State Del. Luke Clippinger (D-46) said he is planning to reintroduce a bill that would prevent people on the federal Terror Watch list from purchasing a firearm in Maryland.
The bill by the Baltimore delegate would use the federal terror watch list, which bans people from boarding airplanes, from purchasing a firearm in Maryland.
After the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a similar bill was introduced in the United States Senate that would have banned anyone on a federal watch list from purchasing a firearm.
Many congressional Democrats argued such a ban would have prevented Orlando shooter Omar Mateen from purchasing a firearm.
Clippinger said he would have been “thrilled” if Congress were able to pass the bill on its own, effectively nullifying his own bill.
“I think that was it certainly raised the profile of this issue and it has certainly brought more attention to this issue and rightfully so,” said Clippinger of the federal bill.
While the federal version of the bill was strongly supported by congressional Democrats, the Maryland version of the bill failed to make it out of committee.
Clippinger said the reason his bill failed was because bills rarely pass the first time they’re introduced.
Though the General Assembly passed a strict control bill in 2013, Clippinger said passing a gun control bill does not mean it will automatically pass the General Assembly.
“I don’t think that just because a piece of gun control legislation is introduced that it is going to pass the legislature,” Clippinger said.
Clippinger’s bill received opposition from gun-rights advocates and civil libertarians who claimed the bill for violating Second Amendment rights to bear arms and Fifth Amendment rights to due process.
“There is no constitutional bar to reasonable regulation of guns,” said Sara Love, public policy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland in her testimony to the Maryland Senate Judicial Committee. “The flipside of that, however, is that if the government is going to restrict constitutional rights, it cannot be done based upon an error-prone, due-process-violating basis.”
State Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-18), who co-sponsored Clippinger’s bill in the last session, said her family has experienced the lack of due process with federal watch lists, when her son was mistakenly put on an FBI watch list.
“He was put onto a list and it took us five years with me personally talking to the FBI to get it corrected,” Gutierrez said.
While Gutierrez said she think the Federal Terror watch list is “lazy,” she said she will be willing to co-sponsor Clippinger’s bill when he introduces again in the next session.
State Sen. Cheryl Kagen (D-17), who did not co-sponsor the bill in the last session, said there needs to be a way for people wrongly put on the list to appeal.
“There needs to be process by which someone who is erroneously put on that list can be removed from it,” Kagen said. “The federal government has to work on that, so that those who are innocent are not on a watch list and if they chose to purchase a firearm and they are otherwise qualified that the can do that.”
The 2017 session begins Jan. 11.