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Northern Mariana Islands Ignore Court’s Ruling With Prohibitive Regulations

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Article first appeared at NRA-ILA.

Two weeks ago, we reported on the end of the final handgun ban in the United States, as a federal court held the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ ban on all handguns unconstitutional.  As is too often the case where courts are required to intervene on behalf of Americans’ right to keep and bear arms, the legislative response to the ruling was to enact even more gun control.

On Monday, Governor Ralph Torres signed the “Special Act for Firearm Enforcement” (SAFE) into law.  In addition to using the same misleading acronym as other recent gun control laws, the Act reads like a pieced together compendium of the “reasonable restrictions” other antigun jurisdictions have passed to thumb their noses at the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago.

The Commonwealth’s new “SAFE” law generally bans “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines”, prohibits the public carrying of any firearms, and creates so many “gun-free zones” as to make firearm possession on the islands practically impossible.

The Act also creates a one thousand dollar excise tax on the importation of any pistol.  This tax alone is in direct contravention of the court’s ruling that the people of the Commonwealth have a right to possess handguns for defense of themselves and their families.  The legislature and governor of the Commonwealth obviously hope to keep the handgun ban effectively in place through a tax that will quadruple the cost of acquiring many handguns in the Commonwealth, thus pricing them out of reach.

“SAFE,” in short, is a sorry excuse for a law, and one that will hopefully be treated by a future reviewing court as the brazen act of defiance it is obviously intended to be.

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