A federal judge for the U.S. District Court in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) on Monday declared the commonwealth’s ban on handguns to be unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.
It was a victory for the Second Amendment Foundation, whose founder predicted it will have an impact on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling was handed down by Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona.
“This is a big win for the Second Amendment,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Judge Manglona properly noted that because the CNMI Covenant applies both the Second Amendment and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, as if CNMI were a state, then it is unconstitutional to ban handguns for self-defense in the home, or to restrict handgun possession to citizens but not lawful permanent residents.”
He called it “another affirmation of the Second Amendment victories in Heller and McDonald, and will have a direct impact in the Ninth Circuit.”
The case involves David Radich and his wife, Li-Rong, a Chinese citizen and focuses on her rights as a permanent resident under the Second Amendment.
David Radich is a U.S. citizen who served honorably with the Navy during the Gulf War. He moved to Saipan in 2008 and married Li-Rong in 2009. The following year, Li-Rong was “attacked and savagely beaten, suffering two broken ribs, facial contusions, and possibly a broken orbital bone and eye socket” while home alone, according to court documents.
The couple wanted a handgun for home defense, but CNMI prohibits most private individuals from possession and importing handguns and handgun ammunition, and doesn’t recognize family protection as a reason to issue a “weapons identification card.”
That seemed “just wrong” to Gottlieb. Sent to press the lawsuit was Illinois-based attorney David Sigale, who has worked with SAF on other gun rights cases.
CNMI is governed under “a Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America,” according to the ruling. That Covenant includes the Second Amendment.