Since the Bruen decision, NY has changed the requirements to get a concealed weapons permit. They have since required applicants to demonstrate “good moral character” and (1) attending an in-person interview; (2) providing names and contact information for at least four character references; (3) providing names and contact information for all adults residing with the applicant and information about whether minors reside in the home; and (4) submitting “a list of former and current social media accounts of the applicant from the past three years.”

What happens if you don't have any reference or don't have any social media accounts? Can they legally deny you based on not providing that information?

  • 1
    I would say you'd probably get away with an explantion of "I have not participated in social media of any nature during this time period" would suffice for that purpose. If you do not have any for number 2, it's likely they will deny you, though I doubt it's legal. After all, if I stand in the middle of central park with a copy of my manifesto on socks being a part of an intricate plot so that THEY can take over the world, do I really need 4 people to say "Oh yeah, he's a sound and rational character and should be aloud to do this?" And by the way... it's only socks with toes.
    – hszmv
    Aug 2, 2022 at 15:46
  • There are 2 separate questions (1) what will NY authorities do if you don't provide this info/claim you don't have it, and (2) is it constitutional to require this info. Which are you interested in?
    – Stuart F
    Aug 2, 2022 at 15:57
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    Also lying to police is how honest people go to jail. If you tell them you dont have twitter and they find out you do. To the jail you will go.
    – Neil Meyer
    Aug 2, 2022 at 16:56
  • You really don't know 4 people who will vouch for you?
    – Dale M
    Aug 2, 2022 at 22:46
  • Does Stackexchange count as social media?
    – komodosp
    Aug 3, 2022 at 12:28

1 Answer 1


It is not clearly established what SCOTUS would rule, were such a case to arise, but it is highly likely that they would reject a requirement to have social media accounts as a requirement for holding a concealed weapons permit. The data under consideration in the question relate to the "good moral character" requirement of the new licensing law, which does not specify how good moral character will be proven. In reading Bruen, you obtain some indication of reasoning that the court would use is deciding the case. First,

to justify a firearm regulation the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation

therefore courts must

assess whether modern firearms regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment’s text and historical understanding

which means that

The burden then falls on respondents to show that New York’s proper-cause requirement is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.

The new law is being contested in court, here is one example, and in the complaint, the malleable good moral character requirement ¶67ff is attacked, followed by attacks on the requirements said to be necessary to prove good moral character. In the US District court ruling, starting p. 90, the court analyzes the question of the "good moral character" requirement, finding that

the State Defendants attempt to avoid the impact of the burden-shifting rule set forth in NYSRPA. They fail


the State Defendants do not clearly state why this regulation (or any of the challenged regulations, for that matter) burdens a law-abiding citizen's right to armed self-defense.

The state does provide historical precedent in their argument, pointing to colonial laws forbidding the sale and trading of arms to Indigenous people, prohibiting weapons possession by Catholics who refused to take an oath of loyalty to the government, plus some state laws from 1776 and 1777 disarming persons based on their reputation for being disloyal or hostile to the new Nation until they took an oath of loyalty – and a handful of city laws post 2nd Amendment pertaining to restricting possession of firearms from an individual who is potentially dangerous. But, "the Court has trouble finding them to be 'historical analogues' that are able to shed light on the public understanding of the Second Amendment in 1791".

The decisions points to a distinction between restrictions on "readily apparent groups of people and often could be avoided by the objective act of taking an oath". But

The CCIA’s "good moral character" requirement is not so objective in nature (e.g., by requiring a finding of a likelihood of harm to self or others based the prior conduct of the applicant, and permitting one to avoid the restriction by taking an oath), and does not even expressly recognize an exception for actions taken in self-defense.

As a result, based on a careful comparison of the burdensomeness of the CCIA’s "good moral character” requirement (i.e., the burden imposed in light of its justification) to the burdensomeness of the relevant historical analogues (again, burden in light of justification), the Court finds the burdensomeness of the CCIA’s "good moral character" requirement (which is imposed on everyone and can be avoided only through open-ended discretionary findings of "temperament," "judgment" and "[]trust[]" by licensing officials) is unreasonably disproportionate to the burdensomeness of the relevant historical analogues (which were imposed on only readily apparent groups of people and could often be avoided by the objective act of taking an oath)

The court then enjoins the state from enforcing the provision requiring "good moral character", the provision requiring the "names and contact information for the applicant’s current spouse, or domestic partner, any other adults residing in the applicant's home, including any adult children of the applicant, and whether or not there are minors residing, full time or part time, in the applicant’s home", the provision requiring "a list of former and current social media accounts of the applicant from the past three years", and the provision contained in Section 1 of the CCIA requiring "such other information required by review of the licensing application that is reasonably necessary and related to the review of the licensing application".

  • It should be pointed out that it wasn't until the early 20th century that Native Americans were considered U.S. Citizens by default. For much of it's 18th and 19th existence, the U.S. dealt with Native Americans as if they were foreign nations. The U.S. Firearms regulations do not permit the sale of firearms to anyone who is not at least a legal permanent resident (There are shooting ranges that cater to foreign tourists who want to shoot a gun, but can't because of stricter regulations in their home country. Hawaii has a lot of them that cater to Japanese tourists.).
    – hszmv
    Jan 17 at 19:34
  • @hszmv in any event, there were no US citizens at all during the colonial era.
    – phoog
    Jan 18 at 20:59
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    @phoog Nor was there a Constitution, let alone a right to bear arms. The British Government disarming it's own citizens was the straw that broke the camels back and lead to the Revolutionary war, which was listed as one of the grievances against the government in the Declaration of Independence.
    – hszmv
    Jan 18 at 21:28

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