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    Friday, October 19, 2018-5:09:45P.M.






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9th Circuit: Tanapag PTSA lacks standing to intervene in gun-control lawsuit

THE Tanapag Middle School Parent-Teacher-Student Association lacks standing to intervene in a lawsuit regarding the CNMI handgun ban, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as it affirmed the District Court for the NMI’s ruling.

The Ninth Circuit said Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona did not err in denying the PTSA’s motion to intervene. On March 28, 2016, she stuck down the CNMI law that prohibited residents from obtaining handguns for self-defense purposes, saying it was unconstitutional.

After the CNMI government enacted Public Law 19-42 or the SAFE Act, which removed the ban on possession of handguns and  established new rules for transporting and using firearms, the Tanapag PTSA, through attorney Joseph E. Horey,  filed a motion to intervene for purposes of appeal. The CNMI government did not appeal.

On May 27, 2016, Judge Manglona denied the PTSA’s motion to intervene. She said because the provisions challenged in the lawsuit no longer existed, and the Radiches no longer had anything to enjoin, PTSA no longer had a case in which it could intervene.

The lawsuit that successfully challenged the constitutionality of the CNMI’s handgun ban was filed by U.S. Navy veteran David J. Radich and his wife Li Rong.

After the district court denied its motion to intervene, the PTSA  appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

In its ruling dated July 10, 2018, the Ninth Circuit cited a previous court ruling which stated that a plaintiff “cannot manufacture standing merely by inflicting harm on [itself] based on [its] fears of hypothetical future harm that is not certainly impending.”

The Ninth Circuit said the PTSA “claims that the district court’s order striking down the [handgun ban] will require the PTSA to install metal detectors in schools or hire security guards to protect against an increased danger of gun violence. Yet the PTSA, a voluntary association, has not shown that it has a legal duty to take such protective measures or that the district court’s order requires the PTSA ‘to do or refrain from doing anything.’ ”

The Ninth Circuit added, “Even if the district court’s order affects any duty to protect students that the teachers owe in their capacity as teachers, such a duty would not be a basis for PTSA organization standing.”

According to the Ninth Circuit, “Because we conclude that the PTSA lacks standing, we decline to address the Radiches’ argument that the appeal is moot as well as the PTSA’s challenges on the merits to the district court’s summary judgment order” that struck down the CNMI handgun ban.