Brief Fact Summary. Various state chief law enforcement officers (“CLEOs”) brought suit, alleging that the interim provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the Act) unconstitutionally required state executive officers to apply a federal regulatory program.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. “The Federal Government may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program.”
Issue. May Congress require state law enforcement agents to administer the background checks required by the Act?
Held. No. Appeals court ruling reversed and remanded.
The interim provisions violate the federalist structure of the constitution, by requiring state executive officers to administer federal regulations.
The provisions also violate the federal separation of powers, by removing Presidential oversight from a federal program. Because the Act is a federal statute, the Constitution of the United States relegates the authority to enforce it to the President of the United States. By putting the enforcement of the interim provisions in the hands of state and local officials, Congress has stripped the federal executive of his constitutional duty to enforce federal legislation.
This Court never has sanctioned explicitly a federal command to the states to promulgate and enforce laws and regulations.View Full Point of Law