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Sunday, 10 February 2019

Illinois Bill Requires Gun License Applicants to Give Police Access to Social Media Accounts

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Given the clear correlation between Chicago’s near outlaw of gun ownership and its historic homicide rate over the past few years, it’s almost unbelievable that someone would suggest that the remedy for the bloodshed is more gun control.

Meet Illinois State Representative Daniel Didech. Didech insists that “his community” is “demanding” that the state government make it harder for citizens of Illinois to obtain a gun license. To meet the claimed clamor, Didech sponsored HB 888, a bill making it harder for residents in the Land of Lincoln to obtain a license to purchase a firearm.

“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,” Didech said. “We need to give those people the help they need.”

Didech is referring to pictures and messages of a couple of psychopaths posted to social media before killing people.

And, as any good student of logic knows, if something happened after something, then it certainly happened because of that thing (post hoc ergo propter hoc: Google it)!

Specifically, should Representative Didech’s proposal become law, "each applicant for a Firearm Owner's Identification Card shall furnish to the Department of State Police a list of every social media account." Law enforcement would then search all the applicant’s posts to make sure there’s nothing in an applicant's accounts hinting at homicidal tendencies.

Of course, precisely what sort of social media content would disqualify a person for a gun license is not defined, just the way tyrants like it. Keep things vague so as to hide the despotism in the definitions.

The potential abuse of the provisions of Didech’s proposal are obvious to everyone, except him apparently.

When pro-gun rights advocates and civil liberty proponents pointed out that religious liberty, freedom of association, freedom of speech, and pretty much every right protected by Article I of the Illinois state constitution would be denied by Didech’s ridiculous restrictions (I cite the relevant article of the Illinois state constitution because the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights guaranteed basic rights against federal abuses of power, while the state constitutions provided protections agasint abuses by the states), Didech wasn’t deterred.

“It gives Illinois State Police additional tools to make sure that dangerous weapons aren’t getting into the hands of dangerous people,” he said.

No harm ever came of allowing government to define “dangerous,” right?

How about this nugget pronounced on August 23, 1775:

Whereas many of our subjects in divers parts of our Colonies and Plantations in North America, misled by dangerous and ill designing men, and forgetting the allegiance which they owe to the power that has protected and supported them; after various disorderly acts committed in disturbance of the publick peace, to the obstruction of lawful commerce, and to the oppression of our loyal subjects carrying on the same; have at length proceeded to open and avowed rebellion, by arraying themselves in a hostile manner, to withstand the execution of the law, and traitorously preparing, ordering and levying war against us: And whereas, there is reason to apprehend that such rebellion hath been much promoted and encouraged by the traitorous correspondence, counsels and comfort of divers wicked and desperate persons within this realm: To the end therefore, that none of our subjects may neglect or violate their duty through ignorance thereof, or through any doubt of the protection which the law will afford to their loyalty and zeal, we have thought fit, by and with the advice of our Privy Council, to issue our Royal Proclamation, hereby declaring, that not only all our Officers, civil and military, are obliged to exert their utmost endeavors to suppress such rebellion, and to bring the traitors to justice, but that all our subjects of this Realm, and the dominions thereunto belonging, are bound by law to be aiding and assisting in the suppression of such rebellion, and to disclose and make known all traitorous conspiracies and attempts against us, our crown and dignity; and we do accordingly strictly charge and command all our Officers, as well civil as military, and all others our obedient and loyal subjects, to use their utmost endeavors to withstand and suppress such rebellion, and to disclose and make known all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which they shall know to be against us, our crown and dignity; and for that purpose, that they transmit to one of our principal Secretaries of State, or other proper officer, due and full information of all persons who shall be found carrying on correspondence with, or in any manner or degree aiding or abetting the persons now in open arms and rebellion against our Government, within any of our Colonies and Plantations in North America, in order to bring to condign punishment the authors, perpetrators, and abettors of such traitorous designs.

That was George III’s “Declaration of Rebellion,” informing Parliament that all those colonists who were resisting enforcement of his will (including an attempt to disarm the citizens of Boston) were “dangerous” and should be punished.

Although I doubt Didech knows much about this royal proclamation or the disarmament effort that led to the Battles of Lexington and Concord, he should be aware that similar schemes will still be met with resistance by Americans aware of the real reason we must zealously guard our right to keep and bear arms: preserve our liberty.

In commenting on the Constitution in 1833, Joseph Story wrote:

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

Forgotten founder St. George Tucker (a veteran of the Battle of Yorktown) even more succinctly summarized the true purpose of keeping and bearing arms:

This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty.... The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.

Writing in The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton explained:

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state.

Finally, even the most discerning minds in the fields of medicine and psychology are now and are likely to remain woefully ignorant of the even of the vortex of abnormalities that combine in ones mind to produce such anti-social behavior. Inside every cranium there is a universe and no explorer has successfully navigated the myriad spheres of influence that orbit therein. While the attempt is noble, the presumption that there are explanations to be found in the scribbling of murderers or self-aggrandizing videos of killers is naive at best and purposefully misleading at worst.

At the end of the day, Representative Didech’s proposal has nothing to do with the social media posts of psychotic murderers. It has everything to do with wresting from everyone else their surest safety from the homicidal rampages of those psychotic murderers.

As of February 8, Didech's bill has two co-sponsors and has been sent to the Illinois House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary-Criminal.

Photo: alexsl/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

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