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US court to hear summary judgment motion challenging NMI gun law on March 12

THE District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands scheduled a March 12, 2015 hearing on the motion for a summary judgment on the constitutionality the commonwealth Weapons Control Act being challenged by a U.S. Navy Gulf War veteran and his wife.

Plaintiffs David Radich and wife Li-Rong Radich, through attorneys David G. Sigale and Daniel T. Guidotti, submitted their reply to defendant Department of Public Safety Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero’s opposition to the couple’s motion for summary judgment.

The couple’s lawyers argued that the federal court has subject matter jurisdiction over the case, and the Radich couple can obtain relief on the motion without challenging the local Customs laws or suing the CNMI Department of Finance.

“The Customs law of 6 CMC§2301 only prohibits the importation of firearms. Even if the court were to accept defendant’s argument, 6CMC§2202 prevents the manufacture, purchase, sale, possession or carrying of a handgun, while §2222(e) prevents the importation, sale, transfer, giving, purchasing, possession or use of a handgun. The prohibitions of the challenged provisions are thus far broader than the customs law raised by the defendant. If the court declares a ban on the importation of handguns unconstitutional under 6CMC§2222(e), it will be axiomatic that it will be unconstitutional under 6CMC§2301. And, if required, the plaintiffs can remove the ‘importation’ issue of 6CMC§2222(e) from this motion while leaving the remaining prohibitions ripe for resolution by the court,” according to the lawyers of the Radich couple.

The lawyers said Deleon Guerrero has authority to enforce 6CMC§2222(e) “though he admitted in his answer that he is responsible.”

The Radich couple have standing as they applied for and are entitled to Weapons Identification Cards, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said.

Mrs. Radich is entitled to possess firearms in the CNMI, her lawyers argued.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers said “the intent of the Covenant’s framers was to adopt the Second Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution.

“The Second Amendment protects people’s right to possess handguns even though they have been illegal in the CNMI,” the lawyers for the Radich couple said.