Echoing an issue Democrats have been pressing in Washington, Van Hollen wrote in his letter that "Tea Party obstructionism and the NRA" have blocked efforts to pass federal legislation. Instead, Van Hollen wrote, Hogan should "explore every possible state action to prevent dangerous individuals from purchasing guns in Maryland."
Van Hollen, a former state lawmaker who is running against Rep. Donna F. Edwards for the seat that will be left vacant by Sen. Barbara Mikulski in 2017, did not indicate whether he had also sent the letter to the state's Democratic legislative leaders.
Democrats have been pressing Republicans on the issue nationally since several GOP candidates for president have refused to endorse the idea.
Hogan dismissed Van Hollen's letter as "politics" and "silly."
"It's not an issue in Maryland," he said. "No one on any watch list has ever received a gun."
Maryland already performs comprehensive gun background checks that flag applicants on the federal no-fly list, Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer said. The Maryland State Police, who execute those checks, then contact the FBI to discuss the reasons someone is on the list.
To date, Mayer said, no one on the list has been approved to buy a firearm.
Still, the issue is likely to come up during the legislative session in Annapolis next year. A group of four lawmakers, all Democrats, have begun drafting a bill that would expressly prohibit people on FBI watch list from getting a concealed carry permit.
Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said this week he will sign an executive order prohibiting people on terrorism watch lists from buying firearms. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is now running for the GOP presidential nomination, signed a similar law in 2013.