The American Civil Liberties Union, aka ACLU, has a long history of thinking the Bill of Rights only has nine amendments. So imagine the surprise of many when the ACLU rolled out in opposition to a new gun control proposal in Illinois.
The American Civil Liberties Union firmly believes that legislatures can, consistent with the Constitution, impose reasonable limits on firearms sale, ownership, and use, without raising civil liberties concerns.
Which part of “shall not be infringed” does the ACLU not understand? Is it the “shall not” part or perhaps the “be infringed” part? Even most dim bulb people are bright enough to understand those mostly monosyllabic words.
But alas, the great defenders of civil liberties (the ones they agree with, anyway) apparently found a gun control bill they couldn’t find a way to support in Illinois’ new “social media” check bill.
Democrat Daniel Didech, who represents Illinois’ 59th legislative district, has introduced Illinois House Bill 0888. We covered this legislative gem last month. Since then, the bill has picked up two co-sponsors.
Didech’s bill would require the Illinois State Police to pore over a prospective gun owners social media accounts for “any information that would disqualify the person from obtaining or require revocation of a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.” Exactly what kind of content would disqualify someone is left to the imagination.
From the Illinois General Assembly website:
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. Provides that the Department of State Police shall conduct a search of the purchasers’ social media accounts available to the public to determine if there is any information that would disqualify the person from obtaining or require revocation of a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Provides that each applicant for a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card shall furnish to the Department of State Police a list of every social media account.
That’s about as broad an opportunity for government oppression as you’re likely to see.
On the ground here in Illinois, we’re told the law would cover not only social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but also online forums. Like AR15.com. Or online dating sites, especially those with forums.
And then there are other “social media” sites like Adult Friend Finder, Tinder, Grindr, or (gasp!) outright p0rn sites.
This is the bridge too far for the ACLU. It’s not so much the Second Amendment implications of the Illinois bill that bother them as it is the chilling effects on exercise of the First Amendment.
The good folks at the ACLU Illinois clearly don’t like the idea of the Illinois State Police searching through anyone’s P0rnhub or Swing Lifestyle accounts.
From CBS Chicago:
Rebecca Glenberg with ACLU Illinois says the bill “doesn’t say anything about how that list will be retained and for how long and what uses it might be put to.”
The first amendment group worries police scanning social media may show bias.
“A person’s political beliefs, a person’s religious beliefs, things that should not play a part in whether someone gets a FOID card,” Glenberg said.
Gun rights activists will certainly welcome the ACLU’s unexpected help in opposing a grossly unconstitutional proposal to the already unconstitutional Illinois Firearms Owners Identification Act. After all, just imagine a similar investigation carried out before issuing a permit to attend church. Or to vote.
The good news: we hear Didech’s social media background check bill likely won’t make it to the House floor. At the same time, we suspect more states will flirt with similar measures against gun owners (New York already has).
Time will tell how long it will take one of these bills to actually become law. We look forward to the ACLU’s continued help in opposing them wherever they are proposed.