ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBFF) — Some Maryland legislators have said they plan to revive a bill that would prohibit anyone on the federal government’s terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms.
A similar bill was introduced before the General Assembly earlier this year, but it failed to pass in a Senate committee.
Vincent DeMarco, who serves on the board for the nonprofit group Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, said he supports the measure. “If the U.S. government is saying you can’t fly on a plane because we think you’re a potential terrorist, you should not be able to get a gun especially an assault weapon,” he said.
DeMarco pointed to the results of a recent opinion poll compiled by Opinion Works, based in Annapolis, that surveyed 400 likely voters in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. The poll found that 90% of those likely voters say suspected terrorists should not be able to possess firearms.
On the federal level, the U.S. Senate is expected to debate a similar bill next week.
“We wish that Congress would do the right thing and put those people on a no possession of guns list, but if they don’t, we urge the Maryland General Assembly to next session make sure that happens,” said DeMarco.
Three years ago, federal authorities placed Omar Mateen, the alleged shooter responsible for the recent massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that left 49 people dead, on the federal terrorist watch list. Authorities later removed his name after an investigation, but Mateen was still able to purchase a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun.
Gun-rights supporters have said such a law could violate the Second Amendment rights of those who have never been convicted of a felony.
“If you’re convicted of any kind of felony, of course you’re not going to get a firearm,” said Frank Loane, Sr., who owns Pasadena Pawn and Gun in Anne Arundel County.
Gun dealers don’t know if a potential buyer is on a federal no-fly list or not, Loane noted. “I really don’t know where they get their information from,” he said. “All we do is call it in and it comes back passed, delay or denied, and they don’t tell us why.”