Rep. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan) stressed the need for action yesterday on a bill to establish the a second political status commission, in light of a federal court ruling that struck down the NMI’s ban on handguns.
House Bill 19-02 seeks to evaluate the CNMI’s political relationship with the United States through this commission.
After the House passed a Senate bill to regulate firearms in the Commonwealth, Demapan said they have to think forward toward a much larger problem on the “true value” of the Covenant that established a political relationship with the United States.
Forty years ago, Demapan said, the framers of the NMI Constitution made it clear what was important to “a peaceful community” and people but perhaps there were “two major things we missed out on,” which was the applicability of the right to bear arms and the rights to the 200 miles of submerged lands around the islands
Demapan said the Second Amendment does not specify what kind of arms are allowed and the NMI did not infringe on this right, referring to the permit of .22 caliber guns and .410 shotguns for hunting.
Demapan complained about the NMI’s people lack of a right to vote for President and a lack of full representation in U.S. Congress.
When lawmakers take the oath of the office they take an oath to uphold NMI constitution and also U.S. Constitution.
“But the reciprocity is not there,” he said. “If we don’t ask, if we don’t demand for it, this status quo relationship will continue.”
He urged that the Senate act on House Bill 19-02.
He stressed that the bill does not ask to change the NMI’s political status but evaluate the political status now and “options” out there.
“If we don’t do that evaluation. We will continue to come against rulings, case laws, bills that will drastically effect our relationship with the United States” with “no way to work around it…caught between a stone and hard place” because “we swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” he said.