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Printz v. United States

Significance, John Hinckley Helps Write The Brady Bill, The Majority Takes Its Cue From History


Jay Printz, Sheriff/Coroner, Ravalli County, Montana


United States

Petitioner's Claim

That Congress's use of the Brady Act to require "chief law enforcement officers" (CLEOs) in a local jurisdiction to conduct background checks of handgun purchasers, and to perform other duties, is unconstitutional.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Stephen P. Halbrook

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Walter Dellinger, Acting Solicitor General

Justices for the Court

Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia (writing for the Court), Clarence Thomas

Justices Dissenting

Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David H. Souter, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

27 June 1997


That the "Necessary and Proper" Clause in Article I of the Constitution did not give Congress authority to override state legislatures and require local CLEOs to perform background checks.


"A New Round for and Against the Brady Bill." US News & World Report, September 9, 1996, p. 8.

Additional topics

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