New York Gov. Kathy Hochul knew that Bruen would go against her state. As a result of that decision, a number of other measures were passed through, measures that looked to adhere to the decision. At least, they would if you squint.
One of those measures is that authorities can scour your social media to see if you have the proper “good moral character” New York seeks to demand from those seeking permits.
However, some recent comments are rather suggestive as to what this is really about.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) used a Wednesday press conference to highlight new state gun controls and emphasized that talking to a would-be gun buyer’s “neighbors online” is now part of a background check.
Hochul’s comments to reporters and others gathered for the conference were wide-ranging, focusing broadly on New York’s Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns.
She then discussed social media, saying, “I’ve called upon and am working closely with our Attorney General to identify what’s going on in social media. And those questions are now part of our background checks. Just like in the old days you could talk to someone’s neighbor, now you can talk to their neighbors online to find whether or not this person has been espousing philosophies that indicate they have been radicalized.”
In other words, she wants issuing officials to look at your social media history and determine if you have the wrong opinions on particular issues.
See, this isn’t about whether you’re a criminal or anything like that. This measure is a gauge as to whether you’re the “right sort” for New York to give a permit to. Moral character requirements were originally intended to keep from giving permits to people like alcoholics or such. While that’s not a good reason, it’s at least understandable.
But Hochul’s comment about whether some have been “radicalized” is a problem.
For one thing, just about everything that isn’t in line with progressive ideology has been labeled as extremist to some degree. At least some think the GOP as a whole is extremist. Hell, just not supporting gun control has been seen as radicalization.
So who defines being radicalized in this case? There’s a huge gulf between opinions shifting in a more conservative or libertarian direction and calling for the complete and total overthrow of the United States government or for a jihad against American infidels.
So where is that line?
Frankly, it doesn’t matter. What Hochul has essentially admitted is that this is about WrongThink. It’s about not having approved thoughts and if you have those, you risk losing your right to bear arms. That’s not what rights are about.
Imagine if we were considering denying the right to free speech to communists, for example. Now, communism has killed more people than all the mass shooters in American history combined–probably more than all gun homicides in this country combined, really–but we tolerate their right to speak freely and advocate their heinous ideology because that’s what a free society does. Rights exist for all or they exist for none.
And Hochul would likely be right there, defending their right to free speech, which is fine.
What’s not fine, though, is that she’s openly supporting the suppression of other rights simply because people may not think what she wants them to think.