In a loud push Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer called on the federal government to help the state block individuals on the terror watch list from making legal gun purchases.
By having the terror list set as one of the criteria used in federal background checks in New York State, Cuomo and Schumer said, it would prevent known or suspected terrorists from legally purchasing guns.
State governments aren’t given access to the terror watch list.
“If the federal government won’t move to close the terror gap, the states should and the federal government should facilitate that in whatever way possible, not stand in the way,” Schumer said at a press conference.
A mechanism to grant states access to the list and allow states to keep residents safe must be put into place if the federal government won't use the terrorist watch list keep guns from known or suspected terrorists, Cuomo said.
“We have to act. We have to act quickly, we have to act smartly and it is sheer madness what we are doing now. You can be a suspected terrorist and it is not illegal to possess a firearm or explosives,” Cuomo said.
Citing a U.S. Government Accountability Office audit, Cuomo said that in the last decade, around 2 ,000 suspected terrorists attempted to buy a gun in this country.
Out of those, over 90 percent were granted the right to buy a gun, which he declared “a basic breach of national security,” he said.
“This is the state of 9/11. To allow people who you believe have terrorist connections to buy guns, is so irresponsible that people must be living in a state of denial,” Cuomo said.
Just last week, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said he would sign an executive order that prohibits anyone on the federal government’s terror watch lists from buying firearms in his state.