“This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future.”—Adolf Hitler, 1935
Sound familiar? Yup, the CNMI government has with two laws, PL 6-38 and PL 19-42, gone out of its way to practice gun control using the safety of the public as the excuse. No different from any other place that has tried gun control.
I read an online comment that the 2nd Amendment did not apply to the states until 2010. The fact is that in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court under the McDonald vs Chicago case, decided that the 2nd Amendment applied to the states just as it does the federal government. This means that the states are now held to the same standard as the federal government, therefore cannot impose restrictions on the 2nd Amendment. Our Covenant applied the 2nd Amendment as if the CNMI were a state. So why does our government ignore federal law?
The issue now is that under PL 19-42, although the CNMI government removed the handgun ban, it kept the same restrictions on rifles and shotguns included under its original gun control law, PL 6-38 and added more. Why? This new law should have no restrictions on rifle caliber or shotgun gauge, after all handguns are now legal for ownership. Why are we restricted to a .22 rifle or a .410 gauge shotgun when one can now buy and own a .44 magnum handgun?
And what’s with the magazine ban? Those people who have a 20 or 30 round magazine are now outlaws and at risk until they can find and purchase a 5 or 10 round magazine? What about the gun safe or trigger lock requirement? Aren’t these counterproductive to self-defense? Can you imagine trying to open you safe or find the keys to your trigger lock at 3:00 AM when a burglar is trying to break in your house or worse, already at your bedroom door? With self-defense, time is of the essence. Sometimes life or death is measured in seconds not days.
We have a right to bear arms. Firearms, handguns, muskets, from .17 caliber anything all the way to .50 caliber and beyond, as long as they are not prohibited by the federal government’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Forearms and Explosives, BATFE. We need to move past this brain lock idea that rifles and shotguns should be restricted in caliber and gauge. A bullet fired from a gun, regardless of type or size has the capacity to maim or kill. A BB rifle or .22 pistol or a .50 caliber rifle are all lethal weapons in the wrong hands.
Under the new law, we can own a .45 caliber Colt semiautomatic handgun but not a .45 caliber rifle? Any difference? Other than ballistics and range, nope. Is one inherently more dangerous than the other? Nope. A firearm by any name is a firearm. The U.S. Superior Court stated under section D. The Second Amendment Prohibits the Commonwealth from Denying WIC Applications on the Basis of Self-Defense.” To the extent that the Commonwealth prohibits access to firearms for lawful self-defense purposes, the prohibition is unconstitutional, and will therefore be enjoined.”
The government also included assault weapons but typical of us, they re-defined the term in PL 19-42? First, it has to be bigger than a .223 to be classified as assault rifle so an AR type rifle chambered in .223 is not an assault rifle but when chambered for a 9mm, it is? Who wrote this?
By now it’s quite obvious that PL 19-42 was but a senseless cut and paste rush job. Take a look at the following from PL 19-42:
1. Under Chapter 5, Transition. § 502. Transition -Illegal weapons and unregistered firearms
(a) The Department of Public Safety shall not register, and shall seize, any unregistered firearm that was present in the Commonwealth prior to the effective date of the Special Act for Firearms Enforcement. This provision shall not apply to individuals that were unable to register their firearms because they were not a United States citizen or national under the former language of 6 CMC § 2204(1).
• So, if you were a guest worker or an illegal alien with a gun that you could not register because of your immigration status, you can do it now? Of course not, so why was this written?
2. Under Section 14-A, “4 CMC §1402 is temporarily amended by adding a new subsection as follows: (h) Pistols. $1,000.00 per pistol.”
• So if my son gives me a 9mm handgun in Guam, am I required to pay an excise tax of $1000 plus possibly be forced to pay customs duty for bringing the 9mm to Saipan? Not only that, this tax has a timeline of only one year but the taxes have been dutifully earmarked for expenditure by our boys on the hill. Super, only one year, perhaps some underlying concerns from the congressman who introduced this piece? There are other flaws. The point is PL 19-42 is broken and needs to be repealed along with the rest of PL 6-38 under CMC 6 and in their place, a simple law which provides concise policies and guidance on the punishment of the crime, not the law abiding citizens.
Our new law was hoopla’d with the premise of the safety of the public. Excluding an amnesty period so all guns will be accounted and registered will accomplish two things: Keep all unregistered guns illegal and maybe in the hands of the criminals and totally compromise public safety. While we’re at it, a bullet collection system designed to collect a bullet fired from every registered firearm for a forensic database a DPS ensures that we catch that criminal who fired his gun in the commission of a crime.
We’re dealing with the issue of gun rights and public safety. Forget gun control, that’s like trying to control alcohol, just does not work. We’re also dealing with the fundamental right of self-defense, not only a right but an instinct that no government on earth can regulate or legislate out of existence. By making the necessary changes through the repealing of these laws, we can have it all and still comply with federal law while avoiding more lawsuits and liabilities, we just have to make these changes now, before those happen.
The court’s decision on the 2nd Amendment clarified the application of not only the amendment, but case law based on U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gun cases, notably, Heller vs the District of Columbia and McDonalds vs Chicago. It did not ask for our government’s concurrence but demanded compliance. That it must do.
Remember when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that gays and lesbians can marry under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution? When the news hit the NMI, people welcomed it and Ralph Torres guy was even quoted as saying it’s about time. On the guns ruling, it’s been way overdue.
Our judges and many other government officials were issued a handgun to defend themselves against us, the public. On the other hand, the public has to abide by strict guidelines loaded with outrageous sentencing requirements just to be able to defend themselves. Are you telling me that those issued a government handgun are being targeted by these criminals and we’re not? Read the paper please.
Roy S. Reyes