In a quintuple victory for Second Amendment rights, a federal judge last week overturned a ban on carrying handguns in public, a ban on so-called assault weapons, caliber restrictions for long guns, a $1,000 tax on handguns, and a requirement that all guns be registered with the government. “The individual right to armed self-defense in case of confrontation…cannot be regulated into oblivion,” declared Ramona Manglona, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.
In her September 28 ruling, Manglona notes that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (which includes the Northern Mariana Islands) has said “there is no constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon in public.” But the 9th Circuit has not addressed the broader question of whether the right to armed self-defense recognized by the Supreme Court in the landmark 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller extends beyond the home. Adopting the historical analysis and logic that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit applied when it overturned an Illinois ban on carrying guns in 2012, Manglona concludes that “the Second Amendment, based on its plain language, the history described in Heller I, and common sense, must protect a right to armed self-defense in public.” While “the right of armed self-defense, including in public, is subject to traditional limitations,” she says, “it is not subject to elimination.” Since the law enforced by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) “completely destroys that right,” Manglona writes, “it is unconstitutional regardless of the level of scrutiny applied, and the Court must strike it down.”
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