Gun rights advocates and social media experts are sounding off on what some are calling groundbreaking legislation in New York that’s designed to flag the social media accounts of potential mass shooters before the violence happens.
This comes following a Fourth of July parade shooting committed by a man who investigators say posted his intentions online.
If you want to buy a gun in New York after Sept. 1, you’ll need to provide more than just your identification and your Social Security number.
Legislation signed by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul requires applicants to also provide a list of social media accounts that they’ve maintained over the last three years, so officials can verify their “character and conduct.”
Authorities say several red flags were missed on Robert Crimo’s social media accounts before he fired more than 70 rounds from a roof killing seven people at the Highland Park, Illinois, parade.
RELATED: Parade shooting suspect bought 5 weapons despite threats
The 21-year-old’s posts revealed he had an obsession with violence. In one post he’s seen wearing tactical gear and scattering bullets on the floor. Last October, he posted some crudely drawn images showing a figure shooting victims with a rifle and then being gunned down by police in a pool of blood.
New York’s new law will also make applicants provide the state with four character references, proving they have the temperament and judgment to be trusted with a handgun.
“Though the thought is good, I think the implementation is going to be very hard,” said Dwann Holmes, a social media expert with Brand on Demand Media.
Holmes points out that it’s hard for social media platforms themselves to monitor who they think could be a threat, and she said social media users often opt to not get involved. She questions if relying on the gun applicant to be honest about their social media accounts is realistic because accounts can be created easily with a valid email address.
“Because what you’re trying to guess here is, you’re trying to think that a criminally minded person Is going to walk in integrity in that moment and connect you with someone who will vouch for them -- that in itself is a big, huge dichotomy for me,” Holmes said. “We recognize something needs to be done in America to get a handle on the gun violence, to get a handle even on the evidence on social media, but when it’s all said and done, the question is how effective will it really be.”
News4JAX also spoke with gun rights lawyer Eric Friday, who said he expects New York’s law to be challenged and struck down.
“It’s time for these politicians to understand what the court told them in the decision a couple of weeks ago, the second amendment is not a second-class right,” Friday said. “It’s not subject to different rules than the First Amendment.”
New York’s governor also prohibited guns from specific areas, including Times Square, subways and government buildings to name a few.
The law also goes into effect in the wake of a mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo and an attack on a Brooklyn subway this year.