Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced plans to ban the sale of firearms to anyone on a federal government watch list Thursday, sparking yet another conversation on gun control. The proposition received support from President Barack Obama, following the San Bernadino shooting.
“Like all Americans, I’ve been horrified by the recent terrorist attacks in California and Paris. This should be a wake-up call for all of us,” Malloy told reporters. “This is a moment to seize here in America. And today I’m here to say that ‘Connecticut, we are seizing that moment.'”
Malloy intends to get more information from the federal government before signing the order, which would bar anyone on a government watch list from receiving the safety permit that’s needed to buy a gun in Connecticut, according to CNN. With assault weapon sales already banned, this would add handguns, shotguns, and any ammunition to those on watch lists. Reviewing government watch lists would be added to the background checks that public safety officers already perform on anyone applying for a Connecticut gun permit.
“If you cannot fly due to being on a government watch list, you shouldn’t be able to purchase a firearm,” Malloy stated.
This was quickly met with disapproval by many Republicans, citing the fact that the no-fly list has had a history of inaccuracies. For example, Abe Mashal, a Muslim of mixed Palestinian-Italian background and former Marine living in the Chicago area was finally taken off the no-fly list last year after three years of being on without knowing why, a scenario that’s more common than one would think.
“These are everyday Americans that have nothing to do with terrorism,” expressed Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican presidential candidate.“They wind up on the no-fly list, there’s no due process or any way to get your name removed from it in a timely fashion, and now they’re having their Second Amendment rights being impeded upon.”
While on the list, he couldn’t board a plane because of suspicions of terrorism, but he could and did buy a .357 Magnum with “no trouble.” In fact, legal reasons rarely prohibit the sale of firearms, according to federal auditors. Only 8.5 percent of all attempted sales to people on a government list have been blocked for other such reasons, including mental illness or criminal convictions, since the FBI began tracking data.
Then again, neither of the shooters involved in the San Bernadino attacks were known to have been on any FBI watch list or have any issues buying the semi-automatic rifles that were used. But some have countered that by saying the recent shootings in Paris and San Bernadino and the ever-increasing fear of domestic terrorism should be enough to want the extra step of potential security.
Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, Daniel Webster, said it wasn’t clear what kind of practical implications the proposed ban would have in terms of stopping someone who is adamant on committing acts of terrorism, especially since that person could just go to another state.
“Seems to me that the greatest importance of this is to get the ball rolling so more people follow, and ideally the federal government,” he said. “I suspect more states will do this.”
It’s certainly a ban that could end up imposing on some rights if handled poorly, but it seems like it was born out of good intentions. Malloy stated he would be looking at watch lists to determine which would be the most appropriate to use, and the governor will reportedly sign the ban order as soon as he receives approval.
What do you think? Is this decision unnecessary? Could it help prevent domestic terrorism?