Illinois Democrat State Rep. Daniel Didech is reportedly proposing legislation in the Prairie State that would require gun buyers “reveal their public social media accounts to Illinois police before they’re approved for a firearm license,” according to WBBM News in Chicago.
He is following in the footsteps of New York State Sen. Kevin Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat, who last December proposed similar legislation in the Empire State.
Critics say such legislation translates to an invasion of privacy, and it’s not just gun owners who are lining up against the measure.
The CBS affiliate in Chicago noted that the ACLU is opposed to the measure, contending that the legislation does not clarify how such information would be retained, and for how long.
Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, told a reporter, “When people look at this everyone who has a Facebook account or email account or Twitter account will be incensed or should be.”
The arguments both in New York and now in Illinois have been the same. Mass shooters, such as Florida’s Nikolas Cruz and Ian David Long, the Thousand Oaks, Calif. gunman, posted messages on social media, so all prospective guy buyers need to be thoroughly checked before they are allowed to exercise a constitutionally-enumerated fundamental right.
But such intimate scrutiny turns a right into a regulated privilege, opponents argue. ACLU spokeswoman Rebecca told WBBM, “A person’s political beliefs, a person’s religious beliefs, things that should not play a part in whether someone gets a FOID card.”
Didech reportedly believes his bill is “less intrusive” than the legislation Parker introduced in Albany before the holidays. But just how “less intrusive” is it?
Didech argued that his bill “gives Illinois State Police additional tools to make sure that dangerous weapons aren’t getting into the hands of dangerous people.” But isn’t that always the argument by proponents of increasingly intrusive “background checks” that may be more designed to discourage prospective gun owners than prevent criminals, who do not go through background checks, from getting firearms?
When he submitted his bill in New York last year, Parker contended that, “Although New York State has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, we can no longer provide protection to gun owners at the expense of the rest of society.”
Well, the Constitution is supposed to provide that protection—from government—to gun owners.
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