PTSA brings gun control issue to 9th Circuit

The Tanapag Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association is bringing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit its opposition to the lawsuit filed by U.S. Navy veteran David J. Radich and his wife, who successfully challenged the constitutionality of the CNMI gun control law.

The Tanapag Middle School PTSA, through counsel Joseph E. Horey, has notified the U.S. District Court for the NMI of its appeal to the Ninth Circuit from the court’s order denying its motion to intervene in the Radich couple’s lawsuit and from the court’s final judgment in the couple’s case.

The PTSA wants the Ninth Circuit to reverse the federal court’s order that denied its motion to intervene into the Radich couple’s lawsuit.

The PTSA also seeks an order from the Ninth Circuit to reverse the federal court’s ruling that favored the Radich couple’s lawsuit.

Citing that there is no longer anything to appeal, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona last May 27 denied the PTSA’s motion to intervene.

Manglona said when the Commonwealth Legislature repealed the law at the heart of the Radich couple’s lawsuit, it rendered moot the case or controversy subject to judicial decision, and essentially made the scope of CNMI gun control a political matter.

“Because the provisions challenged in this lawsuit no longer exist, and the Radiches no longer have anything to enjoin, PTSA no longer has a case into which it can intervene,” Manglona said.

In her March 28 ruling, Manglona declared unconstitutional the CNMI gun control law that prohibits all residents from obtaining handguns for self-defense purposes.

In response, the CNMI passed Public Law 19-42, SAFE Act which removes the ban on possession of handguns and also establishes new rules for transporting and using firearms.

PTSA then filed a motion to intervene for purposes of appeal in the Radich couple’s lawsuit.

PTSA president A. Kodep Ogumoro-Uludong, in his declaration, said they oppose the legalization of handguns in the CNMI because these weapons add a new and dangerous threat to the students’ welfare.

Horey argued that if the court’s decision in the Radich couple’s lawsuit is allowed to remain in force without appeal, the PTSA’s ability to protect its interest in the “welfare of children and youth in home, school, and community will this be permanently impeded.”

The Radiches, through counsel David G. Sigale, opposed the PTSA’s motion.

Sigale asserted that, as of now, the challenged laws no longer exist because the Commonwealth passed Public Law 19-42, the SAFE Act, following Manglona’s summary judgment ruling, which repealed and/or amended all the laws that the Radich couple had challenged.

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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

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