The Supreme Court held that a congressional statute intruded on the rights of the states when it required local law enforcement officers to conduct background checks on prospective handgun purchasers.
Two law enforcement officers, Sheriff Jay Printz of Montana and Sheriff Richard Mack of Arizona, challenged the constitutionality of a key provision of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993. Speaking for a 5-4 majority, Justice Antonin Scalia
Although the Printz decision had many implications for federalism, it did not have much direct impact on the Brady bill. More than half the states had laws requiring background checks consistent with the federal statute, and the federal government was scheduled to conduct its own background checks on gun purchasers in late 1998.
Lopez, United States v.
National League of Cities v. Usery
States’ rights and state sovereignty