Balance of Power

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Line-drawing associated with the balance between federal and state power is the source of debate. The debate centers on how the Tenth Amendment is interpreted. Let’s explore the line-drawing using handgun ownership as a point of focus.

Printz v. United States (1997) ruled that provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (1993), requiring local law enforcement to perform background checks on applicants for handgun ownership, was unconstitutional as a violation of state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. If you were a federal law enforcement leader and knew that failure of local law enforcement to enforce this rule would undermine any attempt to reduce gun violence such as school shootings, how would you convince a Tenth Amendment states’ rights advocate? How would you account for public policy in your argument? What case law would you use to support your approach?

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