SCOPE often points out that the people going after the 2nd Amendment are also going after the rest of the Constitution and especially the 1st Amendment.
The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University says on its web site, “Conversations that once took place in parks, sidewalks, and public squares now take place largely online, and often on privately owned social media platforms. As a society, we are just beginning to grapple with the question of how the First Amendment and free speech principles should apply in these digital spaces.”
“Knight” has just, along with five other gun rights organizations, filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit in the case Antonyuk v. Hochul. (The big lawsuit challenging many aspects of Hochul’s Concealed carry Improvement Act.) “Knight” argues, in the brief, that the part of New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act that requires applicants to register their social media in order to get a pistol permit…is unconstitutional. New York’s regulations must conform to the First Amendment and this particular provision of New York’s new gun law does not.
Anna Diakun, staff attorney at the Knight Institute argues, ‘Not only has the state failed to demonstrate that the social media registration requirement will actually further its goals, but it has also failed to acknowledge its costs: It will have a profound impact on the right to speak anonymously and associate privately online, and it will invite discrimination by licensing officials.’
The brief further states that “the statute compels applicants to direct the State to a record of their online speech and associations. The natural and predictable result of this requirement is that applicants will refrain from speech or associations online that they fear may be held against them in the application process or that they do not believe should be subject to government inspection.’
Katie Fallow, senior counsel at the Knight Institute said: ‘The state’s dragnet social media registration requirement goes far beyond what is necessary, and will set a dangerous precedent for broad intrusions on individuals First Amendment rights…If the New York law is allowed to stand, one can easily imagine the government imposing these requirements in any number of other situations.’
What an accurate description, labelling the law as a “Dragnet.”
The brief quotes Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s concurrence from a 2012 Supreme Court case called United States v. Jones, in which she stated that “Awareness that the government may be watching chills associational and expressive freedoms. And the government’s unrestrained power to assemble data that reveal private aspects of identity is susceptible to abuse.”
How about the government’s power to assemble data on gun owners – or anyone else that opposes the government’s actions?
Who are the other organizations joining in the brief? The brief explains, “This is of urgent concern to amici gun owners’ associations, which represent Asian Pacific Americans, African Americans, women, LGBTQ individuals, and politically active individuals—some of whom have particular reasons to distrust law enforcement and to fear the government’s scrutiny of their online lives.”
Those other gun rights organizations are:
The Liberal Gun Club, (gun-owning liberals and moderates), and
The DC Project Foundation, (female gun owners), and
The Asian Pacific American Gun Owners Association (Asian Pacific Americans who own guns), and
The National African American Gun Association (members of the African American community), and
The Operation Blazing Sword–Pink Pistols lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (“LGBTQ”) firearm owners.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Hochul may have kicked a hornet’s nest in her wild desire to deny us our 2nd Amendment rights. Perhaps, she should have followed NY law and not declared a non-existent emergency and, instead, thought about what she was doing.
Of course, if she thought about what she was doing she wouldn’t be doing what she is doing.