[BELLEVUE, Wash.] – The country’s largest public interest law group focused on restoring gun rights announced Sept. 5 that it joined lawsuit by Saipan couple challenging the virtual ban on all handguns in the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands, an American possession.
“The Second Amendment does not just apply to the continental United States and Hawaii,” said Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.
“It also applies to territories under U.S. jurisdiction. The issue is a fundamental civil right, not only to possess a handgun, but also to use firearms for self-defense purposes, which is currently banned in the Northern Marianas,” he said.
The couple filing the case is David L. Radich, a Navy veteran of the First Gulf War and his ethnic Chinese wife, Li-Rong.
In 2010, while Radich, an environmental services consultant, was out of the house, an intruder came into the house upon his wife alone and attacked her. Although her screams drove the attacker away, Ri-Rong was injured and required professional medical attention.
In 2013, the couple applied for a weapons permit to carry a handgun, but the application was never acted upon, thus leaving the Radich’s with no permit—and nothing to appeal.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern Marianas to force a decision, and by extension rule on the right to keep and bear arms in the island territory that was the site of some of the most vicious combat in the Second War World.
The defendant is James C. Deleon Guerrero, who is the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, the agency that holds the couple’s application. The couple is represented by a legal led by attorney Dan Guidotti in the Marianas, and Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and attorney David G. Sigale.
Gottlieb said the SAF was quick to provide grant funding for this legal challenge, because it follows naturally the foundation’s challenge of the Chicago handgun ban that was nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court four years ago.
“The Chicago case incorporated the Second Amendment to the states, and to our territories,” he said. “If that victory is to mean something, we will challenge any such gun ban. It follows our goal of winning firearms freedom, one lawsuit at a time.”
In addition to the SAF, the National Rifle Association’s Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund and Hawaii Defense Foundation are also supporting the couple.
SAF General Counsel Miko Tempski said the gun rights community is united in support of the Radich’s.
“We are delighted to join the NRA Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund and Hawaii Defense Foundation in this action,” she said. “We’re always eager to work with our friends and allies when it comes to facing a common problem.”