NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer are asking the federal government to help the state to block people on the terror watch list from legal gun purchases.
With the Statue of Liberty as their backdrop, the two New York Democrats said during a joint news conference Sunday that the federal government does not currently give states access to classified background information about suspects on its terror watch list, or no-fly list.
They say that’s a dangerous loophole.
“We are telling the Department of Justice to come up with a protocol that allows New York state to prohibit those on the terrorist watch list from buying guns,” Schumer told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola and 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern.
“It is sheer madness what we are doing now,” Cuomo said. “You can be a suspected terrorist, and it is not illegal to possess a firearm or explosives.”
Cuomo and Schumer also said New York should be able to do criminal background checks on people who are on the watch list.
“When it comes to terrorism, we are facing a growing threat. That is the new reality,” Cuomo said.
Last week, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said he wants to sign an executive order that would make Connecticut the first state to ban people on the no-fly list from buying guns. State officials there are working with the federal government to get access to the lists, he said.
FBI data show that 2,233 people on the terror watch list tried to buy guns in the past decade. They succeeded more than 90 percent of the time.
Congress has resisted making a federal law barring those on the list from buying guns because many lawmakers argue it strips Americans of their Second Amendment right without due process.
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