home defense pic legal liability
courtesy instagram
legal liability social media posts
courtesy instagram.com
A reader who wishes to remain anonymous writes:
While Truth About Guns isn’t a social media site, with its busy comment section and active readers, it almost functions as one. So it’s worth mentioning that readers should be aware (not necessarily “beware”) of the possible consequences.
According to a post at US Law Shield, prosecutors and police are increasingly using social media as evidence in prosecutions. An example highlighted was a case in which someone posted a photo of themselves with a wildlife trophy, a specific breed of deer that’s not legal to hunt.
It’s possible for wildlife officers to see this photo and use that photo to press charges against the individual.
Another example is a group of pictures of a gun owner showing off various firearms. That person later became a “person of interest” in an investigation and the photos were used against the show-off.
The most applicable example is postings by a gun owner declaring themselves ready and willing to defend themselves and family by use of firearms. The implication being that said person was aggressive, just itching to shoot an intruder.
Even an innocent photo here and there of you and your friends at the range or showing off your new addition to your collection can be used against you. Imagine an enterprising prosecutor, gathering dozens of photos with you and firearms posted over a long period of time, to make it seem like you’re gun crazy. …
A picture tells a thousand words and even when there’s no unlawful activity in your post, it may be misconstrued or misinterpreted, and used against you by law enforcement.
The point of it all is that you should keep in mind that, like bullets, postings on social media can end up having a lawyer attached. A New York politician has proposed that gun buyers undergo a social media background check before being allowed to purchase a gun. Be mindful of that in the comments and photos that you post.

124 COMMENTS

  1. Looks like a pretty vicious toy do there.
    At least get a real dog over 100 pounds if you are going to have a macho pose.

      • Small dogs make great alarm systems can be quite distracting and are low to the ground (out of the line a fire usually)… Just Saiyan…

        • 100% correct. I have a great pyrenees to guard my farm and animals but I have a “yapper dog” (chihuahua) as an early warning system in the house, being my hearing is not as acute as it was years ago. Additionally, they are a distraction to an intruder who likely can’t shoot them because of their size and having their teeth attached to their ankle.

    • The big dogs are for visual effects. I had a malamute that all the neighbors were scared shitless of, but I would actually put that dog in a children’s hospital as a therapy dog.
      The shetland was the real alarm system.

    • No, you should report it to the EPA. After all, there’s all that grease and other toxic materials on or in the thing.

      • That lets me off the hook there since I use Frog Lube and Balistol and both are non-toxic. No fish kill from either, and if I accidentally help to build an artificial reef when my sailboat sinks in a big storm taking my guns with it, oh well it’s my loss.

    • Depends, what was it worth? Can you prove you owned it? How much is the deductible on your Home Owner Insurance? I have detailed photos and descriptions of all my guns. Not on social media of course. If I am ever robbed or suffer a terrible boating accident, I will be making an insurance claim.

      Had a big theft once from my truck, not guns but very important and expensive to replace. Home owner policy took care of it.

      • Maybe it is different in in neck of the woods, or maybe you simply didn’t mention it but around here home owner’s insurance will not cover firearms or firearms related accidents. If you want coverage for theft you have to pay extra and damage by, say fire from black powder storage they won’t cover at all if they can prove it was the guns you had that did it.

        If you haven’t already it might be worth looking into.

        • My wife added a “personal property” clause on our insurance. It covers up to $100k in various things, including our guns. In case of fire, burglary/theft, or any other destruction or loss, it’s covered. I think the policy was $2-3 extra/month.

        • I was told my homeowners policy had a $2000 limit unless I put a special rider on the policy for $260/year. Motivated me to finally invest in a gun safe. Thanks to a Black Friday sale I now have one for less than 2 years’ worth of what I’d be paying them.

        • You make a good point to check the details of your policy. I did when I picked it and yes, the guns are covered. Of course I would have to prove I owned them just like other valuables. So, I took steps on that and detailed records exist in a safe place.

          There are also gun safes.

        • Holy hell, it’s not enough that all these evil guns are out there killing all the innocents but now they’re also starting fires? Time to ban combustion.

          On a serious note, social media has always been the prosecution’s star witness.

  2. Think of social media as “anything you do or say can and may be used against you in a court of law/public opinion” with the addendum of “on this day and any future day.”

    Any post, pic, comment, visited site, shared media, etc… that can (and just about all of it can) be traced back to you is essentially at a state of permanence. As your life changes, as your neighbors change, as the world changes the things you’ve said and done digitally will always remain for just about anyone to dig up and represent however they see fit.

    Rep. Cortez is essentially the first thot politician and some mostly benign stuff has been trickling out ever since. This is just the beginning. In 10-15 years time people running for office will experience all sorts of intrusive reporting as their digital histories become the top news stories for entire election cycles.

  3. And it’s why I don’t use any social media under my real name or post photos of myself or things I own. Never have and never will.

    • It doesn’t matter if you use a screen name, nickname, or a pseudonym. A determined prosecutor can track it down to you.

      • Yep. And if anyone poses as you if you don’t have the money (most of us don’t) to hire someone who is skilled at this sorta thing then anything anyone does pretending to be you is likely to stick too.

    • You need a “Virtual Private Network” (VPN). A service that anonymizes your connection and keeps no records.

      Then you need an anonymous email address that does not use an address which tracks back to you as the fail-safe in case you forget your password.

      These are things to do Google searches on and start reading up about.

  4. No kidding. If you end up in court for anything, practically anything can be used against you. Especially if it’s published somewhere for the entire world to see.

  5. That’s all fine and dandy, because once I get my Neutrino Fusion Bomb built social media is vaporized. You can forget end of the world, think end of the universe. Every living stinking thing gone, Neptune, Pluto, stick your head up Uranus all vapor and my Neutrino Bomb vaporizes the vapor.. I fear not your puny social media. I am possum hear me roar

  6. JD, companies like google can still figure out who you are. They keep an extensive database of all accounts, location data of users, ip addresses, etc. You don’t even have to use google for them to get that information. Many non google companies use their applications. They fit the pieces together, and presto, they know who you are.

      • Nothing is safe, look what they did to Tor and onion routing. NSA cracked Tor via “EgotisticalGiraffe” but don’t forget DARPA was behind Tor in the first place. Don’t trust anything nor anyone, but more importantly don’t post anything.

  7. Remember , you should hide and deny any gun related activities. It’s dangerous and embarrassing, much like homosexuality. Progress is only made by keeping it hidden and illicit. Amiright?

  8. We live in a nation where armed thugs can break into your home at night, shoot your dog, throw flashbangs into your children’s crib, and walk away scot free. It’s a nation where good people disarm because they literally fear the police more than they fear non-state aggressors.

    I’d rather be dead than live in a country where I can’t loudly proclaim (on the internet or elsewhere) that I am ready and willing to defend myself and my family by any means necessary, including firearms. Consider this that proclamation. I will not cower before the tyranny of the state, and I will not live my life in fear that some feckless bureaucrat from the Ministry of Truth is judging my speech. If some cowardly lawyer wants to try to use this innocuous declaration of my intent to resort to defensive force if my life, liberty, or property are in jeopardy, then come get me, you bastard. MOLON LABE and SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS.

  9. Social media posting of the 2A lifestyle helps to normalize it in the culture at large. Just think of all the young people that Colion Noir and the like have brought over to our side. The chilling effect that these Red Flag laws will have on social media will suppress the growth our culture – a secondary befit to the unconstitutional gun grabs.

    • I agree. Sure it is a dangerous thing but since generally law abiding gun owners dont commit crime having it on social media only normalizes the behavior.

      It can also be a good thing.

      • “…generally law abiding gun owners dont commit crime…”

        Based on which criteria? Don’t imagine for a moment that online postings of “…law abiding gun owners…” can’t be sorted to presented a picture of a dangerous person.

        Always keep in mind that as far as the anti-gunners and LEO are concerned, “In a just, sane and fair society, sny one who wants to own a gun should be disqualified based simply on that fact.”

  10. I try not to rant but frequently fail…I already KNOW TTAG is a helluva long way from being secure. Fakebook is worse than the NSA. Be prepared😩

    • Some day we will learn that all these idiotic social media/disease IS the NSA. And for damn sure these moronic send in your DNA samples. What kind if idiot would…..

    • …he must have gotten it back when the short-and-fat fad was going on.

      I’ve known several chihuahuas, they only thing they were a danger to was unoccupied laps.

  11. This is more a critique of a flawed Justice System that entertains SJW claims of “offense” which apparently still don’t require the burden of hard evidence, facts, and investigation. We have allowed social media to adopt the role of a guilty until proven innocent judicial system.

    And the media eats all of it up for entertainment $$$.

    Separate social media grandstanding and accusations from legitimate legal proceedings and we’ll be on the road to recovery. Keep behaving and treating them as the same thing, and this circus will remain open.

  12. This falls under the much broader advice of “If there’s even one person out there you don’t want seeing it, then don’t put it on social media.” It’s a gigantic bathroom wall where everyone either knows or can easily find out who wrote what.

  13. Government has been slow to the party on this one.

    Social media is watched by private companies for threats and leaks of confidential information. There are private security companies that offer these services. It isn’t even a recent thing, ten years back a company I worked for had a large lay-off. Senior management didn’t realize an hourly worker (me) was in the conference room as they discussed how it was being handled. One of them mentioned the name of a security company that was watching social media for threats as a result of the lay-off. The report was none had been found.

    Social media is no different from any other sort of record of what you say or do. This is a very bad thing for criminals, which is as it should be.

    For a worker talking about an employer, it is a big risk even if no criminal behavior is involved.

  14. Yes, all POTG must be afraid, very afraid. Be afraid of your own shadow. Be afraid of Big Brother’s shadow. Hell, be afraid of my shadow. Hide away your firearms and ammunition, like the dirty little secret they are. Learn to be ashamed of anything, everything and of nothing. Bow and scrape before the anti-civil rights bigots, the SJWs and any drooling, virtue signaling moron you meet.
    Or, do not violate the law and provide the world with photographic evidence. At least try to think, speak, act and dress like an adult. Exercise your rights openly and fearlessly. We are in the middle of a new civil war. It is a culture war and you are on the front lines.

  15. that is the reason I keep all my ducks in a straight line stay friendly with cops and keep all records and stay legal and don’t use twitter or anything like it

    • and don’t use twitter or anything like it

      Ummmm… you mean like commenting on TTAG? 😀 Yeah.. that’s nothing like Twitterbookgram. 😉

  16. “Attention: All TTAG users, YOU have all been identified as Enemies of the State! Do Not move! Please surrender all legal and illegal weapons to the responding Firearms Confiscation Squad Commandos! This is for your own good, and the good of public safety! Be Well! “

    • Oh, yes. And they WILL dig into your profiles en-mass. How do you think they are planning to enforce their bans?
      No, they won’t arrest 1 MILLION owners. They will just make example out of the few hundreds and that will be enough to scare the others or their spouses to turn in the rest.
      It’s the standard Communist MO. Been done before and always worked.
      Unless of course, someone takes their weapon to the source of money that funds all of them.

  17. Or we can focus on combating the real problem; people who adhere to the mantra “Perception is reality”. I loathe that statement from the first time I heard it in the Corps. It means the truth is irrelevant and the truth is what you can convince people of. One step closer to the worlds of Minority Report and 1984.

    • ” “Perception is reality”. I loathe that statement…”

      Thank you for your service, but….

      There has been no objective truth since the 1960s. “Reality” is what people believe it to be, moment-by-moment. Any attempt to convince someone to agree to a truth is futile. Better we work to change the “perception” of people to align with our perception.

      • “Perception is reality”. Sounds like one of the unofficial mottos of a former employer I used to work for (which now no longer exists). A manager’s perception, which she openly communicated in the lunch room at lunch time, was that I made no contribution to the company. This resulted in me being placed on her “Productivity Improvement Program”, a special subset of her “Special Treatment List” which I was already on. Her way of improving productivity was to revoke the privilege to take leave (actually a legal right), 15 minute lunch breaks (violation of employment contract), and mandatory disciplinary overtime which set at a total of 65 hours per week (also in violation of employment contract and law as well). HR took her to town over these when they found out.

  18. I think the real question is why you’re on social media in the first place. I’m from the generation that’s supposed to be addicted to this shit and I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone uses it.

    Maybe I just grew up with the internet but I just SMH when people are surprised that Facebook and Google “spy” on them.

    Is it a picture so awesome that you’d run to Kinkos for copies and post them all over town? No? Then why the fuck are you posting them all over the world using the internet?

    • agreed. most social media is so mind-numbingly boooooring.

      i don’t care to see pictures of what meal someone ate for dinner last night. i don’t care about someone’s cat.

    • Social media and video games are increasingly being designed in the same way: as addictive “games” that make people want to keep playing even when it harms their well being. The technologies are using neuroscience to create addictive experiences that, much like any other drug, get people used to the “highs” involved and then create a void when they’re not there.

  19. Is it wrong to curate a fact pattern that’ll troll them in to doing something, and make them look like schmucks when the rest of it comes out?

    Asking for a friend.

  20. I don’t say anything on here that I wouldn’t say in public.

    Or haven’t probably already said to my representatives is Congress and the Senate.

    I try to avoid emotion but its always personal when you speak about liberty.

  21. Government is already asking for five (5) years of social media history if you are applying for USA travel visa.

    IRS now checks if they think you owe money before you can get a US passport.

  22. New Dork State tyrant Cuntmo wants a bill passed that requires a mandatory 3 year investigation of all your social media sites just to purchase a firearm or renew any permits you now have. Citizens will have to surrender their social media passwords and wait 10 days or more. Of course there is NO RESTRICTIONS on their search or who they may pursue for information with no limits on what they may DEEM grounds for refusal of firearm purchase or permit renewal! There is no appeal process if rejected. The goal is to eliminate all gun owners!

    • I pray SCOTUS (after RBG acquires room temp) gets a bite at these overreaching bastardized abuses sooner than later. Maybe w 3 Trump picks up there we have a chance.

      The NY law being proposed has another potentially chilling effect: Most people have heard what a nightmare it is to obtain a pistol license in NY. If this social media thing passes, anyone who is denied a pistol license in NY through this thing would be considered an ineligible person (this already happens here if they suspend or revoke a PL) and that person would then have to surrender all of their long arms in addition to any handguns.
      This madness is spreading and it’s no longer a NY or Commifornia problem…it’s trying very hard to reach the rest of you. Get in the fight before it spreads any further. PLEASE

  23. Meh. I’m not going to change being me. I’m going to keep flying my Gadsden flag, post my opinion online, voice my political dissent, and not hide the fact I am a gun owner. I’m not going to live in fear or criminals, state sponsored or otherwise. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that making threats online or posting illegal activities on the internet billboard will get you in trouble. That’s a no brained and I have no sympathy for those idiots. Now, outside of that, consider this. Your hauled into court one day, for anything. This hypothetical liberal prosecutor is going to attack you regardless. They’ll attack the fact that you own guns, are a member of any pro gun rights org, they’ll attack you for your skin color and the way you vote. So, continue to express yourself appropriately. Don’t be afraid.

  24. Posting pictures of yourself on social media is stupid. Social media is stupid in general, especially Facebook. Don’t even have a Facebook or Twitter account and you’ll be a lot better off.

  25. As perhaps more than a few have discovered to their dismay, the less said about one’s self on “social media”, the better. It was Abraham Lincoln to whom the following was attributed. It’s better to stand mute, and have people think you a fool than to speak, thereby removing any question.

  26. This will get interesting. Notice how the current trend seems to be digging up old (by several years) clips and writings and holding the person that made them to the now hyper sensitive standards of today? The witch hunts have begun.

  27. I don’t want to hurt anyone, I don’t want to shoot anyone.

    I will if I need to, but I will feel really bad about it afterwards.

  28. The pocket dump of the day seems to be one of the dumbest features on TTAG; dumbest for the volunteer that is. Why would anyone want to broadcast to the world what they are toting on a daily basis.

  29. now if the po-po had only used that same technique of reviewing social media posts pre-crime on the San Bernardino jihadi terrorists, or the Broward County school shooter…

  30. Get the F off social media completely, if possible. If you must stay on, post nothing politically charged, and post NO photos or discussion of guns. Become the underground resistance.

  31. The government also photographs you in public, security cameras. The government also reads locally-produced newspapers. National magazines and other media, reading with things that you’re doing if you happen to appear in those Publications.

    If you don’t want the government “to look at you” then don’t go out in public, and stay off of a computer.

    And don’t post the physical evidence of you breaking the law on open social media! The government is indeed looking for you.

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