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Gun Control in US Territories

It looks like some lawmakers in Saipan are looking to tighten their gun control laws, already likely unconstitutionally strict. I doubt even most people could point where Saipan is on a map, or even know it’s an unincorporated territory of the United States. The Supreme Court, in the Insular Cases, ruled that fundamental constitutional rights are to be enforced even in unincorporated territories of the United States. Therefore the ruling in McDonald v. Chicago has applied the Second Amendment to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Their current laws are such:

The Commonwealth Weapons Control Act forbids the manufacture, purchase, sale, possession or carrying of firearms other than as provided by law.  In order to carry a firearm, the holder must have a license.

Shooting galleries are allowed, exempting patrons from the licensing requirement.  6 C.M.C. 2251.

.22 Caliber rifles and .223 caliber centerfire rifles and .410 gauge shotguns and their appropriate shells are allowed.  All other firearms are considered contraband and are not allowed in the Commonwealth.  6 C.M.C. 2301.

The CNMI is assigned to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It seems hard to imagine that prohibitions this strict would pass constitutional muster even under today’s relatively early Second Amendment case law. It would seem that some local politicians are aware of that.

6 Responses to “Gun Control in US Territories”

  1. Robb Allen says:

    I was about to say “I could *easily* point to that on a map” then I realized you said Saipan and not “Spain”

  2. Jason Coyne says:

    Interestingly the .223 exception seems to allow AR15 “assault weapons” (at least those chambered in .223) .

  3. NotClauswitz says:

    I think the .223 exemption is because Saipan still has a big old US military presence? Marines gotta train.

  4. Ian Argent says:

    Saipan is in the pacific, within the B-29’s sortie radius, and probably on a direct line drawn from the Japanese Home Islands through Iwo Jima; and that’s about all I could have said without reference to Wikipedia.
    I had forgotten that Saipan was part of the Marianas, which probably would have helped me locate it

  5. Jeff Dege says:

    Last I checked, American Samoa’s gun laws were about as strict.

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