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While describing recent changes to New York’s already draconian firearms laws, Hochul said (see video beginning at 11:30):

We also talked about, I mentioned, social media a number of times. I’ve called upon and working closely [sic] with our attorney general to identify what’s going on in social media. Those questions are now part of our background check, such as like in the old days you’d talk to someone’s neighbor. Now you can talk to their neighbors online and find out whether or not this person has been spouting, uh, you know, philosophies that indicate they have been radicalized, and that’s how we protect our citizens as well. 

This plan, however, is problematic on its face, even before analyzing how it will be applied.

“[S]pouting philosophies,” even “radical” ones, is – of course – itself constitutionally protected conduct under the First Amendment. It cannot legitimately be suppressed by the government, nor can it legitimately be used by the government as a pretext to suppress other fundamental civil liberties like the right to keep and bear arms.

The Supreme Court has made clear that protected speech encompasses controversial expression. This includes such things as profanity, flag burning, nudity, criticism of U.S. military action during wartime, criticism of the government, and even advocacy of force or law violation, except where it is directed to inciting “imminent” lawless action and “is likely” to incite or produce such action.

Content on various social media platforms is already required to comply with the various platforms’ terms of service. As rules from private companies, these restrictions are not generally restrained by the First Amendment.

So when Kathy Hochul mentions scrutinizing social media posts to determine someone’s eligibility to exercise Second Amendment rights, she is referring to a subset of expression that is already curtailed and censored by the tech companies themselves.

Putting aside the fact that New York’s entire approach of using social media posts as the basis to deny fundamental rights is facially unconstitutional, what is left after private content moderation for these officials to consider radical?

Judging by the statements of Hochul’s fellow far-left politicians, it is likely to be common philosophies and ideas that don’t mirror their own. 

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  1. It has been as much depressing as fun to watch the same people screaming about the evil patriot act wholeheartedly embrace measures of tracking, censorship and control only the most, at the time, out there conspiracy theorists warned would be coming.

    Kinda makes me think these people were never really against full spectrum state control and the eyes of the panopticon in every room and pocket the world over. They were just upset it was evil Bush and Cheney, whom they now all love and adore, in charge of it.

    But that would be terribly cynical and mean the majority of the political apparatus regardless of party affiliation is only out for their own gain and power and not really here to serve the electorate so that can’t possibly be true. Right?

    • Just described most of my family who now support the patriot act (current thing) and all it’s outgrowths because it’s a Democratic government now. I gave up expecting intellectual consistency let alone honesty for anyone that supports collectivism around the middle of Obama’s first term when I observed exactly what you described and saw even more intrusive surveillance instituted with nary a whimper of protest from the ones that bitched a fit under Bush.

      • SAFEupstateFML,

        When I was in my late teens or early 20s, I encountered many “older” people who were very cynical and I did not see any rational basis for such cynicism.

        Fast forward a “few” years: now I understand their cynicism and the factual basis for their cynicism.

        The sad reality is that massive numbers of people–quite likely a huge majority of our population–are seriously messed-up mentally and spiritually. I have only recently come to the conclusion that it is pointless to engage such people who seem to have an infinite ability to rationalize anything and everything–or who flat-out embrace destructive mindsets and behaviors.

        • I think strych9 has a great working theory on that one and whether you come at it from the demoralized, mass hypnosis, or indoctrinated ideas it all has elements that fit. A lot of people are branded and liberty is not their preferred brand and lack the memory or ability to recognize they are guided if not controlled in their manner of thinking (as are we all to varying degrees).

    • Democrats trust Big Government, as long as Democrats are in charge. That’s kinda their “thing.” What’s really funny is how the Left is all in on the big corporations these days.

      “If you ain’t shilling for Big Pharma, then you ain’t a Democrat!” -The Puppet, probably

    • There is an adage, “when I am weak I demand my rights as that is according to your principles, when I am strong I take your rights because that is according to my principles”. I think it is from the Dune series, but seems apropos. What needs to be appreciated is that hypocrisy is not unintentional. It is a show of power.

  2. These people are not deterred by Constitutionally protected rights nor the Supreme Court and it’s decisions. They do whatever they want, to control their constituents. If feel bad for New Yorkers who don’t already have firearms, ‘cause it don’t look like they’re tooling up anytime soon.

    • We are making sure people know their “options” be they semi auto shotguns (hilariously less restricted than a 10/22), bolt action rifles (now in AR 15 varieties) and various lever action options. The ruger pc9 was one of the top sellers after the AR15 for the past year but now I guess Benelli, Henry, and Kali Key will dominate for a while.

      • Had the conversation yesterday with a couple of coworkers that at the turn of the 20th century the lever gun and the pump shotgun were the “assault weapons” of the time.
        In some areas that is true again.

    • And so what happens to those who – like me – do not have any of those classic social media accounts, and have never had any? If I were a New Yorker and wrote “N/A”, would my application be indefinitely stalled for being “incomplete”, effectively denying me a permit by way of simple inaction?

      • We will find out in a few months/years if it doesn’t get hemmed up in court first but I would assume more intrusive follow up investigation for daring to have a semblance of privacy.

        • this site is the only social media I interact with. good thing I don’t live in ny. I would be black listed for sure. hell they would probably deem this post racist because I said black

  3. Kathy you ignorant slut, no one elected you. Do you know that you are unelectable and that’s why you trample on the constitution? I guess after the midterms are rigged that’s when you and yours will take over. Wouldn’t count on that you ugly hag. Maybe that’s your deal, I’m sure it would foul me up to see such an ugly hag every time I looked in the mirror

    • Redneck.45lc,

      Do you know that you are unelectable …

      First of all, I am confident that she largely does not care. Second, never ever underestimate the ignorance and/or stupidity of the electorate–which means it can be surprisingly easy for an otherwise “unelectable” candidate to win an election.

      Of course electability is not important if your political party controls Academia, the Press, and VOTE COUNTING.

      • It’s New York. They just vote for Democrats these days. They’d even vote for a senile puppet. Ask me how I know.

        • While true she is the most likely candidate to have the potential to lose to a republican in the better part of 2 decades. Still a toss up but a better shot than we would have had with Coumo.

        • I haven’t been following it, but that would be incredible. Even coming close to an upset might inspire the people in NY who have given up on trying to change things there.

          While I understand why Republicans are trying to expand their base, I always felt like they’re missing out on using an existing constituency. There’s an untapped potential voter base out there that either isn’t registered or doesn’t show up to vote.

        • To be extremely brief most NY does not vote, the dead do in several counties, polls for Hochul vs Zelden range from up 25 to up 3 points depending on who ran them. And already seeing commercials painting Zelden as a rabid anti abortion, Jan 6th insurrection supporting, irresponsible gun rights zealot. He is for reference about as hard right as Bush Jr. so………………..yeah.

        • Polls are another tool they use to demoralize potential voters and donors. I noticed in 2020 when the polls were so far off, it had to be either incompetence or lies. How did decades old polling outfits suddenly become incompetent? Hmm…

          These guys seem to be the most reliable. They have Hochul up by 4 which is surprisingly competitive. Imagine what could be done with a good candidate and an inspired electorate.

      • That’s exactly what I’m saying, it’s going to hit the fan after the election. It’s going to be the same old “most secure election in history” bs but we know better . Of course they stole the election.

    • Impeachnent coming up the pike? It sure would be appropriate.
      And follow on hers with more impeachments of the congresscritters who drafted such unconstitutional madness. They all swore an oath to uphold, defend, and apply the US and NY State Constitutions. None of them have been faithful to that oath. Such conduct is felony perjury. Filing some charges along those lines for the most egregious handful would also be appropriate. Maybe some sheriffs in some conservative couties could initiate such action.

  4. I believe if I was stuck behind enemy lines in New York I would simply load my magazines with gloves on and carry concealed regardless.

    • That totally never happens with aftermarket slides/extractors/barrels stop being paranoid. With that said revolvers are fun.

      • Up 2-5 for the most accurate ones (read actually used standard polling practices and not selecting potential voters exclusively from the Bronx). Will be interesting to see how NYC goes with crime control being an issue lately.

    • “…I would simply load my magazines with gloves on and carry concealed regardless.”

      Thank God I don’t have to, but if I lived there I probably would as well.

      Which would really suck, since I would avoid areas and situations where I would most likely be attacked and needed to defend myself. And that’s no way to have to live.

      And that frankly would infuriate the hell out of me… 🙁

  5. I see no compelling reason to be part of Facebook or Twitter. I don’t see any reason to be a New York resident either.

    • You’re here Prndll. You think a determined Dim can’t hack TTAG? It’s already been hacked. And trolled daily. I rarely post anything on fakebook save happy birthday & anniversary.

  6. There were no background checks in “the old days.” Asking someone’s neighbors is a great idea, I’m sure that MLK’s KKK neighbors would have liked for him to have no guns when they were burning crosses and bombing his house too. Kind of like that whole thing with the concealed carry permits.

    I’m curious to see this turned into a freedom of speech/association case because those rights have traditionally been treated by the courts much differently than 2A rights so I’d think they would have less traction even in a post Bruen world.

    • Also, this is an even easier way for them to deny people who aren’t politically connected. I could see the “neighbors” being your local friendly pol buddies if you’re in the right group and pay the right people the right amount of money.

      • “…and pay the right people the right amount of money.”

        NYC had that exact corrupt ‘system’ in place to approve carry permits.

        Just pay your ‘fixer’ the tune of 18 thousand dollars in cash for the permit… 🙁

  7. If all the Gun Owners in NYS voted against this “woman”, we would have a new Governor who stands by the rule of law!

  8. I don’t know who needs to hear it, but never post anything more controversial than cat pictures on the internet while using your real name. Sure the .gov can find out your IP address and go searching for stuff but they won’t if you’re flying under the radar. And never give up your real identity to the authorities.

    • “And never give up your real identity to the authorities.”

      Nearly impossible nowadays.

      Even your cat pics can have GPS data encoded into the image file by the camera that took them…

      • So Geoff (if that’s your real name) they’ll know your cat pictures were taken at your home. If your real name were Steve they’d have to search through trillions of files and analyze the gps stamps on all of them to determine that Steve goes by Geoff and does indeed own a cat. Sure it’s possible but you don’t have to make it easy for them.

  9. burdens corrupt .gov is making political prisoners out of protestors and dissenters. Why would the Fascists not look into your social media?

  10. “New York’s Concealed Carry Social Media Background Checks are Meant to Weed Out Political Views That Disagree With Those In Power”

    Well, of course it is.

    NYS changes to their laws are simply a standard, and natural, roach response. A nice piece of “lawfare”. NYS believes every sentence in their new law will have to be separately challenged in court.

    • Rate they are going they will end up making the rest of the country full on constitutional carry with the NFA tossed and still try to extort owners for whatever permissions and fees they can go for.

  11. Any politician who tramples on the Constitution or defies the Supreme Court must be removed from office and jailed for life. Put them in the cell where bubba can befriend them.

  12. If you engage in SOCIAL MEDIA you cannot then complain about it. I assume that anyting I write on Social Medial including onn these columns is in the Public Domain and available for perusal to anybody who wants to peruse it including any amount of Law Agencies.
    In the same vein I would assume that every LEGAL licensed Firearm owner and legal firearm in the USA is on Official Databases. I’d be very surprised if they were not.

  13. Why limit it to social media, I assume that your party affiliation is part of the public record as well. With the push to a cashless economy whose accounts do you think will be frozen first. maybe a Canadian can answer.

  14. Do a FOIA on yourself with the alphabet agencies. The CIA, FBI, DOD, Homeland Security et all. Takes time, but you will see what they know and what they want you to think they know.

  15. You can bet the Feds. if not your state know pretty much what you own for firearms. While they may claim there is no official data base or official record of purchases from BG checks, or ATF forms, you can bet there is a file somewhere.
    And, since I used to have a class III license, and still keep a C&R license, what I own is likely well known. Ever use plastic to buy ammo, cleaning supplies, parts, or other firearms related items? Bet there is a record of it. Sure, you can buy for cash, or a face to face deal behind the barn, etc. But, comment on a board like this, or mention it in an Email to a friend you bought something and there is a record someplace. Big Brother has been watching for decades.

  16. This is why I never signed up for FB, Twitter, et al. I had their number right from their origins back in the early aughts. So no one can check my social media posts because I never had any. Hahahah!

    • “So no one can check my social media posts because I never had any. Hahahah!”

      Uh, uuummm, like, you know, Dude….TTAG is social media. Tools exist to get beyond screen names, proxies, and VPNs (depending on the energy spent to find you).

      Government created The Onion Router, and the TOR browser. Not prudent to presume the creator of TOR cannot penetrate it.

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