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Bill Proposes Checking Handgun License Applicant's Social Media, Internet Searches

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NEW YORK (AP/KDKA) — A state lawmaker is proposing a change to New York's gun laws to allow authorities to search social media for potential red flags before approving a handgun license.

The bill, submitted on Nov. 14, appeared to come in response to recent mass shootings whose suspects had posted threats or ranted about potential targets.

Those suspects include Robert Bowers, the suspect in the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Bowers used the website to post anti-Semitic messages and content.

A post attributed to Bowers appeared on Gab a short time before he allegedly entered the Tree of Life and opened fire.

It stated, "HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring invaders in that kill out people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in."


New York State Senator Kevin Parker's bill would mandate that applicants provide investigators with their Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram passwords and access to their Google, Yahoo and Bing searches.

The Brooklyn Democrat wants investigators to look at the last three years of an applicant's social media postings and a year of their search histories for "any good cause for the denial of a license," such as racial slurs, threats of violence and terrorism-related posts.

No vote is scheduled.

(TM and © Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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