Orlando mass shooting prompts new debate over government’s terror watch list

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MILWAUKEE -- The mass shooting in Orlando has re-ignited debate over the government's terror watch list -- and whether people on it should be able to legally buy guns.

On Monday evening, June 13th, there was shouting on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. This, after Speaker Paul Ryan led lawmakers in a moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando mass shooting.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Democrats are renewing a demand that Congress ban those on the federal terror watch list from buying guns. The measure failed late last year after the San Bernardino shooting. Wisconsin U.S. Senators are again split.

"We've got to come together. We've got to unite to do something as common sense as keep weapons out of the hands of people who are suspected of terrorism, or are being watched," said Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D - Wisconsin).

Right now, being on a watch list does not in itself stop someone from legally buying a gun. There are 800,000 people on the secret terror watch list -- which is different from the smaller "no fly list."

Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

Republicans say a person who is put on the list by mistake would lose their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

"The problem with the terror watch list is, it's a very difficult issue to deal with in terms of who's on the watch list. People don't have due process. We have to maintain our constitutional rights," said Sen. Ron Johnson (R - Wisconsin).

Omar Saddiqui Mateen was the gunman who opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida killing at least 50 people, two law enforcement officials told CNN.

Omar Saddiqui Mateen was the gunman who opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida killing at least 50 people, two law enforcement officials told CNN.

The Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, had been on the watch list in 2013 and 2014. His name was removed two years before buying the gun used to kill 49 people on Sunday.

On Monday, June 13th, Sen. Johnson told FOX6 News that law enforcement officials worry people who are denied guns after a background check would be tipped off to the fact that they are on a watch list.

We are waiting to hear back from the FBI on this issue. But the agency has a practice of not commenting on pending legislation.