Friday, June 27, 2008

Handguns Soon In The CNMI

Hi friends, this is Harry Blalock; General Manager for radio stations KZMI & KCNM. It’s that time once again to take a look at the issues of the week, and to offer some Food For Thought.

With the passage of the minimum wage law which included the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the passage of the recent law which extends U.S. Federal Immigration control over the CNMI, we are quickly learning that we are a part of the United States. I don’t think a lot of people really believed that up until just recently. Oh sure, they were right there to get their blue passport, cash their economic stimulus check and take all the money the federal government wanted to throw our way, but I think a lot of people were under the mistaken impression that it was a one way street, only benefits for us with none of the duties or obligations to go along with it. They didn’t really think we had to abide by the U.S. Constitution or the federal laws; after all, we were the only U.S. area that was given the right to restrict land ownership to the indigenous Chamorros & Carolinians. And the U.S. let us control our own minimum wage and take care of our own Immigration, and we couldn’t vote for the president, so obviously they really didn’t care what we did out here, we could just do whatever we wanted, and nobody could do anything about it. I can understand why some people may have gotten the impression that the U.S. laws and constitution might not apply to them because of those other exceptions, but they were mistaken in that belief and are now learning that if you fly the U.S. flag, it means you’re a U.S. citizen and have all the rights, privileges, duties and obligations that go along with that as well.

Now we have one of our crackpot congressmen once again trying to look into changing our status and affiliation with the United States. He’s being a crybaby because he’s all the sudden being expected to follow the U.S. constitution and laws like all other U.S. citizens. I don’t think he’s thought ahead to just how this place would survive without all the federal handouts we get currently. I think he expects those would continue, but we just wouldn’t have to let the U.S. tell us what to do anymore. Frankly, I think he should renounce his U.S. citizenship and burn his blue passport, if he’s serious this time and not just shooting off his mouth once again, then let him prove it with his actions. Burning his passport and not getting another one and giving his economic stimulus check back would be a good place to start. If he doesn’t want to be a U.S. citizen, then let him try finding out what it is like in this world when you’re not a U.S. citizen. And to all those who agree with him, I think maybe they should all be sent to Farallon De Mendeniza and allowed to start their own banana republic up there. It would be taking Survivor to a whole new level; maybe they could even get their own TV series out of it.

And while most people don’t realize it yet and haven’t even heard the news, we are now in violation of the U.S. constitution in another area as well. The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans can keep handguns at home for self-defense in their first-ever pronouncement on the meaning of gun rights under the second amendment. The Supreme Court has not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since it’s ratification in 1791. The amendment states “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”.

The main issues the Supreme Court was deciding on were whether the amendment protects an individual’s right to own guns no matter what, and whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.
According to a story written by the Associated Press, “Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.
The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington's requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.
Scalia noted that the handgun is Americans' preferred weapon of self-defense in part because "it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police."
Scalia's opinion dealt almost exclusively with self-defense in the home, acknowledging only briefly in his lengthy historical analysis that early Americans also valued gun rights because of hunting.”
What this means is that the CNMI’s prohibition against handgun ownership by individuals is clearly violating the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and that we are now faced with a choice. We can either willingly follow U.S. law and this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court & change our laws so that we are in compliance with the U.S. Constitution, or we can wait until someone files a lawsuit against the CNMI for violating their basic rights under the constitution. And I can guarantee that our local law prohibiting handgun ownership will be challenged almost immediately. So the question is, will we realize that we need to step into compliance with U.S. Constitutional law and change our laws accordingly, or will we once again try asserting our independence and claim that those laws don’t apply to us?
I can already hear some of the liberals among us screaming that this will now put guns in the hands of the criminal element and it will make it that much more dangerous to live here. The truth of the matter is that any criminal here who wishes to have a handgun, probably already has one. In case they haven’t noticed, criminals don’t usually check whether the law gives them the right to have a handgun or not, that would kind of go against their whole criminal persona. But this will give U.S. citizens the right to bear arms and be prepared to protect themselves in their own homes. That was the original intent of the Second Amendment in the first place; it was one of the most elementary rights of citizenship. Over the years though, various locations have decided that they could restrict the ownership of handguns, ignoring or challenging the U.S. Constitution on the issue. This is a fight that has been many years in the making and just needed to be challenged all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court to let them make a final decision on the issue once and for all. They made the decision and now it’s time for all locations that have laws which contradict the U.S. Constitution to come into compliance, places like Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

I’m hoping that we will tackle this issue with intelligence and planning, rather than just try to avoid and ignore it until is it forced through legal action. Since we now know that we are legally entitled to own handguns, there will be the need of some accompanying legislation about who would be restricted from owning them, such as felons, about how you can legally transport them, where you can legally fire them, and whether they have to be registered or not. If we do this properly, we will be prepared and it won’t cause a lot of problems and confusion, but if we stick our heads in the sand and try to pretend it doesn’t apply to us, we will wind up losing the court challenge and then will be totally unprepared to deal with the issue.

I think it’s high time that we realize what being an American citizen is about. I believe that when many of our lawmakers were going to school, there was no such thing as a civics course and probably nothing about U.S. history, laws or responsibility, since at that point we were not even a U.S. Commonwealth. But whether we like it or not, we are learning those lessons now very quickly, and we need to realize that as long as we fly the U.S. flag, have blue passports and continue to accept federal dollars that we have to live under the U.S. Constitution and federal laws.

Food For Thought is now available online at and if you want it by e-mail distribution please send me an e-mail at

I’m Harry Blalock, thanking you once again for giving me a generous slice of your valuable time, and allowing me to share my Food For Thought.

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