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Voters Reject Sheriff Who Challenged Brady Gun Law

September 12, 1996

SAFFORD, Ariz. (AP) _ He gained a national following for challenging the Brady gun control law, but Sheriff Richard Mack forgot to watch his back at home.

Graham County voters rejected Mack in Tuesday’s primary, favoring one of his former deputies, Officer Frank Hughes of the Thatcher police, with nearly 70 percent of the 4,500 votes cast.

Mack, who contended Congress couldn’t require his office to conduct background checks on would-be purchasers of guns, had become a popular speaker on the militia circuit around the country. He often appeared on national news programs and has written books on the necessity of the constitutional right to bear arms.

A federal court had agreed with Mack’s states’ rights argument that the Brady law was unconstitutional, but an appeals court overturned that ruling and a similar one in Montana. The U.S. Supreme Court is to hear the issue this fall.

Hughes’ campaign stressed that because of the anti-Brady law campaign the past two years, Mack spent more time on the road than he did fighting crime at home.

Mack retaliated with a newspaper advertisement listing all the time he had worked in his office since 1993 and offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who could provide evidence to the contrary.

``He never cared about any of us,″ said Billie Horner, whose granddaughter was slain two years ago in a crime that remains unsolved. ``He just wanted his pretty face on TV all the time. Obviously, the people were fed up with it.″

Mack did not immediately return calls Wednesday or Thursday.

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