Social Media History Check Required for New York Gun Ownership

The “character and conduct” test is eerily similar to China’s social credit system.

QUICK FACTS:
  • New York now requires citizens to give the state access to their social media and to pass a “character and conduct” test in order to obtain a gun license.
  • Authorities involved with the “character and conduct” test are presented with the opportunity to scrutinize every political opinion and behavior the applicant has shared on their personal media profile, potentially denying applicants’ gun license on the basis of political beliefs.
  • The test is designed to conclude “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,” according to the state’s new rule.
  • It is not yet known if this same rule applies to private social media users or only those with open, public accounts.
  • New York’s new protocol came in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a law that mandated proof of threat before a person could carry a concealed weapon outside of their home.
CHINA’S SOCIAL CREDIT SYSTEM:
  • China’s social credit system ranks individuals according to their compliance with the Chinese Communist Party.
  • A Chinese citizen may be deemed untrustworthy by the government and given limited rights if they express anti-totalitarian and anti-communism sentiments.
  • The system aims to integrate private and public life as one entity, as the government monitors daily activities and choices.
  • Punishments for not adhering to appropriate social credit rules include travel bans, slow internet access, and pets being taken away.
BACKGROUND:
  • The Democrat city of New York City has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, despite more than 50 people being shot on July 4th.
  • Democrat-run Chicago, another city with strict gun laws, had at least 71 gunshot victims over July 4th.
  • New York governor Kathy Hochul signed an intensive legislative package in June to strengthen gun control measures in the state, banning semi-automatic gun sales to those under 21, prohibiting the purchase of body armor unless in specific professions, and reinforcing New York’s Red Flag Law.