Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) defended his pledge to sign an executive order preventing people on terrorism watch lists from buying guns Friday.
The order, contingent on federal authorities sharing the lists with Malloy, is primarily intended to "make us safer," he told "CBS This Morning."
Malloy fired back at gun activists like the National Rifle Association, who criticized his decision for going beyond what is accepted by the constitution.
"The governor knows full well that law-abiding Americans who pose no threat to national security are mistakenly on the terror watch list," Jennifer Baker, the NRA's director of Public Affairs, told the Hartford Courant.
Although Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the attackers who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, did not appear on any watch lists, the massacre renewed the push to curb gun sales nationwide.
Malloy's concern stems from the fact that people on terrorism watch lists have been able to purchase guns 2,043 times, he said, citing a Government Accountability Office study.
"It doesn't make any sense," he added. "And it's time to do something about it. It's time for right-thinking people to stand up."
Federal legislation is still necessary, Malloy said. "There should be no gun sales without a background check. Of course that's part of the debate and I'm more than happy to move it further along."
"When the NRA can prevent Congress from passing common sense legislation, we're in trouble as a democracy. Overwhelmingly, people want to see some level of background checks," he insisted. "Let's make America safer."
Malloy said his office is in the process of sharing their information with other states. They are also working with federal authorities in order to make terrorism watch lists, including the no-fly list, available for "background check purposes only." Once available, he said, he will readily sign the executive order.
"If we're not going to let them on a plane, we're not going to sell them a gun."
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