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Constitutional Law Keyed to Cohen
Printz v. United States
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- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
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- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
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- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
The Petitioners argued that the interim provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the Act), commanding state and local officers to perform background checks on prospective handgun buyers and to perform other related tasks violate the United States Constitution (Constitution). Under the interim provisions of the Act, a firearms dealer who proposes to transfer a handgun must first receive from the transferee a statement containing the name, address and date of birth of the proposed transferee, along with a sworn statement that the transferee is not among any of the classes of prohibited purchasers. The firearms dealer must then provide this information to the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO) who must then make a reasonable effort to ascertain within 5 business days whether receipt or possession would be in violation of the law. These reasonable efforts included conducting research in whatever state and local record keeping systems are available and in a nation al system designated by the Attorney General. The Act does not require the CLEO to take any particular action if he determines a pending transaction to be unlawful. He may notify the firearms dealer, but is not required to do so. If the CLEO does notify the firearms dealer that a prospective purchaser is ineligible he must, upon request, provide the ineligible purchaser with a written statement of reasons for ineligibility. If the CLEO discovers no basis for objecting to the sale, he must destroy any records in his possession relating to the transfer. The Petitioners filed separate actions challenging the constitutionality of the Brady Act’s interim provisions and in each case the District Court held the provision requiring CLEOs to perform background checks unconstitutional. The District courts found the provision to be severable from the remainder of the Act, effectively leaving a voluntary background check system in place. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circu it reversed, finding none of the Act’s interim provisions to be unconstitutional.
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