BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today won a major victory when a federal judge for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) declared the commonwealth’s ban on handguns to be unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.
CNMI is governed under “a Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America,” according to the ruling, written by Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona. She noted that several provisions of the Constitution are applicable to the Commonwealth through that Covenant, including the Second Amendment.
“This is a big win for the Second Amendment,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Judge Manglona properly noted that because the CNMI Covenant applies both the Second Amendment and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, as if CNMI were a state, then it is unconstitutional to ban handguns for self-defense in the home, or to restrict handgun possession to citizens but not lawful permanent residents.
“It is another affirmation of the Second Amendment victories in Heller and McDonald, and will have a direct impact in the Ninth Circuit” he added. “The ruling makes it harder for the gun prohibitionists to get around these important Supreme Court victories. This is one more Second Amendment Foundation victory in an unprecedented string of court victories. But we still must make sure that President Obama or a Hillary Clinton do not stack our courts with anti-rights judges.”
The case involves David Radich and his wife, Li-Rong, a Chinese citizen. David is a U.S. citizen who served honorably with the Navy during the Gulf War. He moved to Saipan in 2008 and married Li-Rong in 2009. The following year, Li-Rong was, according to court documents, “attacked and savagely beaten, suffering two broken ribs, facial contusions, and possibly a broken orbital bone and eye socket” while home alone. The couple wanted a handgun for home defense, but CNMI prohibits most private individuals from possession and importing handguns and handgun ammunition, and doesn’t recognize family protection as a reason to issue a “weapons identification card.” Today’s ruling nullifies that ban.
“We got involved in this case because the violation was so egregious,” Gottlieb said. “The CNMI’s gun control laws ban handguns or using any firearm for self-defense. That’s unconstitutional, and Judge Manglona says so.”
The Radiches are represented by Illinois-based attorney David Sigale, who has worked successfully with SAF on other cases involving Second Amendment protections for non-citizens who are lawful permanent U.S. residents.