The Aftermath of Printz v. United States: Janet Reno’s “Dismay”

March 16th, 2014

Stephen Halbrook shared another great story about the aftermath of Printz v. United States. Attorney General Reno sent a letter to all Chief Law Enforcement Officers in the United States, to remind them that they still need to wait five days before they could transfer a handgun, if no background check was performed. But she didn’t write “days.” She wrote “dismays.” And no one caught it. Remarkable. Here is Stephen’s recollection of the letter from a 2012 discussion:

It led to a great anguish and gnashing of teeth in the Clinton administration.  Janet Reno sent a letter out basically telling chief law enforcement officers that you still have to wait five “dismays” before you can transfer a handgun if no background check is done.  Her proofreaders weren’t too good.  I did not misspeak.  She said five “dismays” instead of five “days.”  They were very dismayed about the opinion.

I asked Stephen for a copy of the letter, and he said he would dig it up.