‘Small communities have right to decide on guns’


U.S. Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) says small communities like the CNMI should have the right to decide for themselves on how they regulate guns.

Noting last week’s shootings in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas that shook the hearts and core of the American people with regards to race and gun violence, Sablan in his Saturday newsletter shared a statement to House Speaker Paul Ryan on the issue of “Gun and the Marianas.”

Sablan said he wanted to acknowledge the work of local officials and “point Congress in the direction of the same kind of reasonable solutions that the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is putting in place to make sure that guns do not become a threat to our safety.”

He said the CNMI Legislature and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres have instituted sensible limits on gun ownership that reflect the values and concerns of our community.

In his July 6 statement available in the Congressional Record, Sablan said people in the Northern Marianas are concerned that guns “could become more common in “our islands, more easily obtained, and a threat to public safety.”

“We do have guns: for hunting, for target practice. Police officers carry weapons. And we have had tragedies: a child shot accidentally, a mass murder/suicide.

“But generally people feel safe. We do not worry that someone may get a gun and use it for the wrong reasons.

However, Sablan adds that this “feeling of safety” has changed recently.

He noted how recently the federal court ruled that the Supreme Court’s Heller decision applied in the CNMI; and people had a right to keep a handgun in their home.

“I understand that decision. The Second Amendment applies in our islands. We voted to make it apply, when we joined the United States 40 years ago. But the people I represent do not want to see handguns everywhere in our community. We certainly do not want the kind of assault rifles that terrorists use—most recently in Orlando,” Sablan said.

“And our local legislature has taken action to limit handguns and ban assault rifles. I support those actions. I support the right of small communities like my own to decide for themselves about guns,” he added.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at

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