New Bill Would Require Social Media Background Checks for Gun Permits

Illinois Democrats proposed a new bill that would allow police to examine social media history to decide whether people can buy guns. Conservatives at HotAir compared it to the pre-crime strategy deployed in the movie Minority Report.

Rep. Didech proposed that gun buyers reveal their public social media history to Illinois police before they are allowed to possess firearms CBS 2 Chicago reported Wednesday. “It gives Illinois State Police additional tools to make sure that dangerous weapons aren’t getting into the hands of dangerous people,” he said. “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.”

Pro-gun groups as well as liberal groups like the ACLU said they were deeply concerned.

Richard Pearson with the Illinois State Rifle Association commented that “everyone who has a Facebook account or email account or Twitter account will be incensed or should be.”

Rebecca Glenberg with ACLU Illinois commented that this bill “doesn’t say anything about how that list will be retained and for how long” and well as how it will be used specifically.

They are specifically worried about the political biases of those doing the examinations.

“A person’s political beliefs, a person’s religious beliefs, things that should not play a part in whether someone gets a FOID card,” Glenberg said.

Hot Air commented that they see this trend as disturbingly close to pre-crime prediction. They acknowledged that mass shooters like Nicholas Cruz may have posted disturbing content, but nothing necessarily illegal. They specifically note how problematic this line of reasoning can become, “this isn’t a real-life version of Minority Report. If you offer authorities the opportunity to pick and choose what social media posts are disqualifying for gun ownership, you’re opening the door to massive potential abuse.”

Hot Air then made the distinction between free speech versus illegal speech that actively calls for violence, “It’s true that there are limits to free speech, and if someone has been going on social media and threatening to harm people (or harm themselves), that’s a valid reason to hold up a permit.” But they address the fact that such rhetoric is already a crime and police should indeed be alerted to when and where it happens.

Guns Illinois Censorship Project

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