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DPS in violation of gun ruling, Paul Murphy tells court

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THE Department of Public Safety continues to enforce a CNMI firearm registration scheme that was found unconstitutional by the court, Paul Murphy said in a motion for contempt that he filed in federal court.

In 2016, Murphy, a former U.S. Army Ranger, won his lawsuit against DPS, which he sued to stop the enforcement of the Commonwealth Weapons Act and the Special Act for Firearms and Enforcement or SAFE.

In his 35-page motion, Murphy who is representing himself, asked the court “to vindicate its authority and punish DPS Commissioner Robert Guerrero for disobedience.”

Murphy said on Nov. 5, 2019, he applied for a renewal of his firearms ID “under duress and under protest,” which he made known to DPS by attaching a notice letter to the firearms application form.

Murphy said DPS’ “Safety Form A: Application for Firearm Owner’s ID Card…expressly states, ‘You may keep and possess only the firearms you register.’”

He said he specifically underlined this portion of the application in addition to attaching the notice letter.

“Not registering a firearm still remains a civil infraction punishable by a fine of five hundred dollars under P.L. 19-73…[which] was written one month after the federal court ruling with full knowledge of this court’s decision on the registration of firearms. The application for firearms owner ID card was also updated after this court’s ruling on this issue, but it still maintained the registration of firearms in order to possess a firearm.”

Beginning on Nov. 9, 2016, Murphy said he submitted a letter of protest along with his firearms ID application to the DPS commissioner, “notifying him that the firearms licensing scheme, which included and still includes the registration of firearms, was unconstitutional and that the plaintiff was only applying for the license because he would be unable to obtain his firearms and ammunition any other way.”

On June 12, 2017, Murphy said he submitted a notice of payment for items that were still not returned to him, “namely one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five rounds of ammunition. The plaintiff noted that he provided…DPS with more than ninety days to return the items or reimburse him for the items or to communicate with him regarding this issue; to this date no return, reimbursement or communication has been provided to the plaintiff.”

For over a decade, he added, “a specific liberty of the people of the CNMI has been violated possibly through ignorance or prohibited out of fear. This Court in due conscience for public safety and honest reverence for liberty ruled [that the] provisions for the registration of firearms [were] unconstitutional. The Defendant…showing a usurpation of authority not given to the executive [branch] enforced provisions which this Court enjoined against.”

Murphy said “in order to vindicate the authority of this Court, the Defendant should be found guilty of criminal contempt of court.”

Variety was unable to get a comment from DPS.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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