Conn. to limit access to guns for people on watch lists: governor

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Conn. Gov. Moves To Block People On Watch Lists From Obtaining Gun Permits

Connecticut would become the first U.S. state to ban the sale of guns to people on government watch lists under an executive order that Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, said on Thursday he will sign.

The measure, which Malloy said needs federal approval, would require state police to review whether a potential gun buyer was on the federal no-fly list or on a watchlist for people suspected of ties to terrorism.

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It would also revoke existing gun permits issued to people whose names were found on such a list.

The move follows a call by President Barack Obama for Congress to prohibit people on the no-fly list from purchasing firearms in the wake of the last week's massacre in San Bernardino, California, of 14 people by a married couple inspired by Islamic State militants.

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Conn. to limit access to guns for people on watch lists: governor
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 10: Yvonne Crasso, holds a picture of her sister Nina Michele Bradley, who was killed by a gun at age 23 in 2012, during a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation, September 10, 2015. Ashley Cech, whose mother Yvonne Cech, a librarian, survived the Sandy Hook shootings, appears with Crasso. The event, titled #Whateverittakes Day of Action, was hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and featured speeches by political leaders and families of gun violence victims. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, USA - JANUARY 4: A group of people demonstrate in front of the White House for greater gun control to help curb gun violence in Washington, USA on January 4, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: Natasha Christopher, center, holds up a photo of her son Akeal Christopher, who was 14 years old when he was shot in the back of the head and killed while walking home in Brooklyn, New York, during a press conference, on Capitol Hill on December 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The conference featured supporters of gun control and family members of gun violence victims. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: Miyoshia Bailey cries as she describes how her only son, Cortez Bailey, 23, was shot to death in Chicago, Illinois, during a press conference, on Capitol Hill on December 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The conference featured supporters of gun control and family members of gun violence victims. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 05: Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) (L) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are joined by Newtown Action Alliance Vice Chairman David Stowe (R) to announce the re-introduction of legislation that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines at the U.S. Capitol February 5, 2015 in Washington, DC. Citing the 2012 mass shooting of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, Democratic members of the House and Senate joined the Connecticut delegation to support and emphasize the need for the proposed law. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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"I am taking this commonsense step with this executive order simply because it's the right thing to do," Malloy told reporters in Hartford. "If you can't fly without clearing government watchlists, you shouldn't be able to buy a gun."

State gun-rights groups were quick to criticize the move, which they said they believe runs afoul of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms.

"I think it is downright dangerous and above and beyond what is constitutionally acceptable," said Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League.

Almost three years ago a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 young children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

Following that attack, Malloy pushed through one of the strictest gun laws in the United States, banning more than 100 types of military-style rifles and limiting ammunition magazines to 10 bullets.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest welcomed Connecticut's move but said that the Obama administration was determined to press ahead with federal action on guns, noting that people can travel across jurisdictions to circumvent local laws limiting firearm purchases.

"There are necessarily some shortcoming to that approach," Earnest told reporters at press briefing on Thursday. "That is why ... the president's commitment to keeping guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them continues to be a priority of his federal legislative strategy."

The ban would not have stopped the California attack as the shooters were not on any government terrorism watch list.

WATCH: Gov. Malloy: Can't let the terrorists win:
Gov. Malloy: Can't Let the Terrorists Win

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