The Cable

Connecticut Will Ban Gun Sales to Individuals on U.S. Watch Lists

Connecticut is set to become the first state to ban gun sales to those on terrorism lists.


Connecticut has managed to do what the federal government has not: put in place a weapons-purchasing ban for people on U.S. federal terrorism watch lists.

Dannel Malloy, the state’s governor, announced the first-of-its-kind executive order on Thursday. He said he was working with the federal government to get access to terrorism watch lists, including the no-fly list, to allow gun shops to deny access to individuals who are on them.

“We intend to prevent, by executive order through my powers as governor, those on government watch lists from obtaining a permit to purchase a firearm in Connecticut,” Malloy, a Democrat, said.

In the wake of terrorism-linked mass shootings in Paris and San Bernardino, President Barack Obama has called on Congress to pass legislation that would prevent those banned from boarding an aircraft by U.S. authorities from also purchasing firearms. Republicans in both the House and Senate oppose such a prohibition.

“What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semiautomatic weapon?” Obama said Sunday. “This is a matter of national security.”

Malloy said once he has approval to obtain the federal list, the executive order would go into effect. It remains unclear whether all people on the list would be subject to the ban or if it would be limited to the no-fly list.

“If Congress will not act, we in the states will,” he said.

Connecticut already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, put in place after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown that left 20 schoolchildren and six staff members dead.

Speaking Wednesday night at a vigil for the victims of the Newtown shooting, White House advisor Valerie Jarrett said Obama has instructed his staff to complete a proposal “in short order” that would expand, without congressional approval, background checks on gun buys.

Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Corrections, Dec. 11, 2015: Dannel Malloy is the name of Connecticut’s governor. A previous version of this article misspelled his first name. Also, the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School occurred in December 2012; a previous version of this article said that it happened in 2013. 

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