In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down a New York gun law that required applicants to provide a reason why they need to carry a firearm, the state passed a new law detailing the updated requirements to apply for a gun permit.
Starting in September, anybody who applies for a gun permit must provide a list of their current and former social media accounts from the past three years. The new law also requires applicants to undergo safety training, show they’re proficient at shooting, provide four character references, and schedule an in-person interview.
The new law brings up a host of privacy and constitutional concerns and has left many local officials unsure of how to enforce the new rules.
“Often the sticking point is: How do we go about enforcing this?” Metro State University criminal justice professor James Densley, the cofounder of the research initiative The Violence Project, told the Associated Press. “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.”
The state has not provided any money to help local officials enforce the new law or any guidance on what the look for when reviewing an applicant’s social media accounts.
Peter Kehoe, the executive director of the New York Sheriffs’ Association, said that local officials may not have the resources to dig through years of social media posts looking for potential red flags that could be used to bar somebody from owning a gun. He is also concerned that the new law could violate the constitution.
“I don’t think we would do that,” Kehoe said. “I think it would be a constitutional invasion of privacy.”