AG urges passage of SAFE II legislation

Attorney General Edward Manibusan is urging the Legislature to pass the second part of his office’s initiative to update the Commonwealth’s firearm statutes and to do so expeditiously.

“I have submitted to the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Office of the Attorney General’s Special Act for Firearms Enforcement bill (or SAFE II),” the attorney general stated. “With SAFE II in place, the Department of Public Safety can process firearm applications consistent with the Second Amendment requirements.”

In the meeting with the House of Representative members, the attorney general answered questions on SAFE II. “We also discussed changing the scope of the Second Amendment and the litigation that is occurring across the country,” he said. He noted the recent Ninth Circuit decision addressing the Second Amendment in Peruta v. San Diego. The Ninth Circuit held that the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to carry concealed firearms in public. However, the Court did not decide whether there is a right to carry a firearm openly in public.

“This case is important to the Commonwealth because we are within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit. Therefore, any decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is applicable to the Commonwealth unless it is overturned by the United States Supreme Court,” noted Manibusan. “Given the changes in the law, the Commonwealth must continue to update its firearm laws,” he stated. “The Office of the Attorney General is monitoring the firearm cases throughout the country,” adds the AG.

The OAG’s SAFE II draft bill would modernize the Commonwealth’s existing firearm laws. The proposed legislation ensures that Department of Public Safety processes firearm registrations in a timely and efficient manner. DPS also will be empowered to conduct federal background checks on individuals when they register firearms.

The OAG’s SAFE II draft legislation also has provisions that govern the commercial sale of firearms in the Commonwealth. “Currently, Commonwealth law requires DPS to regulate firearm vendors, but there is little guidance on how firearm vendors should be regulated,” the attorney general stated.

The attorney neneral noted other provisions of the OAG proposed bill by stating, “We are proposing that firearms be transferred through a firearm vendor or through the Department of Public Safety which will ensure that criminals are not able to acquire firearms without passing a background check. The measure also includes a 10-day waiting period on any individual who wishes to purchase a firearm. By mandating a waiting period, it will prevent unstable individuals from acquiring and using firearms in emotionally charged situations.”

Accompanying the attorney general to the meeting with the House of Representatives were deputy attorney General Lillian Tenorio, OAG chief solicitor James Zarones, and assistant attorney general Charles “Ned” Brasington.

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