DEC. 10, 2015
With the mass shooting in California last week focusing attention on terrorism and guns, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut announced on Thursday that he would sign an executive order that would bar people on federal terrorism watch lists from buying firearms in the state.
Mr. Malloy said Connecticut would become the first state in the nation to have such a measure.
“Like all Americans, I have been horrified by the recent terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris,” said Mr. Malloy, a Democrat. “This should be a wake-up call to all of us. This is a moment to seize in America — and today I’m here to say that we in Connecticut are seizing it.”
Connecticut already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, including measures enacted in 2013 after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012. In that attack, a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and six staff members before killing himself.
On the federal level, mass shootings have failed to prompt any action on guns.
On Sunday, President Obama, in a televised address to the nation on the threat of terrorism, called for federal regulations that would bar those on the federal no-fly list from buying guns.
“What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semiautomatic weapon?” Mr. Obama said. “This is a matter of national security.”
But support for such a measure has split largely along party lines.
Last week, a measure that would have expanded background checks for people who wanted to buy guns was defeated in the Senate.. All four Republican senators who are running for president — Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio — voted against it.
It remains unclear whether and how the state would gain access to the names on the federal watch lists.
Devon Puglia, a spokesman for Mr. Malloy, said the governor’s office was “working with the federal government to use federal watch lists for this specific purpose.”
In his announcement, Mr. Malloy said that across the nation, people on terrorism watch lists tried to buy guns and explosives 2,233 times between 2004 and 2014, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They succeeded 2,043 times.
“I have previously written to Congress on this matter,” he said. “But inaction is not an option. So here in Connecticut, we are acting.”
Charlie Savage contributed reporting.