illinois social media background check gun control aclu
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The American Civil Liberties Union, aka ACLU, has a long history of thinking the Bill of Rights only has nine amendments.  So imagine the surprise of many when the ACLU rolled out in opposition to a new gun control proposal in Illinois.

Support Americans’ Second Amendment rights? Hah! Not the ACLU.  Their Deputy Legal Director and Director of Center for Liberty recently wrote this about gun control?

The American Civil Liberties Union firmly believes that legislatures can, consistent with the Constitution, impose reasonable limits on firearms sale, ownership, and use, without raising civil liberties concerns.

Which part of “shall not be infringed” does the ACLU not understand?  Is it the “shall not” part or perhaps the “be infringed” part? Even most dim bulb people are bright enough to understand those mostly monosyllabic words.

But alas, the great defenders of civil liberties (the ones they agree with, anyway) apparently found a gun control bill they couldn’t find a way to support in Illinois’ new “social media” check bill.

Daniel Didech Illinois social media background check guns
Daniel Didech (courtesy The Patch)

Democrat Daniel Didech, who represents Illinois’ 59th legislative district, has introduced Illinois House Bill 0888We covered this legislative gem last month. Since then, the bill has picked up two co-sponsors.

Didech’s bill would require the Illinois State Police to pore over a prospective gun owners social media accounts for “any information that would disqualify the person from obtaining or require revocation of a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.” Exactly what kind of content would disqualify someone is left to the imagination. 

From the Illinois General Assembly website:

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. Provides that the Department of State Police shall conduct a search of the purchasers’ social media accounts available to the public to determine if there is any information that would disqualify the person from obtaining or require revocation of a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Provides that each applicant for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card shall furnish to the Department of State Police a list of every social media account.

That’s about as broad an opportunity for government oppression as you’re likely to see.

On the ground here in Illinois, we’re told the law would cover not only social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but also online forums. Like Or online dating sites, especially those with forums.

And then there are other “social media” sites like Adult Friend Finder, Tinder, Grindr, or (gasp!) outright p0rn sites.

This is the bridge too far for the ACLU. It’s not so much the Second Amendment implications of the Illinois bill that bother them as it is the chilling effects on exercise of the First Amendment.

The good folks at the ACLU Illinois clearly don’t like the idea of the Illinois State Police searching through anyone’s P0rnhub or Swing Lifestyle accounts.

From CBS Chicago:

Rebecca Glenberg with ACLU Illinois says the bill “doesn’t say anything about how that list will be retained and for how long and what uses it might be put to.”

The first amendment group worries police scanning social media may show bias.

“A person’s political beliefs, a person’s religious beliefs, things that should not play a part in whether someone gets a FOID card,” Glenberg said.

Gun rights activists will certainly welcome the ACLU’s unexpected help in opposing a grossly unconstitutional proposal to the already unconstitutional Illinois Firearms Owners Identification Act. After all, just imagine a similar investigation carried out before issuing a permit to attend church. Or to vote.

denied 4473 gun purchase social media check illinois bill
4473 form courtesy

The good news: we hear Didech’s social media background check bill likely won’t make it to the House floor.   At the same time, we suspect more states will flirt with similar measures against gun owners (New York already has).

Time will tell how long it will take one of these bills to actually become law. We look forward to the ACLU’s continued help in opposing them wherever they are proposed.

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  1. John, your from Illinois, but I can guarantee you that even the most pro-gun states always have someone filing idiotic legislation.

      • Didn’t Florida, America’s pioneer in CCW liberalization, ENACT gun confiscation last year?

        And didn’t their junior US Senator (R-FL) sign it into law?
        And didn’t their senior US Senator (R-FL) introduce national gun confiscation?

        If we can’t trust the Gunshine State, can we trust anybody?

        How about Vermont, which never had a law banning concealed carry?
        Only one state can claim that pro-gun honor.
        They now have a confiscation law, and brag about conducting confiscations that law doesn’t even allow.

  2. Only if we can have the social media passwords of all politicians. Finally, the ACLU gets its ass in gear and maybe will realize that guns are a freedom and a right. Are they so numb they don’t realize the taking of one freedom makes it easier to take others? I wonder what they think of the New Green “Deal”?

  3. Can’t use those pesky social media posts because leftists are very “aggressive” online. It would be very “problematic” if they were to be held to some kind of standard for their conduct in public. Communists want and do buy guns too.

    • I had a small hope the liberals would open their eyes to the 2A when “Literally Hitler” “Took Over”, but alas… most of them prefer to remain blind.

  4. This bill is idiotic.
    If a psychopath has knowledge of this law before purchasing firearms, it’s extremely easy to delete your social media account or simply not post anything psycho related.

    • There are some police agencies that require similar terms for employment… if someone under 40 comes in and says “oh, I don’t have social media” they are assumed to be lying or that they have deleted it to hide something.

      I’m not saying it’s right- it’s not- but I am saying that the play won’t work because these guys want permits to be denied and they’ll find a reason if something like this were to pass.

      • I deleted my facebook 5 years ago because I was tired of dealing with all the idiots in my family and former friends, as well as fb’s increasing fascistic censorship and demands for personal information. I had a twitter and a tumblr that I never really messed with. The only way I connect with people digitally is on skype and sometimes discord.

  5. Given the number of complaints against building and construction contractors in most states maybe all electricians, plumbers, carpenters, HVAC technicians, and general contractors all ought to be included in this. In fact maybe we could eliminate medical malpractice and police brutality complaints, complaints against lawyers, teachers accountants, and other professionals also. Sounds like a great idea.

  6. The ACLU is a strange bird on the 2nd Amendment. They have at times defended it and alsofailed to do so by way of badly misinterpreting it. It seems to be that they have elements within that both understand the right to keep and bear arms and also those who believe that inanimate objects cause bad behaviors, making regulation of those objects reasonable.

    Another case where the ACLU (of Texas) was on the right side of things:

    Unusual Allies in a Legal Battle Over Texas Drivers’ Gun Rights

  7. Let’s be totally honest here: the only reason the ACLU opposes such a bill is because it violates our First Amendment right to free speech and our Fourth Amendment right to privacy.

    The ACLU could care less if a bill would totally gut our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

    • I have to agree. They are not actively defending the 2nd it just happens that their goals are temporarily and narrowly aligned with your’s and mine.

  8. We need all the people we can get to be pro-gun, even if it is in a limited way. While I do not support limitations, many others do. When we chase them off with “all or nothing views”, many will go against us. We need to win them over – and civil libertarians should be fine with people owning and carrying. Sooner or later, the ACLU will realize what is happening and see the light at the end of the tunnel. The green light is on for the confiscation of firearms, this allows for abuses on our civil liberties and well as our liberty as residents and citizens of the U.S.
    Any help here has the possibility of changing them into real civil libertarians.

  9. Wait a minute. The Parkland shooter had on his social media well before, that he was going to do something, and the authorities did NOTHING to stop this guy! So quite frankly, this “give up your social media account password” stuff is BS, because authorities have a knack for not doing anything ahead of time. Oh, but let us punish the law abiding, first. Do these idiots in Illinois (hmm, has a nice ring to it) ever stop and wonder why they hold the award for having the most crime-ridden city in the country? Probably not.

    • They don’t wonder. At minimum they don’t care if their laws stop anything. Effective laws just mean they’ll have to work harder to get re-elected. Better to let the problem fester so they can use it again next election. Better still to get something passed that disenfranchises people that wouldn’t vote for them anyway without actually solving the problem, because then they can claim they “did something” and “just need to go further”.

    • The Parkland shooter was overlooked because of a type of “second chance” program in the schools. Lots of people alerted the police, school etc. There’s info on-line about how many calls (red flags) were ignored. They knew about his social media rants, also ignored.

  10. Golly how special of the ACLU…I’ll take it😄We’re still screwed in ILLinois. I can’t afford the damn taxes either. Next stop-leave a mile east. I’m keeping my gats…

  11. Great, but where TF have they been in NY where the Legislature and Governor have been gutting 2A like a fish? The Gov has 9 new gun control bills on his desk RIGHT NOW.
    I can’t be too upset with ACLU for ignoring NY, so does the NRA, SAF and all the others who can’t find us on a map except to constantly whine for cash.

  12. For the record, the ACLU also opposes using the “Do Not Fly” list to prohibit gun purchases, and supported the repeal of the Obama rule adding people who need help managing their finances to the list of those prohibited from owning guns. Unlike many on the left, they seem to recognize that any restriction of the 2nd Amendment sets a precedent that can be used against rights that the left actually does care about.

  13. Have those worthies at the ACLU ever precisely defined the “reasonable limits” on a constitutional right they view as acceptable or that they would support. Not so far as I have noticed, which strikes me as problematic.

  14. So we don’t have any guidelines on what constitutes a disqualifying item.
    We don’t know who is going to do the research and make the determination.
    A previously attained FOID card can be revoked as a result.
    No due process is stated for contesting the ruling.
    And no crime or conviction is levied before 2A rights are removed.

    This one is a bit far. All they forgot was a demand the citizen fork over passwords and usernames along with all browsing history like New York suggested.

  15. I love how many people and government officials want to pass more and more laws. They don’t have the hours in a year to do everything a lot of agencies are required to do, so lets pass more laws for more tasks for the government to do! Giant fail!

    • “I love how many people and government officials want to pass more and more laws.”

      It is by design. “Government” really means the administrative bureaucracy. The executive branches and legislatures have appointed almost all their separate but equal powers to the administrative bureaus. The bureaus write the actual laws. The bureaus cannot abide individual freedoms. The passing of more and more laws is intentional, as a means to find something to “catch” you with when desired. Redundant laws are popular because they can be piled on to really wreck your life. The administrative bureaus want to create fear, and thus conformance, residing over every element of your life, like the Sword of Damocles, creating in you the fear that any moment you can be swept up and disappeared.

  16. ACLU support derives from the fact this is mostly a 4th amendment violation, so nothing much is different.

  17. The author misses the big point of the story.

    It’s no surprise that the ACLU objects to the government invading the privacy of social networking for what they consider to be the “normal” people.

    The crazy part is that they are apparently willing to extend their objection to actually include folks who want to buy a gun!

    • “The crazy part is that they are apparently willing to extend their objection to actually include folks who want to buy a gun!”

      The exact type person the ACLU considers not “normal”. Irony is sweet.

  18. John Boch, What part of “well regulated” in the 2nd amendment do you not understand? I am a gun owner and I enjoy shooting for sport. I also understand that it is ludicrous to believe that “any” person should be allowed to freely possess “any” type of arms. That’s why we have laws against constructing and possessing explosive devices.

    • Get out your 18th century dictionary. Well regulated refers to being well equipped, skilled and disciplined. The roots of the 2nd lie with the “militias” that were pheasants with British Longbows. Required a LOT of training.

        • ” “Well regulated” means well regulated in any century. ”

          Afraid not. Since about 1960, “well regulated” means government is doing a good job of controlling the activity, and the public is doing a good job of obeying government.

            • “I should have known better than to waste my time trying to reason with you.”

              It is not a matter of “reasoning”. Simply a matter of recognizing what is, rather than what I want. Where, today, do you find common expression of a “well regulated” military, in the sense you are using the term? “Regulated”, in the contemporary society is most commonly associated with regulations, not equipment and training.

              One of the difficulties facing strict constitutionalists today is the English language as it was spoken/written in 1787. It is necessary to note that the founders were educated, vs. trained. Today, a classic education mirroring that of the founders is rare as hens teeth in the general population. The founders were writing to, and for, each other; not for the masses. The founders had a vernacular that would be recognizable to the average citizen in 1787, but didn’t use that dialect in their formal writings (which the Constitution surely was). They didn’t often use it when personally corresponding on other subjects. (Read a letter of agriculture from Geo. Washington:

              The page above carries a bit of commentary prior to printing the text of the letter, but note the formal character of a letter about experimenting with planting certain crops.

              The founders did not have to explain “well regulated” to each other. If you use a term that is unfamiliar to your audience (gun grabbers and don’t knows), it must be explained in order to effectively communicate. Thus people who are versed in 18th century American English are obligated to both explain terms like “well regulated”, and recognize the context in which the listener perceives “regulated”. And that context is government regulations controlling the lives of the citizenry.

  19. It’s not guns they care about. It’s the social media and governments judgement of speech that concerns them. I hope the bill does pass and quickly after gets smacked down by the federal courts. That would be a win for both gun owners and free speech and a stunning defeat for assbagging lawmakers.

  20. Well, the ASJW(*) is big on some civil rights, assuming declaring them so, will make them so.

    Here in the really, real world, you gotta deal with peple who don’t do things the wy you wrote them down.

    (*) I refuse to call them the Civil Rights League, any more, especially since their recent re-chartering of priorities.

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