Md. lawmakers want to bar gun permits for those on no-fly list

WASHINGTON — Four Maryland lawmakers plan to introduce legislation in Annapolis that would restrict anyone on the federal government’s no-fly list from getting a gun permit.

Maryland state Senators Jamie Raskin and Jim Rosapepe and state Delegates David Moon and Luke Clippinger, all Democrats, are drafting the legislation for the upcoming session that starts in January.

The announcement comes after Congressman Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, urged Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to issue an executive order that would deny firearms permits to those on the watch list. The Baltimore Sun quoted the governor as calling that suggestion “silly.”

Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer released a statement to WTOP explaining current policy to flag a request for a gun permit by anyone on the no-fly list:

“At no point has the Maryland State Police Licensing Division ever had to investigate a regulated firearms purchase applicant who appeared on a federal terror watch list. If an attempted purchase did occur, the Maryland State Police would be notified of a watch list status during a check of the applicant through NCIC and NICS. At that point, MSP policy is to immediately place a hold on the purchase application and contact the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.”

The proposal from the Maryland lawmakers would make that policy state law.

The American Civil Liberties Union has a pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the no-fly list, which has become the government’s most commonly known counterterrorism tool. Wednesday, a federal judge heard arguments whether a new process to appeal a placement on the list is adequate.

ACLU attorneys contend the list ensnares innocent people who have no ties to terrorism.

“The no-fly list shouldn’t be used to deprive someone of the ability to fly, no more than it should be used to deprive someone of the ability to get a gun,” said David Rocah, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Maryland.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan and Amanda Iacone contributed to this report.

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