$1,000 Handgun Tax Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Authors Jordan Michaels
The GLOCK 42 is one hell of a gun. I'm afraid it will be overshadowed by its younger brother.

The GLOCK 42 is one hell of a gun. But in the Marianas Islands, one would have to shell out $1,000 in taxes just to own one.

What does the government do when it can’t ban guns outright? It makes them financially unfeasible to own.

The Commonwealth Senate of the Northern Marianas Islands passed a $1,000 handgun tax last week, which is now awaiting Gov. Ralph D.G. Torres’s expected signature.

The tax comes just weeks after Chief Judge Ramona Villagomez Manglona of the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands ruled that the territory’s 40-year handgun ban was unconstitutional.

According to a report from Guns.com, the judge ruled that because the American people have “overwhelmingly chosen handguns as their principal means of self-defense,” and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands is a U.S. territory, “the Second Amendment protects that right here as well.”

The Commonwealth legislature responded by imposing every restriction they could invent short of a total ban. According to the Guns.com report, the bill that imposes the $1,000 handgun tax will also establish the following:

  • Gun free zones around schools, government buildings and places of worship;
  • Mandatory use of gun locks for firearms not in use;
  • A prohibition on the carry of firearms outside of the home for self-defense;
  • Mandatory licenses to possess firearms or ammunition;
  • An “assault weapon” ban similar to those in California and New York;
  • A prohibition against centerfire rifles in a caliber larger than .223 and shotguns in a caliber larger than .410 gauge;
  • A prohibition against magazine size larger than 10 rounds;
  • A total prohibition against Title II firearms such as suppressors, short barreled rifles and machine guns.

The Marianas Variety reported that Sen. Paul A. Manglona voiced support for the tax in the Senate, saying it would decrease the expected number of handguns coming into the island.

Pro-Second Amendment groups were quick to decry the measures as unconstitutional. “This is definitely a case of the power to tax is a power to destroy a right,” Second Amendment Foundation Executive Director Alan Gottlieb told Guns.com Wednesday. “Most people in the CNMI cannot afford this tax and will not be able to exercise their rights.”

Gottlieb is not exaggerating. Per capita GDP in the Commonwealth is only $13,300 per year, which means the tax on a single handgun would cost the average resident nearly 10% of his or her total yearly income. The tax is, essentially, a handgun ban in a different form and denies most Commonwealth citizens their Second Amendment right to self-defense.

Before residents of the continental U.S. get too high and mighty, they should keep in mind that Washington, D.C., has pulled similar stunts.

Most gun enthusiasts are aware of the $200 tax stamp on suppressors, machine guns, and short-barreled rifles. What some may not know is that this $200 tax stamp has not changed in the 82 years since it was first instituted by the National Firearms Act of 1934. In 1934, that tax would have been the equivalent of $3,583 today.

The $1,000 handgun tax in the Marianas Islands proves the extent to which our government officials can go while technically staying within the letter of the law. If we want to maintain our Second Amendment rights, we have to fight and win these battles—whether on an island in the Pacific or in our nation’s capital.

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  • Vaughn Winslett December 3, 2018, 9:37 am

    Solution. Water the Tree Of Liberty.

  • Richard May 28, 2018, 2:19 pm

    Why aren’t these crackpot laws put to a popular vote ? Some may remember the last visit from the Japanese . It will help their thinking .

  • Aquaman71755 April 16, 2016, 11:41 am

    And can you imagine all the handguns and rifles that will be smuggled in illegally just because of this tax. Maybe you will see 3 D printers becoming more available that will use metal instead of the plastic. It is already happening now and you will see it in the near future.

  • Glenn61 April 15, 2016, 9:51 pm

    So the wealthy land owners will be able to purchase multiple guns to oppress the surfs but the common man won’t be able to afford the tax… right….?

  • Kivaari April 15, 2016, 5:31 pm

    One more case of ignorant legislators targeting honest citizens. Poor honest citizens at that. What kind of crime do they have? Lots of handgun crimes? Lots of assault rifle crimes? Horrible 20 ga. and .308 crimes? This law is a Brady Bunch wet dream come true. Perhaps the judge would get a chance to rule on each of these sections to an insane law. It sounds like the judge is the only government official with a brain.

    • Alan April 17, 2016, 11:11 am

      NOT ignorance, That would be forgivable. Deliberate attempts to deny Constitutional rights through taxation is not.
      That’s called Fascism.

  • Tat2dmf'r April 15, 2016, 5:04 pm

    Isn’t Ms. Clinton from there? Yikes, couldn’t afford to live there. Sometimes I wish I lived in a simpler time other than the fun sticks were not as cool. Thankfully I live in the Republic of Idaho!

    • American April 16, 2016, 7:38 am

      So right Tat2dmfr Government is out of control. I live in the mostly FREE (mostly free) state of ARKANSAS We wont be really free until our government is “For the people by the people”

  • Onthe Wall April 15, 2016, 3:08 pm

    Who are these morons in the Marianas Islands, oh I know why they are doing this they probably live at the bottom of The Marianas Trench. Don’t the idiots read USA news papers. Someone tell these idiots they may as well have a sigh ‘This school is able to be shot up this is a gun free zone!’. Don’t they read about all the schools that are changing their no-guns on school grounds to These premises are protected by Smith & Wesson and Colt and Ruger.


  • callmeBob April 15, 2016, 3:04 pm

    I’m going to go with…
    Who really gives a rats a$$. Let that coral atoll disappear back into the pacific. There’s nothing there we need, we were done with it as soon as the ink dried on the unconditional surrender document.

    • Bob December 3, 2018, 7:29 pm

      Are you saying that using people, then discarding them when you are finished using them, is okay?

  • Rrudytoo April 15, 2016, 2:46 pm

    With the way things have been going on here in the states I’ve been looking at options for retiring outside of the country and, yes, I did look into the Northern Marianas. I forget why I blew it off then but this is reason enough to never go there.

    I’m hoping this following question won’t make me a target for FBI investigation but considering that Americans have endured so much more from our own government over the past generation than our forefathers did from King George, just when do we say, “ENOUGH!”, and break out the ARs? Seriously!

    • me April 15, 2016, 4:06 pm

      Anywhere u go that is U.S. controlled is not a safe…..EVER!…THE COUNTDOWN AGAINST us has begun…hope 2 c u when it’s all over!!;)…Good Luck my fellow Patriots!!

    • tinfoil hat davy April 15, 2016, 5:26 pm

      I saw a bumper sticker in Tn. while on vacation: “The founding fathers would already be shooting”

  • bobtheaxolotl April 15, 2016, 2:24 pm

    I’m pretty sure that this law will be killed by a court case. It reminds me of polling place taxes and the like. Generally when you try to remove a right by taxing it, it doesn’t hold up to judicial review.

  • Rangemaster April 15, 2016, 12:37 pm

    “The claim and exercise of a Constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime”…”No state shall convert a liberty into a privilege, license it, and attach a fee to it”.
    Miller v. U.S., U.S. Supreme Court. 319 U.S. 105 (1943).

  • Aardvark April 15, 2016, 11:42 am

    The second to last sentence in this article says “… proves the extent to which our government officials can go while technically staying within the letter of the law.” The Constitution is “The Supreme Law of the Land”. If you violate that, it is NOT technically staying within the law. It is a clear violation of the 2nd amendment: “…shall not be infringed!”

  • Bob R April 15, 2016, 11:27 am

    Taxing everything out of existence will not stop criminals or politicians from preying on the public. All it creates is another source of revenue. In areas that require a firearm in every home, the crime rate is reduced. In Israel, all citizens are given the unlimited right to bear arms, which keeps those that wish to destroy the country at bay. If all the police forces of the world were unarmed, crime would run rampant. We fear those that are armed and rely on them for security. We have armies to protect us, but without firearms they have no power. This country was born by the gun and has been defened by it ever since. No country would ever attack this one, when there are over 300,000,000 guns to face. Dictators always disarm their countries to gain power over the people. We cannot allow that to ever happen here.

  • Robert April 15, 2016, 10:45 am

    It’s time to FIRE WASHINGTON!!!!!!term limits on 100% of all politicians local, state and federal!!!!!!!!!! Show them we are fed up!!!!!

    • Aardvark April 15, 2016, 11:36 am

      Including ALL judges!

  • SammysDad April 15, 2016, 10:40 am

    The citizens need to vote the idiots out of office and replace them with constitutionalists. When good people do nothing, bad people will rule.

  • Dan April 15, 2016, 10:26 am

    Let’s make sure the bodyguards of government employees have to do the same thing. I’ sure they are lurking out there.

  • Rouge1 April 15, 2016, 10:12 am

    They should institute a $1000 poll tax for voting as well. The courts have become the enemy of the constitution.

  • Jim G April 15, 2016, 10:10 am

    I thought the government could not place a tax on a constitutional right. They can impose a fee, but not a tax. I’d sue if I lived in the Marianas.

  • Larry April 15, 2016, 10:00 am

    My god, this place should be renamed the Socialist Repubic of the Northern Marianas Islands! I guess we can all cross that hell hole off our vacation list of must sees.

  • Michael April 15, 2016, 9:19 am

    This legislation is unconstitutional also.

  • Izzy April 15, 2016, 8:53 am

    Wow!!!!!! so if u make 200k a year u have the right to protect u and ur familys lives, but if not tough, and this great nations founding fathers lived, fought, and died for us to 2 just piss it away, out of fear! These laws arent making our history better, its pissing on those that gave the ultimate sacrifice to write them! GREAT BRITAIN started off the same way, slowly asking everyone to bend over, and then telling u 2 take cus thats life. Laws like what i can and cant do in my own car, that i bought and paid for ( no smoking, no phn, seatbelt ect) is how it starts. Not to say these laws are bad. but when does it end. when u cant eat a cheese burger, when u cant listen to music. It sound unrealistic and dramatic but how long well it be untill ur home isnt safe from the powers of the government! When does it end! Please realize whats happening and take action! For those small few that know all this, keep sharing that message, maybe someday (hopefully be4 its 2 late) we’ll make the masses understand that fear is just the handcuffs of control! fighting for a better AMERICAN not a controlled one! Remember just cus its not happening to u, doesnt mean it wont!

  • Richard April 15, 2016, 8:48 am

    I can see a great opening for a black market in the near future, I am sure some intelligent individual will start a smuggling operation soon.

  • Jay April 15, 2016, 8:21 am

    It always gets my attention when government buffoons say something is unconstitutional but then make previsions to INFRINGE on that constitutional right! What’s the difference? Nadda!

  • Seabee April 15, 2016, 8:20 am

    I’m continuously amazed by the arrogance of elected officials, they act as if they are our masters instead of our representatives. This bullshit has to stop, they need to be reminded they work for the people and are not in place to rule over us. Wish we could have a true democracy where issues are placed in the publics hands to vote on.

  • Torch April 15, 2016, 8:19 am

    As much as everyone wants a “peaceful resolution” to these violations of our RIGHTS voting is NOT gonna resolve the problems. The ONLY solution is war but that’s not gonna happen so all we can do is accept the CONTINUED erosion of our rights because fighting the government in court doesn’t work nor does “voting”.

  • Jim April 15, 2016, 8:16 am

    The self anointed dictators of policy must be afraid the common, regular, everyday folk are going to rise up and throw them out of office and take over the country. It’s all about POWER, isn’t it? They should be ashamed!

  • Bill Searcher April 15, 2016, 8:07 am

    If I had a direct email address for the author, I’d write to him directly. It seems incautious to mention the $200 tax stamp and inflation… (And, unfortunately, this is equally incautious.)

  • machgman April 15, 2016, 3:48 am

    Clearly, its time to jettison the Northern Mariana Islands and abandon these crazies to any country dumb enough to take and support them (North Korea? China?). Any country dumb enough to take them would still not put up with the sillyassed politicians they have now.

    As it is, we throw a bunch of people tax monies to keep its non-economy from sinking into the Pacific.

  • SuperG April 12, 2016, 1:07 pm

    So the status quo is kept where it is. The criminals and the police will be the only ones with guns, as it now. I imagine the criminals were worried that maybe an intended victim could defend themselves. What a relief for them.

  • Gunbunny1 April 11, 2016, 6:38 pm

    That’s absolute bull!! They should vote those dirtbag politicians out of office and vote in those that will support and defend their rights as citizens. Make no mistake though, that is slowly creeping it’s way through the U.S. With Goonberg and Hellary leading the charge. We all need to take action and fight for all our rights. All that these dumb laws accomplish is to make lawful citizens victims and give criminals free reign! BS gun free zone didn’t prevent San B shooting.

    • Mark N. April 12, 2016, 1:27 am

      The total population of the entire island chain is only 53,000, almost all of whom live on three islands of this fifteen island chain, most of whom are related by blood or marriage. Some critics, including the author of the political website Saipan Sucks, say that politics in the Northern Mariana Islands is often “more a function of family relationships and personal loyalties” where the size of one’s extended family is more important than a candidate’s personal qualifications. They charge that this is nepotism carried out within the trappings of democracy. The chances of “voting the bastards out” are thus essentially nonexistent.

      • Just1Spark April 15, 2016, 4:49 am

        Great information. Thank you.
        So basically, the same as the U.S. mainland.

  • Anthony wright April 11, 2016, 5:14 pm

    Now that is messed up glad I live in the South no such worries about people wanting to tax our firearms

  • LHTwist April 11, 2016, 3:24 pm

    It sounds like every citizen living in The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands should acquire a firearm now, while the ban is suspended, in preparation for the coop that’s surely on the horizon.

    Take back your rights by tossing a tyrannical government!!

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