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Enforcement Concerns on New Law for Gun Control

The investigation of mass killings in New York has caused the government to roll out a new strategy for gun control. Henceforth, people who desire to carry handguns must subject their social media accounts to scrutiny. This is so authorities can review individuals’ character and conduct seen online.

What Warranted the New Requirement for Gun Possession?

One recent mass killing, including nineteen kids and two instructors at an elementary school in Texas, started a new discussion about this requirement. Before many of the recent mass shootings, perpetrators have dropped hints online through social media or other mediums about their plans before committing these heinous crimes. Hence, a new requirement was passed with a law that sought to preserve some limits on firearms.

This law came after the Supreme Court ruled that most people have a right to protect themselves by carrying a handgun. To ensure a limit to “freedom,” Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, signed the new requirement. She also noted that shooters tend to telegraph their intent to shoot or hurt others without knowing.

What the New Policy Entails

Under this law, people applying for a firearm must release a list of current and former social media accounts to local officers when asked. The social media accounts released must be those from the previous three years. Then, authorities will review the profiles for statements and actions suggesting dangerous behavior.

Additionally, applicants must prove they can handle a gun, undergo hours of safety training, sit for in-person interviews, and provide references proving good character. 

Concerns and Questions Concerning the New Law

Many democrats and national advocacy groups for gun control applaud this approach to gun control. However, some experts have expressed concerns about how the government will enforce the law. Moreover, there are also concerns about freedom, and questions are being asked about how these will be addressed.

Some local officers have been responsible for reviewing the social media accounts of intending handgun owners. Many of these officers have questioned whether this law is even constitutional in the first place and if ample resources will be available for these checks.

Peter Kehoe, executive director of the New York Sheriffs’ Associations, expressed his concerns on how this law infringes on human rights, which he believes infringes on Second Amendment rights and is an invasion of privacy. Further, he does not believe local officers will necessarily look at the social media accounts even if applicants agree to release them.

Some experts worry that this new policy will set a precedent for mandatory closure of social media activity by applying for other types of licenses as well. Others say the state does not have the right tools and people to enforce this new requirement to prevent violence effectively.


Before the recent slew of mass killings, including one that took the lives of nineteen students and a teacher in Texas, individuals had been leaving breadcrumb trails on social media of what was to come. These incidents warranted a new requirement for gun possession, especially with the Supreme Court’s ruling reaffirming gun possession rights.

The requirement stated that individuals seeking to own a handgun must release their social media accounts to be scrutinized. “While many professionals and experts support gun control, many people do not think the state has the workforce or tools to uphold this law. Local officers given these tasks may not fulfill their responsibility because they consider it an invasion of privacy or have other problems with the rule,” says attorney Jeffrey Lichtman of The Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman.

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