*By Jon Kimball, CLW Contributing Writer
The Biden Administration is at it again… he and the AGs from 9 states are hoping the Supreme Court will allow law enforcement (LE) to trample all over the 4th Amendment. An oral case was heard today (Caniglia v. Strom) that could affect how the police behave and our right to due process.
At the core is term called “community caretaking,” an exception to the warrant requirement. The Supreme Court many years ago created the exception with intent of LE being able to impound vehicles for their safety when on roadways. It was seen as “reasonable” for the officer to seize a car (and have it towed) in the interest of community safety.
What does that have to do with gun confiscation? Good question! It’s a funny story… shorter version… a 68 year old man (Edward Caniglia) made an off-handed remark to his wife (Kim) of 22 years about his brother-in-law having used his coffee mug, “I might catch a case of dishonesty.” An hour-long argument ensued. He made a not-so-wise decision to retrieve an unloaded gun from the bedroom, set it on the counter and told his wife, “Why don’t you just shoot me and get me out of my misery?”
This obviously did not go over well and the bickering continued. Edward left for a time, but upon returning the arguing continued. Kim eventually left herself and spent the night in a motel. The next day she couldn’t reach Edward. Worried, she requested LE to do a welfare check at their house and escort her home. They found Edward fine and reports by the officer’s said he was “normal and calm,” and said to the officers when asked that he’d never commit suicide. The officers were convinced Edward (with no criminal record, no history of violence or self-harm) might hurt himself and insisted he go to the hospital for a psychological evaluation. He obviously refused, but eventually gave in as long as they promised they wouldn’t seize his gun.
The officers not only lied to Edward, but also lied to Kim indicating that Edward had consented to the gun confiscation in which she led them to the two guns they owned. Edward was immediately discharged from the hospital, but had to file a civil rights lawsuit against the officers to regain his guns.
How did the officers have the right to confiscate his guns? They didn’t indicate it was an emergency or in prevention of an imminent danger. They argued it is was a form of “community caretaking.” Yes… an exception to the 4A for searching and seizing vehicles was used to confiscate firearms from a person’s residence. And the Biden Administration is hoping the Supreme Court will uphold this… allowing a new way to confiscate guns?
Unfortunately, this has been upheld by the First Circuit US Court of Appeals who extended the exception to include private homes. Because of this, it has been reported that jurisdictions have used this to enter homes without a warrant for loud music and leaky pipes. Once inside… what else will they do? Or what else will they search and seize? Let’s hope the Supreme Court reverses it and maintains our right to “security” within our home and due process by the obtaining of a warrant to enter, search and seize, if appropriate.