McClaughry: SCOTUS rules that Fourth Amendment protects firearms in the home

By John McClaughry

The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously for a Rhode Island man after police responding to a domestic disturbance took guns from his home without a warrant — a violation of the man’s Fourth Amendment rights, the justices ruled.

Police citing mental health concerns seized two handguns while in Edward Caniglia’s home, though the man had no criminal or violent history. His wife had reported she was concerned he was suicidal.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the Court. “The Fourth Amendment protects ‘[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. The ‘very core’ of this guarantee is ‘the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.’”

When for months the police refused to return his firearms, Caniglia launched a legal battle against the police, saying his Fourth Amendment rights were infringed. Only after filing his lawsuit did the police return his firearms.

The court has previously held that law enforcement can search vehicles in its possession during times of emergency without first getting a warrant. But the high court said  that cars and homes should be treated differently, because law enforcement responds to accidents on the highway. “What is reasonable for vehicles is different from what is reasonable for homes,” Justice Thomas wrote.

Thank you, all nine Justices of the Supreme Court.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

3 thoughts on “McClaughry: SCOTUS rules that Fourth Amendment protects firearms in the home

  1. No democrat nor RINO have the right to take away my guns or my Constitutional rights or Amendments, both fed and state to protect myself, my loved ones, my home, or anyone who is being shot at. I will stand and defend my country and loved ones as my ancestors did and my father, husband, and son did. My father was in 2 wars, my husband in Vietnam and my son in Iraq. they taught me a lot about how to use a gun and our FREEDOM. !!

  2. The stunning fact is the 9 / 0 decision, and the importance of upholding the 4 th. amendment in a case with involvement of the 2 nd.

  3. Or compel us to waive our guaranteed 5th Amendment right to due process as a precondition to being allowed (or denied) the exercise of our right to keep and bear arms. The government is not delegated the authority by our Constitution to compel us to waive our 10th Amendment right to a federal government exercising only those powers delegated to it by the United States Constitution, and State governments are prohibited the exercise of any power prohibited to the States by the United States Constitution. The government is not delegated the authority under the 14th Amendment to make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. The Supreme Court needs to address all of these issues concerning the 2nd Amendment.

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