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Attorney general seeks to protect CNMI's firearms safety law

Manibusan joins plea for reversal of ruling against federal restrictions on gun ownership



By Pacific Island Times News Staff


Saipan-- CNMI Attorney General Edward Manibusan this week joined a coalition of 25 U.S. attorneys general who are seeking the reversal of a lower court’s decision that struck down federal restrictions on gun ownership.


The coalition on Thursday filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to review the United States v. Rahimi case involving a 1994 federal law that bars people under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms.


“Protection of human life and public safety should always be of utmost importance. The accessibility of firearms causes a potential rise in domestic violence involving weapons," Manibusan said.


"Our office remains dedicated to proactively advocating and aiding victims of domestic violence and will continue to monitor and strictly enforce our gun laws for the safety and protection of the community,” he added.


The attorneys general argue that the appeals court ruling puts at risk domestic violence victims who may be harmed or killed by their abusers.


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The coalition is joining President Biden in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule the lower court and restore the federal law.


In addition to the federal law, nearly every state in the country has enacted a law limiting access to firearms for those subject to domestic violence restraining orders.


The CNMI Office of the Attorney General drafted the Special Act for Firearms Enforcement or “SAFE Act,” which governs the regulation of firearm possession in the Commonwealth. Signed into law in April 2016, the measure relied heavily on states that had the most restrictive gun control statutes in the nation.


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Within the same year, Manibusan drafted the “Second Special Act for Firearms Enforcement” or “SAFE ACT II,” which modernized the Commonwealth’s existing firearm laws. SAFE ACT II was passed in December 2016.


Since the passage of these laws, there have been nine domestic violence cases involving firearms.


Joining Manibusan in filing the brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. The chief state’s attorney of Connecticut also joined this brief.



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