Editorial: Don’t respond to shootings by attacking Bill of Rights

Having clerks or police officers or any other government employees wade through the social media posts of gun license applicants, besides being cruel and unusual punishment for the people forced to do it, would be time-consuming, expensive and unconstitutional. State Sen. Kevin Parker, a Democrat from Brooklyn, has proposed a bill that would require handgun license applicants to turn over login information so investigators could review three years’ worth of their social media posts along with their internet searches from the previous year. It’s hard to imagine a more tedious job than scrolling through the thousands of mundanities and inanities on other people’s social media platforms. On that basis alone, this proposal should go nowhere. 300×250 image ad The bigger issue is rights. The proposal infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms. While the government should be allowed to enforce reasonable gun control laws — and the Supreme Court has said that — it’s not reasonable to revoke someone’s right to own a gun because, for example, he calls people ugly names on Facebook. Parker’s proposal would have investigators look for threats of violence or terrorism or the use of racial or ethnic slurs. Making certain sorts of violent or terroristic threats is already a crime, and in New York, people convicted of some of these crimes, such as harassment and menacing, are already banned from owning guns. Threatening to harm someone is different from insulting them, and very different from expressing generalities about groups of people, […]

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