Gun Owners are in for a rough ride ahead-Get Ready!

Social media background checks are only the leading edge of the storm.

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Overall, the last two years have been pretty good for gun owners. With the exception of corporate attacks on the NRA and gun manufacturers and their creditors-which is an entirely new threat to our rights-little has happened at the federal level. This has been due to a strong Republican majority in the house, a Republican majority in the Senate, and at the top, a President who it can be argued, is possibly the strongest Second Amendment supporters to ever occupy the White House. There have been some small losses in various states, but also there have been other gains. We could have had a gain here in Ohio for the rights of people who use deadly force to defend themselves were it not for the Governor of our State who promised to veto the legislation that will improve Ohio's "Stand Your Ground Law". It looks like we will have to hope that incoming Governor DeWine will support those changes.

Unfortunately, we lost the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrat party in the November election. In fact, we lost it worse than it seemed on election night. If you haven't noticed, there are no more Republican members of the U.S. House from California-even though the candidates won on election night. Thanks to a new California law, people are now allowed to hand deliver votes to the boards of election for weeks after the election is over for counting-allegedly for relatives who were unable to send in ballots themselves. In a couple of cases at least, individuals with seemingly huge families delivered hundreds of ballots to the boards. One person even brought in 200 ballots which were accepted and counted. The former large margins of victory even in solidly Republican Orange County dwindled to nothing, and democrats who had been declared losers were suddenly declared winners.

Although we have more solid control of the Senate than we previously did, the pressure to pass new gun control laws that is going to come from the House, the media, social media, and activists will be tremendous. Gun Control bills of all shape, matter, and form are being drafted and others being dusted off as I write this. Many will find their way over to the Senate. But thankfully-at least for -have President Trump at the very top to hold the line in case the Senate doesn't. These mostly conventional gun control bills and semi-automatic weapon bans are still not the biggest threat that I see on the horizon. The biggest threat comes in the form of a new legislative concept from New York State.

The measure, New York State Senate Bill S9191, was introduced by State Senator Kevin Parker from New York's 21st Congressional District. The bill has the laudable goal of "keeping firearms out of the hands of potentially violent people"-which is a goal that every law-abiding citizen wants. However, it is the way that Senator Parker supposedly wants to accomplish this goal which presents the problem.

S9191 was introduced as a "response" to the horrific Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting as well as the Parkland, Florida Shooting. In the case of the Parkland Shooting the fault clearly lies with the shooter AND the Broward County Sheriff's Office. Want proof of that? Well in addition to the now infamous School Resource Officer Deputy Scot Peterson who failed to go after the shooter while the event was occurring-and who resigned immediately after the event with his pension unfortunately intact-the Captain who arrived on the scene and ordered the deputies to stage outside has also resigned, and two other deputies who failed to act and fled from the gunfire were just fired by a commission investigating the incident. In both incidents, the shooters made threatening social media posts before committing their acts, and in both cases the posts were ignored or not take seriously.

So, what is Senator Parkers legislative response? Anyone who wants to have their concealed carry permit renewed must agree to have their social media history (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc.) and internet search histories (Google, Bing, Yahoo, et al) from the past 1-3 years reviewed by investigators before the permit is renewed. The Miami Herald writes that "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."

I know some of you are saying-which is the same thing so many other people say when the topic of massive government investigation of private internet activity for the purpose of security is proposed-"I don't mind, I don't have anything to hide". I had a friend say that very thing to me a couple of years ago. When I asked who will define what inappropriate internet activity is and how they will do it. I also pointed out that maybe someday Christianity could be defined as inappropriate or hateful activity (as it is in so many parts of the world right now). He then gained a different perspective about the issue.

In the proposed New York legislation who are the police officers who decide EXACTLY what is the language that would trigger the prohibition on getting your permit renewed? What form of appeal is there if they don't like your social media activity? What if you said something in opposition to radical Islamic terrorism like I just did right here? Will a government investigator say that what I just wrote was "hate speech" and deny my Second Amendment rights? And don't think this measure won't be extended to all gun purchases if it should pass as a "good first step".

Another problem-how long will such investigations take? There has been no talk of that. How many law enforcement personnel will be tasked with doing these background checks? What if they simply can't afford enough or even any investigators-like more than one-to do the checks? How many years will it take to get to your permit to get processed then if ever? And while there aren't as many CCW holders in New York State as there are in Shall Issue states like Ohio, there are still a few people there who have concealed carry permits and those who purchase guns for general use. In New York City you have to get a pistol permit just to own a pistol. Would the law apply for that type of permit?

There is one small bright spot on the horizon. Of all organizations that one could think of that might oppose this measure, it is the ACLU that has said that government run social media policing has a chilling effect on the First Amendment. In fact, the ACLU filed an Amicus brief with the NRA in its law suit against Governor Cuomo's actions pressuring various financial firms not to do business with the NRA, and calling the NRA a terrorist organization. This is the first time in my Pro-Second Amendment memory that the ACLU has joined in the fight with us, and I am grateful for their help. I guess in this case "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" philosophy is proven true.

Will S9191 pass in New York? Conventional wisdom says no. But today too many people-far too many people-are willing to sacrifice their liberty-for the "greater good" of theoretical security. And way too many times "conventional wisdom" has been wrong.

Bad ideas always have a propensity to spread-to all levels-and to become law. Permitting the use of recreational marijuana comes to mind as a great example. Michigan just passed a law permitting it, without giving a full examination of what has happened to Colorado since they legalized marijuana. If you had said even 10-20 years ago that recreational marijuana would become legal, people would have rightly looked at you like you were nuts. But see where we are now. I'm afraid that given the right conditions, we could be looking back at "social media background checks" the exact same way in 10 years of less.

If you are not a member of the NRA, Gun Owner's of America, or the Second Amendment foundation you need to join any or all of them right away, because social media background checks are only the leading edge of the storm. There are also other "lesser" gun control bills waiting in the Congressional wings to incrementally chop away at our rights. And get other friends interested in the shooting sports. Like I said, it is going to be a rough ride.