Supreme Court Could Greenlight Warrantless Gun Seizures

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Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments in Caniglia v. Strum on whether police can enter a home without a warrant under a “community caretaking” exemption to the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. The case stems from a 2015 incident in Rhode Island in which police entered an innocent man’s home, without his permission, and confiscated his firearms.

Police had been called by Edward Caniglia’s wife, who claimed she feared her husband might be suicidal after they had an argument. Edward spoke calmly to police when they showed up, told them he would never kill himself, and displayed no reason to believe he may be suicidal. Police bullied him into visiting a psychiatric care facility, and lied that they would not confiscate his firearms while he was away. The facility immediately released Edward, because in their assessment, his mental health was fine.

Police then lied to Edward’s wife, saying her husband gave police permission to enter the home and remove his firearms, which they did.

After Edward sued, his firearms were returned. But the court ruled the police had acted properly in seizing the guns based on “community care.” Edward’s appeal made it to the Supreme Court.

At last week’s arguments in front of the Supreme Court, the Biden administration sent a representative of the United States to argue on the officers’ behalf. In other words, the Biden administration is in favor of a court decision which would allow police to enter homes and confiscate firearms without a warrant in the name of “community care.”READ MORE

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