The published this article on 13 January, 2015:

THE Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “must be enforced” in the Northern Mariana Islands, lawyers for a couple who is challenging the commonwealth’s Weapons Control Act, told the federal court as plaintiffs asked for summary judgment in their favor.

Defendant James C. Deleon Guerrero, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, “is violating plaintiffs’ 2nd Amendment rights by prohibiting handgun possession in the CNMI,” attorney David G. Sigale, lead counsel, and local attorney Daniel T. Guidotti, who represents David J. Radich, a U.S. Navy Gulf War veteran, and wife Li-Rong Radich, told the U.S. court.

Deleon Guerrero “is violating” the Radich couple’s Second Amendment rights “by excluding self-defense as a permissible reason for possessing a firearm or obtaining” a CNMI Weapons Identification Card, the plaintiffs’ counsels added.

The lawyers representing the Radich couple argued that Deleon Guerrero’s “ban on handgun possession in the CNMI, and the ban on possessing firearms for self-defense in the CNMI, flatly violates [the Radich couple’s] rights to keep and bear a constitutionally protected weapon for the purpose of exercising the core right of the Second Amendment; namely, the right to the defense of one’s family and self.”

“Every day these unconstitutional laws are in force, they irreparably harm not only the [Radich couple] but also the public at large, who are at risk of finding themselves unable to defend themselves at a crucial moment, such as happened to plaintiff Li-Rong Radich,” according to 17-page memorandum in support of plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment.

“Besides being unconstitutional under any form of heightened scrutiny, [Deleon Guerrero] has no valid interest in denying the fundamental rights of handgun possession and self-defense to law-abiding CNMI residents,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said.

In 2010, while the husband was away and the wife was at home alone, the Radich residence was invaded, and the wife was attacked and beaten, resulting in injuries including two broken ribs, facial contusions, and a broken orbital bone and eye socket, according to the nine-page complaint.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers said Deleon Guerrero’s “ban on both handguns, and on the possession of a Weapons Identification Card and firearm for self-defense purposes transcends levels of scrutiny. Because these categorical bans destroy the core Second Amendment rights as stated by the [U.S.] Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald [case law], and also by the [U.S. Court of Appeals for the] Ninth Circuit in Peruta [case law], they are both undeniably unconstitutional.”

The plaintiffs’ attorneys cited Section 501(a) of the Covenant and other case law as bases that “Second Amendment must be enforced in the CNMI.”

Former U.S. Army Ranger Paul Michael Murphy, 32, also sued the CNMI government in federal court, asking for the repeal of the commonwealth’s Weapons Control Act and all associated legislation, licensing, taxation, recording, administration, processing, and the like.

Murphy, a Kagman resident, asks for $5 million from the CNMI government for pain and suffering; reimbursement of funds paid or lost; reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of suit incurred as a result of the civil action; and other relief.

Anticipating an unfavorable ruling from the federal court, Deleon Guerrero and Assistant Attorney General James Zarones, who represents the DPS commissioner, have asked the Legislature to act “swiftly without hesitation” in passing an alternative gun control law.

The commonwealth may be flooded with unregulated weapons if the constitutionality of the CNMI Weapons Control Act is struck down by the federal court, according to Deleon Guerrero and Zarones.