Illinois Democrats are pursuing a new law that would require anyone who wants a firearm license to show police their social media accounts. Two state Democrat lawmakers say that the law would give authorities the chance to recognize warning signs before giving dangerous people the opportunity to own a gun. As though anyone with any sense would not simply scrub their social media accounts of any such “warning signs” before giving police a look-see.
“A lot of people who are having mental health issues will often post on their social media pages that they’re about to hurt themselves or others,” Rep. Daniel Didech told a local CBS station.
Perhaps, but what it to stop them from simply deleting that message before going to get their firearm license. Furthermore, is this really the way things go? You’re feeling suicidal, so you go through the laborious process of getting an Illinois gun license? Hmm, maybe. We’re pretty sure there are quicker ways. This sounds like just another excuse to make things more difficult for law-abiding, innocent gun-buying Americans. Just another excuse to limit the Second Amendment. Just another excuse for government to stick its nose into the lives of its citizens.
While proponents of the measure point to things like the Parkland shooter and the guy who shot up the synagogue last year as examples of murderers posting violent material on social media, one doubts that police in Illinois would limit their “red flags” to direct and clear threats of violence. It would only be a matter of time before people were denied gun licenses because they wore a MAGA hat in a candid picture or because they reposted something Richard Spencer wrote on Twitter. This entire idea smacks of government overreach, and it needs to be challenged in court if it winds up on the governor’s desk.
The big problem with this kind of “let’s catch it before it happens” mentality is found in a flaw in human reasoning. We see that this mass shooter over here displayed this-and-that warning sign, so we come up with some law allowing authorities to single out that warning sign among others. The problem is that there may be hundreds of thousands of Americans who make posts indistinguishable from those made by Nikolas Cruz, and they will never lift a finger to harm a fly. It’s a comforting thought to feel as though we can Minority Report our way out of this mass shooting situation, but it’s never going to happen. We’re just going to wind up penalizing a whole lot of people who were never threats to begin with.