proposed in New York state – allowing police to recover the entire browsing history of a would-be firearm purchaser – though it is “less intrusive,” Didech says. “It gives Illinois State Police additional tools to make sure that dangerous weapons aren’t getting into the hands of dangerous people.”
Pro-gun groups, however, have vowed to fight against the legislation.
“When people look at this everyone who has a Facebook account or email account or Twitter account will be incensed or should be,” Richard Pearson with the Illinois State Rifle Association said.
The bill is so extreme that even the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois criticized it, saying it was concerned police scanning social media pages could lead to biased views about their application for gun ownership.
The bill “doesn’t say anything about how that list will be retained and for how long and what uses it might be put to,” Rebecca Glenberg with ACLU Illinois said. “A person’s political beliefs, a person’s religious beliefs, things that should not play a part in whether someone gets a FOID card.”