In order to curb unlawful use of weapons, the Illinois General Assembly is considering whether to require social media checks for potential gun owners, according to an article by CNN.
Introduced by Illinois State Rep. Daniel Didech on January 24th, House Bill 888 seeks to amend the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act to include additional verification requirements for gun ownership. Upon application for firearm owners identification (FOID) card, this bill would require the Illinois State Police to investigate the applicant’s publicly available social media profiles.
After introduction and filing on January 24th, House Bill 888 went through a first reading in the Illinois House on the 28th. That say day, Rep. Jonathan Carroll joined as a chief co-sponsor, and the bill was referred to the Rules Committee. On February 5th, House Bill 888 was assigned to the Judiciary/Criminal Committee. The next day, Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia joined the bill as a chief co-sponsor.
In terms of motivation for House Bill 888, Rep. Didech pointed to recent mass shootings and similar acts of violence, including last year’s tragic events in Parkland, Florida. Furthermore, Rep. Didech cited a recent measure in New York — Senate Bill S9197, which requires social media checks for rifle or shotgun ownership — as inspiration for the present bill in the Illinois legislature.
If House Bill 888 passes both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, every potential gun owner would be required to list their social media accounts on the application for a FOID card. Then the Illinois State Police would investigate the applicant’s social media accounts, searching for anything that might disqualify the applicant.
In precise terms, the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act prohibits certain people from owning guns in Illinois, including anyone who:
- Is under the age of 21, unless they have parental consent for gun ownership;
- Has an intellectual disability, mental incapacity, or developmental disability;
- Was convicted of a felony crime in Illinois or any other jurisdiction;
- Is addicted to narcotics, illegal drugs, or controlled substances;
- Was confined to a mental health facility within the past five years;
- Has an existing order of protection that prohibits gun ownership;
- Is an alien who is in the United States illegally;
- Has used a firearm while violating an order of protection within the past five years;
- Is a delinquent minor who committed a serious criminal offense; or
- Has used a firearm while committing assault, battery, or domestic violence within the past five years.
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(image courtesy of Glenn Carstens Peters)