Following the recent Supreme Court ruling determining New York’s handgun laws unconstitutional, Governor Kathy Hochul signed new legislation last week that denies a person’s free speech and privacy rights as tools to deny them their right to own a handgun.
New York lawmakers approved the sweeping overhaul of the state’s handgun licensing rules in another likely unconstitutional attempt to preserve the state’s power to deny law-abiding citizens the right to carry a handgun for personal protection (via APNews.com):
The measure, signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul after passing both chambers by wide margins, is almost sure to draw more legal challenges from gun rights advocates who say the state is still putting too many restrictions on who can get guns and where they can carry them.
Hochul, a Democrat, called the Democrat-controlled Legislature back to Albany to work on the law after last week’s high-court ruling overturning the state’s longstanding licensing restrictions.
Backers said the law, which takes effect Sept. 1, strikes the right balance between complying with the Supreme Court’s ruling and keeping weapons out of the hands of people likely to use them recklessly or with criminal intent.
But some Republican lawmakers, opposed to tighter restrictions, argued the law violated the constitutional right to bear arms. They predicted it too would end up being overturned.
Among other things, the state’s new rules will require people applying for a handgun license to turn over a list of their social media accounts so officials could verify their “character and conduct.”
Applicants will have to show they have “the essential character, temperament and judgment necessary to be entrusted with a weapon and to use it only in a manner that does not endanger oneself and others.”
As part of that assessment, applicants have to turn over a list of social media accounts they’ve maintained in the past three years.
People applying for a license to carry a handgun will also have to provide four character references, take 16 hours of firearms safety training plus two hours of practice at a range, undergo periodic background checks and turn over contact information for their spouse, domestic partner or any other adults living in their household. (Emphasis mine)
Using a person’s social media accounts in this manner isn’t a new idea.
In December 2018, the New York legislature attempted to pass SB9191, a bill that would have given state and local police the green light to investigate for “commonly known profane slurs or biased language to describe race, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.”
Under the measure introduced by state Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) — a man who, ironically, would be unlikely to be able to purchase a handgun due to his extensive history of violence — gun-permit applicants would have been required to provide usernames and passwords to the state and give their consent for authorities to investigate 1-3 years of their search histories and social media accounts before being allowed to receive or renew a handgun permit in New York State.
The idea laid dormant until the recent mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, at which point Governor Kathy Hochul announced a truckload of executive orders aimed at destroying free speech and privacy rights to deny gun rights in the Empire State in response to “domestic terrorism.”
Joe Biden laid the groundwork for Hochul’s executive orders when he labeled the tragic Buffalo shooting an act of “domestic terrorism” in order to push for passage of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, a bill that literally criminalizes free speech. Hochul latched on to Biden’s “domestic terrorism” rhetoric as a perfect “never let a crisis go to waste” opportunity to deny a person’s privacy and free speech rights to deny them their gun rights (via National Review):
Hochul said that she would sign several executive orders to restrict access to firearms and monitor “online extremism.”
These include a measure authorizing the New York State Police to seize weapons from any gun owner “whenever they have probable cause to believe that an individual is a threat to themselves or others.”
Hochul also announced that a new ‘Office of Counterterrorism’ would be created within the State Police with an exclusive focus on “domestic terrorism,” which would be required to monitor social media for evidence of violent tendencies and extremist ideology. (Emphasis mine)
Even if a person manages to get through the handgun obstacle course under the new handgun law, Governor Kathy Hochul and her Democrat buddies in the New York state legislature have added additional restrictions to the legislation. For example, people will be prohibited from carrying firearms at a long list of “sensitive places” like Times Square.
The list of sensitive places (essentially a roadmap for future mass murderers) also includes schools, universities, government buildings, places where people have gathered for public protests, health care facilities, places of worship, libraries, public playgrounds and parks, day care centers, summer camps, addiction and mental health centers, shelters, public transit, bars, theaters, stadiums, museums, polling places and casinos.
The New York law also bars people from bringing guns into any business or workplace unless the owners put up signs specifically stating that guns are welcome. Anyone who takes a gun into businesses lacking such a sign will be subject to criminal prosecution on felony charges.
If you’re wondering how New York’s denial of privacy and free speech rights will impact gun rights in the rest of the country, the answer is simple: nearly every bad federal law was at one time a bad state law. It’s only a matter of time.
Just like Joe Biden, the army of leftists running the Democrat Party, and a growing number of “conservative” Republicans, New York Governor Kathy Hochul will go to any lengths to destroy the right to own a handgun, even if that requires passing a law that destroys free speech and privacy rights in the process.
It won’t be long before the only place you’ll find the word “liberty” in New York is on an island known by that name found in Upper New York Bay; the same place where you’ll find a big, green statue of a lady that once stood as the universal symbol of freedom.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.