Bill reviving handgun ban goes to the Senate

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Posted on May 09 2017

A bill that hopes to again prohibit handguns in the CNMI is headed to the Senate after the House of Representatives passed it during Friday’s session on Capital Hill.

HB 20-34, introduced by Rep. Vinson F. Sablan (Ind-Saipan), is among the six legislative measures that would be reviewed by the Senate. If passed without amendments, it would go straight to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for enactment.

Friday was a busy day for the House, which passed HB 20-3 (e-citation implementation), 20-37 (to prohibit taking and selling certain sizes of fish species), 20-44 (marriage license fees), 20-45 (to establish two new public highways on Saipan), and 20-48 (to prohibit under-18 persons to serve alcoholic beverages). That’s on top of four resolutions being adopted.

HB 20-34 aims to repeal Section 3 of Public Law 19-42 and revive former 6 CMC 2222 (e), which states that no person is allowed to import, sell, transfer, give away, purchase, possess, or use handguns or automatic weapons.

Sablan said HB 20-34 is a safety net bill since it has always been his position that handguns have no place in the CNMI.

“We are a small island community and we can’t compare ourselves with other jurisdictions. The safety of the public is our main concern here,” he said.

He said his bill ensures the safety of the community. He believes CNMI laws did not deprive any citizen of their right to own firearms. Rifles, shotguns, and caliber .22 or .223 are allowed.

Lawyer Joseph Horey, who represented the Tanapag Middle School Parents-Teachers-Students Association, spoke in support of HB 20-34, saying that public safety is their main concern, that’s why they are lobbying for the prohibition on handguns.

“From a school’s perspective, we’re concerned of school shootings. We think it was better before and parents are concerned so we’ve decided to get involved in the case. Handguns can be easily carried,” said Horey.

He added that right now there’s a pending appeal on the Radich case and, once the law passes, the CNMI would go back to banning handguns.

Horey said he respects Radich’s rights but people have different perspectives. “It is a balance that you have to do and to consider. …Is it better for public safety for people may have access to [handguns] or not? Our position in the PTSA is overall safety of the community.”

He added the bill’s purpose revives the prohibition on the importation, sale, and possession of handguns, “which we used to have here under CNMI.”

HB 20-34 states that a handgun prohibition has protected public safety and better accorded with the wishes of the people of the CNMI.
 

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Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez has been covering local and international sports events for more than 15 years. His sports writing career started when he joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, when he was in college.

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  • RussMason

    Although I am not a fan of the local government, this was a gutsy and important bill. And please don’t whine about the second amendment; the community’s welfare comes first.

    • Bananarepublic670

      Balderdash! If we disregard the our basic Constitutional rights in the name of community welfare, we give up all hope of community welfare.

  • captain

    AS mentioned below, this can/will be a costly encounter for the CNMI if this bill is signed.
    It seems and it shown that few of these elected have the capacity to understand laws and the court systems especially when it involves Fed laws.

    Also this article has a much different take than what was reported in another media.
    What was reported in another media was that this bill was put forth to come into affect in the instance that the second amendment appeal was overturned in respect to the CNMI and the handgun ban would then go back into effect at that time.
    So which reporter is correct in their article?

    BTW I also have not seen any adverse action or noticeablity since the handgun ban was overturned in the courts and allowed in the NMI.
    The only instances was a couple of times by known criminals that had unregistered handguns and ammo and i think there was one long gun also in one case..

  • pafao

    I wouldn’t blame the lawyers at the legislature for the BILL moving forward in the process, it is rather the callous and not thinking clearly legislative member/s who are dillly-dallying with constitutional issue about the right to bear arms. Aren’t they 95% of the problems always?

  • fatdawg

    They just never learned. You can’t fix stupid. They are always subjecting the CNMI government to unnecessary litigation which they always lose. They just paid about $16k on the last suit. This is reckless and irresponsible.

  • peter kang

    federal laws are challenged everyday, as second class citizens, some laws should not apply here as we are not a state, we do not have voting rights and a say in federal laws. hand guns should be illegal and only indigenous people should have a say when it comes to indigenous rights. politicians across america are breaking laws by harboring illegal aliens, while we fight for our rights in our islands. if a person has a right to bear arms, so will the criminals, the junkies and a weapon to use in committing domestic violence. wouldn’t a rifle suffice, we just have to have hand guns. hand guns will create more crime, just like the casino. no win here.

    • Wake Up Cnmi

      Basically, only criminals have and use handguns currently. As a law abiding citizen, I find it idiotic that the Gov would rather criminals would have these handguns and not us.

      • peter kang

        last time i check majority of robberies were commited using machete knives and crowbar. with the legal gun law expect to see handguns in place of the said weapons. despite your name, i think your still asleep.

        • Chief Taga

          OH, how do you check? Are you a investigator now? LMFAO

          • peter kang

            really they didn’t teach you that in college, to look for answers to the questions? silly wabbit. smh.

          • Chief Taga

            from forever bartender to citizen investigator. OH NO!

          • peter kang

            11 years as a bartender, going 6 years now as CPA, at least i was taught better in college. now whose the moron.

  • Bananarepublic670

    And that same jurisprudence allows handguns and other firearms larger than 22cal. 2nd Am applies, and US Supreme Court interpretations of 2nd Am apply

  • Tinalakattne Yantitiyas

    Aah the issues of handgun on a tiny group of islands. A hospital that is barely keeping its head above water lacking specialist, equipment, well trained staff, lacking well trained EMT’s which would probably find you DOA of GSW at the doors into the ER etc… A police force that seems to have a few bad apples in it, again lacking funding therefore lacking proper training, lacking personnel and equipment…. (no offense to our first responders) Schools again lacking funding for/in support and employ good teachers, lacking proper materials, lacking good classrooms, lacking metal detectors….. Islands that folks seems to really do-up a birthday party with a focus on “alcohol beverages” even if its a child’s birthday….. Islands with major denial issues of ICE issues within the family…. And on and on and on….

    Now what do we need handguns again for? Now is not the right time to introduce handguns into the community. Maybe later; but not now and maybe never. Biba Marianas!!

  • Wake Up Cnmi

    Would you like to “well regulate” the 1st, 4th, or any other a bit? Lets say on the 5st, it only applies to law abiding citizens and not criminals. Wow, so easy to trim off a bit of the Constitution.

  • captain

    While I get your point and respect your belief, handguns presently are allowed and have been for at more than a year now.
    Nothing has changed within the communities from when they were completely banned.There has been no additional violence and no violence by licensed hand gun owners only the usual criminals.
    BTW the rifles that have been allowed for a long time the .223 CALIBER AR 15 rifles (copies of US military M16 assault rifles) are so much more powerful than a 9MM handgun bullet.(DPS issue)
    The .223 cal. will penetrate the average cops body armor.

    • Tinalakattne Yantitiyas

      Likewise with yours Sir. We all like waves in the ocean. Unrelenting, on constant perpetual motion constantly changing directions. I hope that whatever the course we chart, we do it sensibly and as well thought out.

  • captain

    They have been allowed for more than a year now with no change in legal owner violence.

  • captain

    It has already gone through the supreme court challenged from many different states and has been withheld.

    • Tinalakattne Yantitiyas

      I understand that but we all have a different view of things and just cause supreme court leaned right or left don’t mean we should just quit. I for one take what the Covenant between the US and us and its meaning which its intention for the most part is to let us chart our own course. Handguns I believe falls in that purview. Biba Marianas!

  • captain

    BTW, while I supported the overturn on the CNMI ban, I had my apprehension about the enforcement of licensing by allowing certain people to obtain hand guns all due to the lack of enforcement and not following the Fed Licensing guidelines along with the local regs by the incompetent people in the various agencies tasked with this enforcement and licensing.
    I am scared that as is the way, due to family and friends these procedures will not be followed and it will enable convicted felons and unstable individuals to “get a hand gun” There is enough problems with unstable uneducated cops and other around that the community has to deal with.
    Luckily so far this has not come about.

  • Bananarepublic670

    To be clear, there is no ban in place. These dimwits just want to try and unring the bell.

  • Wake Up Cnmi

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free
    State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be
    infringed

    Basically, the first Selective Service which is still required that every 18 year old male must enroll in. Forms are available at every Post Office right now.

    On May 8, 1792, Congress passed “[a]n act more effectually to provide for the National Defence, by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States” requiring:

    [E]ach and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the
    respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of
    eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is
    herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in
    the militia…[and] every citizen so enrolled and notified, shall,
    within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock,
    a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a
    pouch with a box therein to contain not less than twenty-four
    cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge
    to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball: or with a good rifle,
    knapsack, shot-pouch and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of
    his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear, so
    armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise, or into
    service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only,
    he may appear without a knapsack.

    This has been tweaked a bit but the intent is still valid.

    • Tinalakattne Yantitiyas

      Hahaha! I enrolled and I served Wake.. Just cause you are Siruanu or Siruana does not mean you are entitled to be given a scalpel and let you go to work…. Regardless, the main driving force in Covenant is to let us chart our path. Handgun issue falls in that realm.

  • peter kang

    capt, we are second class citizens with no say and vote in the US, if the US constitution applies here, then why don’t we have a say or vote in any issues that affect us here. btw, john davis was born in the US and we are not. the last time i check, only people born in the US can run for president and we can’t. now isn’t that discrimination. he can vote for president via absentee ballot and still vote in issues affecting our indigenous rights, you call that fair. is it not why we fight, because we have also “rights”? go figure.

    • Wake Up Cnmi

      If you are a U.S. Citizen and go to any of the 50 States and make it your legal residence and register to vote, you can vote. You can only be registered to vote in one location. The reason we can not vote here is because of our geographical location. If your registered in any of the states to vote and do not register to vote here, then you can vote via absentee ballot.

      • peter kang

        so you mean i go stay in the US, register to vote, come back here and not vote here but vote by absentee ballot from there? doesn’t make sense. can you run for president of the US? riddle me this.

        • Wake Up Cnmi

          Yes, I can.

          • peter kang

            if you are born in US, but not here.

          • Wake Up Cnmi

            You might not like it, but if you were born here after the Covenant was active, you were born on U.S. soil and have every right as every other U.S. Citizen. It is a very old law that states the territories and Commonwealths of the U.S. can not vote for president. But yes, you can run for president if you were born here but reside in the states.

          • peter kang

            check your facts, you are misinformed.

          • Wake Up Cnmi

            It seems that you have the facts. Please reference them.

          • peter kang

            ever heard of google? guess not.

          • Wake Up Cnmi

            Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution sets the following qualifications for holding the presidency:

            be a natural-born citizen of the United States;[note 4]
            be at least thirty-five years old;
            be a resident in the United States for at least fourteen years.

  • Wake Up Cnmi

    You are not correct.

  • Fiftycaltx

    Yeah, the wogs don’t deserve “rights”. Might upset the masters.

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