Republican Ralph Torres thinks that the middle class or lower-income people really have a natural right to bear arms, and so he’s happily signed a law that makes handgun ownership a wealthy man’s right.

A newly imposed $1,000 per pistol tax could serve as a “role model” for U.S. states, according to the governor of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The U.S. territory imposed the controversial handgun tax earlier this month.

Gov. Ralph Torres said it is meant to improve the safety of law enforcement and the community.

“It’s something that none of us want and we want to make it as strict as possible,” Torres said in a statement.

The Torres administration suggested that the new law, the Special Act for Firearms Enforcement (SAFE), could be a “role model” for other U.S. states and jurisdictions.

The history of gun control world-wide involves the group in control of the government (and therefore, “legitimate force”) passing laws that strip the natural human right of armed self-defense from minority groups that it does not or trust. At some times and places that animus is racist (the Jim Crow laws of the post-Reconstruction South) or cultural (Northeastern gun and knife laws designed to disarm Irish and Italian immigrants), or is simply a matter of power (the government vs. the citizenry).

What Torres happily hold up as a “role model” for the United States and its territories is akin to a poll tax. It is purposefully and punitively designed to to disenfranchise citizens, stripping them of their natural right to armed self-defense unless they have deep pockets. He’s effectively saying that the lives of poor people aren’t worth defending.

This is nothing more or less than a form of economic discrimination, and is among the most deplorable things I’ve seen in a long time from a civil rights perspective, at least from a nominal Republican.

This sort of abuse of power is of course par for the course from radical progressives, who routinely attempt to gut the Constitutional rights of citizens (here’s just the latest example in California) while manufacturing new “rights” out of thin air.

Torres and his legislature show that authoritarian streaks run through both parties.

We must always guard vigilantly against it.