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Connecticut to ban gun sales to those on terror watch list

Gov. Malloy calls executive order banning purchases a response to inaction by the Republican-controlled Congress

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has announced an executive order to ban people who are on an international terror watch list from purchasing guns in his state.

Malloy, a Democrat, made the announcement outside the state Capitol building in Hartford on Thursday afternoon, saying that it was a response to inaction by the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress.

The order would block people who are banned from flying on commercial airliners from obtaining firearms permits in the state.

"If you cannot fly due to being on a watch list, you shouldn't be able to purchase a firearm," Malloy said. "Since Congress so far has failed to act, we well."

Malloy's move comes a week after a married couple inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) shot dead 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., in the nation’s deadliest mass shooting since a gunman killed 26, including 20 young children, at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The governor’s order also comes four days before the three-year anniversary of the Newtown massacre.

President Barack Obama, in an Oval Office address Sunday, called on Congress to act to ensure that people on the federal government's no-fly list cannot buy firearms. Such a measure would not have stopped the California attack, however, as the shooters were not on any government terrorism watch list.

Obama's advisers, meanwhile, are finalizing a proposal that would expand background checks on gun sales without congressional approval. White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, speaking Wednesday night at a vigil for the victims of the Newtown shooting, said the president has asked his team to complete a proposal and submit it for his review "in short order."

The president's proposal was initiated following a mass shooting at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon, in October. At that time, Obama said his team was looking for ways to tighten gun laws without a vote in Congress.

White House officials have said they are exploring closing the so-called "gun show loophole" that allows people to buy weapons at gun shows and online without a background check.

The two U.S. senators from Connecticut, a liberal-leaning state, released a statement Thursday applauding the governor’s order.

Malloy's “action underscores that Congress has failed to act —completely abdicating responsibility as a public health crisis sweeps the nation, killing 30,000 Americans each year," the statement by Democratic Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal said. "We will continue to fight for Congress to close the terror gap and keep lethal weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. If you are too dangerous to fly, you are too dangerous to buy a gun.”

Al Jazeera and Reuters

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