Handgun buyers would have to give cops social media passwords under New York proposal

A new proposal would require New Yorkers who want handgun licenses to undergo search engine and social media checks, including handing over log-in information and passwords to police.

State Sen. Kevin Parker, a Democrat representing Brooklynintroduced the bill this month, according to the state legislature’s website. If signed into law, the legislation would impact those applying for or renewing their licenses to have a pistol or revolver.

Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram are the social media platforms that would be scrutinized under the bill. Investigators would review applicants’ Google, Yahoo and Bing search results as well.

Text of the legislation says “the New York state police shall, after obtaining the licensee’s consent … and obtaining any log-in name, password or other means for accessing a personal account … review a licensee’s social media accounts for the previous three years and search engine history for the previous year.”

 The stated purpose of the law is figure out whether anything on the applicants’ social media or search engine results present “good cause for the revocation of a license.”

But what does “good cause” include?

Under the bill, police are instructed to watch for posts that include profane slurs or biased language related to race, color, ancestry, gender, religion, age, disability and sexual orientation. Other red flags would include threats to other people and acts of terrorism that turn up in the search, the legislation said.


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