Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy will block anyone on federal government terrorism watch lists from obtaining a gun permit, the Hartford Courant reports. Malloy is working with the White House to gain access to the databases, which include people who are suspected of having connections to terrorist groups. President Obama has called for banning gun sales to those on the federal “no-fly” list, but a similar measure failed to clear Congress last week. “If Congress will not act, we in the states will,” Malloy said, adding that the National Rifle Association and its allies “have stood in the way time and time again as we have fought for sensible gun violence prevention … these are measures that will save lives.” He cited FBI statistics that found people on government watch lists tried to buy guns 2,233 times between 2004 and 2014; they succeeded in more than 90 percent of cases.
Connecticut, which passed some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws after the 2012 Newtown school shootings, would become the first state to bar those on watch lists from buying guns. Critics denounced Malloy’s plan as a political stunt that does nothing to enhance public safety while encroaching on the constitutional rights of people who have not been convicted of any crime. “The governor knows full well that law-abiding Americans who pose no threat to national security are mistakenly on the terror watch list,” said Jennifer Baker, NRA director of public affairs. “The NRA’s only objective is to ensure that law-abiding American citizens who were mistakenly put on the list are afforded their constitutional right to due process. Due process is a pillar of the American justice system and cannot be discarded for a talking point that makes people feel safer.” The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the constitutionality of the no-fly list, arguing in federal court that standards for inclusion in the database are vague, shrouded in secrecy and prone to error.