Ruling puts Pacific islanders in gun debate crosshairs

America’s heated gun debate has extended to a remote Pacific territory, with a court overturning a ban on handguns in the Northern Marianas after ruling it breached the US Constitution’s Second Amendment.

In a ruling greeted with dismay by the island territory’s leaders, the US District Court found the right to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment also applied to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

“The Second Amendment… (is) the law of the land in the CNMI as if it were a (US) state,” judge Ramona V. Manglona said in a written judgement released Monday.

The challenge to CNMI restrictions was backed by the Second Amendment Foundation pro-gun group, which hailed the decision as “a big win”.

Governor Ralph Torres said he was considering an appeal but would also look at introducing safety measures such as background checks and waiting times if the judgement stood.

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