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US court sets filing, hearing on summary judgment in NMI gun law challenge

A U.S. Navy Gulf War veteran and his wife who are challenging the constitutionality of the CNMI Weapons Control Act in federal court have until Dec. 31, 2014 to submit their motion for summary judgment.

The defendant, Department of Public Safety Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero, who sued in his official capacity, has to file opposition by Jan. 30, 2015. Assistant Attorney General James Zarones represents Deleon Guerrero.

David Radich and Li-Rong Radich have to file their response by Feb. 13, 2015. Their attorneys are Daniel Guidotti of Saipan and David Sigale, of the Law Firm of David G. Sigale, P.C., based in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Sigale, according to court records, represents the Second Amendment Foundation, which is based in Bellevue, Washington, with purposes that include “education, research, publishing and legal action focusing on the constitutional right privately to own and possess firearms.”

District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona will preside over a hearing for the motion for summary judgment on March 5, 2015.

Anticipating an unfavorable ruling from the federal court, Deleon Guerrero and Zarones have asked the Legislature to act “swiftly without hesitation” in passing an alternative gun control law.

The commonwealth may be flooded with unregulated weapons if the constitutionality of the CNMI Weapons Control Act is struck down by the federal court, according to Deleon Guerrero and Zarones. 

Guidotti said the civil action initiated by his clients seek redress for deprivation of civil rights and for “equitable, declaratory, and injunctive relief challenging the CNMI’s prohibition on the ownership and possession of handguns otherwise protected by the Second Amendment, the statutory inability to possess or carry a firearm for self-defense in the CNMI, and the good cause requirement for obtaining a Weapons Identification Card in the CNMI which is required for one seeking to obtain a firearm for self-defense.”

Guidotti said his clients “have been and continue to be extremely concerned about the self-defense of their persons.”

In 2010, while the husband was away and the wife was at home alone, the Radich residence was invaded, and the wife was attacked and beaten, resulting in injuries including two broken ribs, facial contusions, and a broken orbital bone and eye socket, according to the nine-page complaint.