Malloy Takes Historic Step To Ban Gun Sales To Buyers On Watchlists

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Connecticut is taking steps to further strengthen its already tight guns laws as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Thursday his intention to sign a first-in-the-nation executive order that will allow firearm permits to be denied to those on the government watchlists. 

Dannel Malloy

Dannel Malloy

Photo Credit: Jay Polansky, File

"Like all Americans, I have been horrified by the recent terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris. They have been and should be a wakeup call to our nation. I am taking this commonsense step with this executive order simply because it's the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do," Malloy said. 

"If you can't fly without clearing government watchlists, you shouldn't be able to buy a gun. Why anyone would stand idly by and knowingly allow those on government watchlists to purchase guns is truly unbelievable. Since Congress so far has failed to act, we will." 

The Connecticut State Police already performs background checks on those seeking permits to purchase guns in Connecticut, based on Malloy's 2013 gun violence prevention legislation, one of the strongest in the nation. 

"I have been working directly with federal officials, and we are working to use the watchlists for these purposes. It is my responsibility as the governor of Connecticut to protect the citizens of our state from threats," Malloy said. "We're working to do just that. Connecticut's delegation has been outspoken about these issues, and Congress must act and pass the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015. In the interim, other states should follow Connecticut's lead. We should all use this moment to act."

Pending federal approval, Malloy intends to sign an executive order mandating that Connecticut State Police be required to cross-reference the names of buyers with the government watchlists. Those with existing permits who are found to be on those watchlist would have their permits revoked, and if a new match is found, the permit would be denied and the purchaser would be unable to purchase handguns, shotguns, rifles and ammunition. 

Assault weapons are already outlawed in Connecticut. 

Malloy will work with the federal government to determine the specific lists — the "no-fly" list, terrorism watchlist, or some combination — to be used. 

 U.S. Sens Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (both D-Conn.) praised Malloy's action. 

“His action underscores that Congress has failed to act – completely abdicating responsibility as a public health crisis sweeps the nation, killing 30,000 Americans each year," they said. "As we near the third anniversary of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, we are reminded that the only way to truly honor those schoolchildren, educators, and every victim of gun violence is through action. Without action, we are complicit in the failure to protect Americans from the scourge of gun violence. We will continue to fight for Congress to close the terror gap and keep lethal weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. If you are too dangerous to fly, you are too dangerous to buy a gun.”

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