December 3, 1996 – Reason.com


Non-paywall version.

This was the case where, if the Supreme court had been treating the RKBA as an actual right, all this background check nonsense could have been stopped at the beginning. The district courts had struck the background check down as unconstitutional, then the (9th) circuit reversed. The Supreme court found the check itself constitutional, but that mandating that state officers do it contrary to anti-commandeering principles.

Thomas would have struck the whole thing down as a violation of the 2nd amendment, among other constitutional provisions.

By the way, this case has relevance to the discussion of “Hendiadys”; “e) Contrary to the contention of JUSTICE STEVENS’ dissent, the Brady Act’s direction of the actions of state executive officials is not constitutionally valid under Art. I, § 8, as a law “necessary and proper” to the execution of Congress’s Commerce Clause power to regulate handgun sales. Where, as here, a law violates the state sovereignty principle, it is not a law “proper for carrying into Execution” delegated.”

The Court treated “necessary and proper” as not being a Hendiadys, the “necessary” and the “proper” requirements being independent.



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