Couple sues to challenge constitutionality of NMI gun law

A U.S. Navy Gulf War veteran and his Chinese wife, who suffered serious injuries during a home invasion, have filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the constitutionality of the CNMI Weapons Control Act that prohibits all residents from obtaining handguns for self-defense purposes.

David J. Radich and his wife, Li-Rong Radich, are suing Department of Public Safety Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero for violation of their right to keep and bear firearms.

The Radich couple, through counsels Daniel T. Guidotti and David G. Sigale, asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI to issue injunctions enjoining Deleon Guerrero from enforcing against them the prohibitions on virtually all CNMI residents from obtaining handguns for self-defense purposes and the probation on obtaining a Weapons Identification Card (WIC) and possessing a firearm for self-defense purposes; and for good cause requirement for obtaining a WIC.

The couple asked the court to declare that such prohibitions 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 Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Radich was born in California. He is an honorably discharged U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Gulf War. He used to work at a public school on Tinian then moved to Saipan in 2008 to work for an environmental consulting firm. He and Li-Rong have been married since 2009.

Guidotti and Segale stated in the complaint that the couple have been and continue to be extremely concerned about the self-defense of their persons.

The lawyers disclosed that in 2010, while Radich was away and his wife, Li Rong, was at home alone, their home was invaded.

Li Rong was attacked and beaten resulting in injuries, including two broken ribs, facial contusions, and a suspected broken orbital bone and eye socket.

Li Rong screamed out for help and caused the home invader to leave. She eventually recovered physically, but both plaintiffs incurred medical bills for Li Rong’s care.

Guidotti and Sigale said the CNMI prohibition on possession of handguns by virtually all CNMI residents, significantly limits the plaintiffs’ ability to protect themselves and their family in the event of violence.

At the same time, the lawyers said, plaintiffs’ ability to obtain a Weapons Identification Card (WIC) for self-defense purposes significantly limits their ability to protect themselves and their family in the event of violence.

On July 31, 2013, the couple applied to the CNMI Department of Public Safety for a WIC.

The DPS commissioner is the authority charged with issuing WIC to residents of the CNMI.

The lawyers said though the law requires a WIC to be issued if an application is not denied within 60 days, plaintiffs received neither a WIC nor a denial during that time period.

In September 2013, Radich contacted the commissioner’s office regarding their pending WIC applications, and that a representative for the commissioner informed them that their applications were being reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General.

The lawyers said Radich and his wife have been denied the ability to legally register and possess handguns for immediate self-defense.

The lawyers said the Second Amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.