Legislators Blast Malloy for Proposed Watch List Gun Ban

December 11, 2015

Hartford-State Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington), state Representative Rob Sampson (R-Wolcott), state Representative Doug Dubitsky (R-Chaplin), and state Representative Mike France (R-Ledyard) challenged Governor Malloy’s intention to bar all persons on federal government terrorism watch lists from purchasing a firearm in Connecticut.

“No individual, the governor himself included, has the right unilaterally to deny due process to the people,” said Rep. Sampson. “The use of a secret list obscurely compiled to decide whose rights will be respected runs against good sense and our national principles.”

Malloy is requesting the White House for access to the federal terrorism watch lists so the Connecticut State Police can deny firearms to persons on the lists who attempt to purchase them.

A similar federal restriction was proposed by President Obama recently. Many groups from the NRA to the ACLU have questioned the constitutionality of the proposal.

“I can’t believe such an obvious infringement of our constitutional rights could stand a legal challenge,” said Rep. Dubitsky, who is a lawyer as well as a legislator. “Congress refused to pass a law which had the same intent, in part because it was clearly unconstitutional. I suspect the governor realizes his executive order will be overturned, but he can’t resist scoring his political point.”

“No one wants terrorists to get guns, but the Governor is trying to unilaterally deny American citizens their constitutional right to keep and bear arms without due process,” said Rep. France. “The governor has said that if Americans begin to forfeit our values, we are letting the terrorists win. What American value is more fundamental than the presumption of innocence?”

“They’re called ‘watch lists’ for a reason: they do not pretend to justify action, but attentiveness,” said Sen. Markley. “Anyone who has knowledge of investigations knows that people who are themselves under no suspicion at all become persons of interest because of possible, innocent connection to the main suspects. And many of us know personally citizens who are routinely questioned by airport screeners because they share a name with someone under suspicion. It would be ridiculous to use such a list to deny a constitutional right.”

The legislators pledged to raise public awareness of the governor’s misguided proposal, and to fight it if necessary at the Capitol and in the courts.