Judge rules against background checks.
Judge Roll's opinion does not knock out the waiting period for handgun purchases, but it does strike at the very concept of the federal government requiring local law enforcement officers to conduct background checks.
The suit was brought by Graham County, Ariz., Sheriff Richard Mack.
The government had attempted to defuse some of the arguments of Sheriff Mack by issuing a letter saying that it had no intention of seeking criminal penalties for chief law enforcement officers (CLEOs) who fail to conduct checks.
Government attorneys also argued that the sheriff did not have standing because while he may be a state official, he is not the state.
But Judge Roll did not accept that argument, ruling, "The court finds the standing and jurisdiction argument presented by the United States to fall on all fronts. It is irrefutable that the Act specifically imposes certain duties on a particular category of individuals -- the CLEOs.
"Should Sheriff Mack disregard his statutory responsibilities, he would place himself at risk of its criminal penalties."
The court also ruled that the executive branch cannot amend a statute by fiat.
In addition, Judge Roll found that the provision of the Brady Law which requires a "reasonable" attempt be made to check a prospective buyer's background was "void for vagueness."
"Reasonable effort is not defined by statute," the judge wrote.
Tanya Metaksa, executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, praised the decision. She said, "It is gratifying that federal judges concur in arguments NRA made against the Act when it was in bill form."
Mrs. Metaksa noted that even while individual sheriffs are challenging the Brady Law in court, the National Sheriffs' Association has passed a resolution to strongly oppose the oppressive anti-gun bill known as Brady II.
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|Title Annotation:||John Roll; background checks for gun purchases|
|Date:||Oct 1, 1994|
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