Last handgun ban in an American jurisdiction is struck down

1 Apr , 2016  

Radich v. Guerrero

The Northern Mariana Islands was the last jurisdiction in the United States where handguns were banned.  In the decide federal case Radich v. Guerrero (D.N.M.I. Mar. 28, 2016), a federal district court rule that their bans handguns, bans importing handguns into the commonwealth and limits possession of any guns by non-citizens, including lawful permanent residents violated the Second Amendment.  The plaintiffs in this case were very sympathetic:

Plaintiffs have been and continue to be extremely concerned about the self-defense of their persons. In 2010, while David was away and Li-Rong was at home alone, their home was invaded and Li-Rong was attacked and beaten, resulting in injuries including two broken ribs, facial contusions, and a suspected broken orbital bone and eye socket. She screamed out for help and that caused the home invader to leave. She eventually recovered physically, but both Plaintiffs incurred medical bills for Li-Rong’s care. CNMI’s prohibition on possession of handguns by virtually all CNMI residents (including Plaintiffs) significantly limits the Plaintiffs’ ability to protect themselves and their family in the event of violence. At the same time, Plaintiffs’ inability to obtain a WIC for self-defense purposes significantly limits the Plaintiffs’ ability to protect themselves and their family in the event of violence.

This discussion is interesting:

The prohibition on possessing and carrying a firearm for self-defense per 6 CMC § 2206, by itself and coupled with the good cause requirement for qualification for a WIC, as set forth in Section D2 of the WIC application, on its face and as applied, violates the Plaintiffs’ individual right to possess a handgun or other firearm for self-defense as secured by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The final decision was as follows:

Enter a declaratory judgment that (a) the prohibitions on virtually all CNMI residents from obtaining handguns for self-defense purposes; (b) the prohibition on obtaining a WIC and possessing a firearm for self-defense purposes; and (c) the good cause requirement for obtaining a WIC, are null and void because they infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms in violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; and

Award the Plaintiffs attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988.

Grant such other and further relief, in law and equity, as the Court deems just and proper.

So are there any gun control advocates who really believe that murder and violent crime rates will go up now?

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the lawmakers in the Northern Mariana Islands have moved quickly to impose new gun control regulations.  Among the provisions of the new proposed law (SaipanTribune.com):

The bill agrees with previous U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth District in Jackson v. City & City of San Francisco that “requiring firearms to be either kept on the person of an individual over 18 or secured with a trigger lock in a gun safe, furthers the important interest in public safety and satisfies intermediate scrutiny.”. . .

The bill regulates the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms; the authority to carry firearms in certain places, the possession of ammunition; penalties for violations, among others.

Prohibited firearms, per the proposed bill, are sawed-off shotguns, a silence, sound suppressor or sound moderator, machine gun, short-barreled rifle, an assault weapon, or a .50 BMG rifle.

The bill also defines and regulates what is allowed under “self-defense with deadly force, and defense of a third party, among others, and regulates and penalizes theft of firearms, the possession of a stole firearm, among others.

The bill establishes a chapter known a the “Gun Free Zone Act” to establish “gun free” zones in or around government buildings, jails, courthouses, public meetings, poker machines, places of worship, public hospitals, schools, and private property, among others.

The bill mandates that the Department of Public Safety “shall not register, and shall seize” any unregistered firearm that was present in the CNMI prior to the effective date of the SAFE law. . . .

They are also imposing a $1,000 excise tax on the purchase of a handgun.  One would think that courts would strike down this tax on unconstitutional, after all there Supreme Court precedents striking down taxes on newspapers.  However, with the courts being so dominated by Democrats, nothing is certain.


4 Responses

  1. John Comeau says:

    but won’t they likely take Washington DC’s example and just make other rules, slightly less onerous?

  2. […] one bites the dust: the very last one. The last jurisdiction in America to ban handguns had its ban overturned. The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands lost it’s prohibition of handguns in federal court. […]

  3. Benjamin Franklin says:

    What, if anything, is being done to oppose the Gun Free Zone Act from being adopted into law? How can I help?

  4. Bartosh Rudnicki says:

    “Residents of the Northern Marianas Islands, a U.S. territory, will be paying a tax of $1,000 per gun as part of a sweeping gun regulation package was approved.”


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