Former US Army ranger asks CNMI Senate to stop SAFE Act
Saipan (Marianas Variety) -- Paul Murphy, a former U.S. Army Ranger, is asking the Senate to stop the enforcement of Public Law 19-42 or the Special Act for Firearms Enforcement Act.
Signed by then-Gov. Ralph DLG Torres in 2016, the SAFE Act regulates and controls firearms and ammunition in the CNMI.
In his letter to the Senate last week, Murphy said the law "presents the types of arguments used by the post U.S. Civil War southern states to justify denying former slaves their rights to keep and bear arms."
He said citizens in the CNMI have been treated like second-class citizens when it comes to the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.
The SAFE Act provisions that require registration of firearms in the Commonwealth "was found unconstitutional" but CNMI legislators still utilized this scheme under the pretext of public safety, Murphy said.
He said the licensing scheme under the law "presumes guilt, and the citizen must prove himself innocent before exercising their right to keep and bear arms."
These schemes, Murphy told senators, impose restrictions on law-abiding citizens, especially the poor and the underprivileged.
"We would like you to stop the enforcement of the unconstitutional licensing scheme. We are willing to assist in creating public safety procedures that will pass constitutional muster and promote civil liberty," Murphy said, adding that the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, and prior Supreme Court rulings on the Second Amendment leaves the CNMI “incredibly liable to litigation.”