By Emily Ngo

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday that states should be granted access to federal terror watch and no-fly lists for use in screening potential gun buyers.

The lists are classified and not part of federal background checks for legal firearm sales.

The Democrats said at a lower Manhattan news conference with the Statue of Liberty in the backdrop that their preference is that the federal government add terror watch lists to the criteria used in background checks, but congressional efforts to mandate the cross-check have met pushback from gun advocates.

Schumer said a faster solution to the "federal paralysis" would be for the U.S. Department of Justice to help establish a protocol for states to access the lists.

"At least let the states use the information to defend themselves," Cuomo said in Battery Park.

Representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice and National Rifle Association did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The action could be taken legislatively or through executive order, Cuomo said.

He and Schumer acknowledged civil rights and liberties should still be protected but mistakes on the list should not justify their lack of use in background checks.

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