SCOTUS: Police Cannot Seize Guns Without A Warrant

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SCOTUS: Police Cannot Seize Guns Without A Warrant, iStock-697763612

WASHINGTON, D.C.-(Ammoland.com)- In a case argued in front of the Supreme Court, that could affect Red Flag laws across the country, SCOTUS ruled unanimously that the “community caretaking” exception does not apply inside the home.

Caniglia v. Strom centers around the police seizing the firearms of a man that his wife reported as suicidal. The incident that led to the issue started when Edward and Kim Caniglia began to have marital problems in their 27-year long marriage. Mr. Caniglia grabbed his unloaded handgun and sat it on the table, and told his wife, “shoot me now and get it over with.”

Mr. Caniglia then left the house to go on a drive. While he was gone, Mrs. Caniglia hid the gun. When he returned, the couple started to fight again. This time, Mrs. Caniglia left the house and decided to stay at a motel to let things calm down and blow over.

Mrs. Caniglia tried to call her husband the following day, but he was not answering the phone. She then contacted two police officers to do a welfare check on her husband with her. She told the police about what her husband did the night before but stressed that her husband didn’t threaten her. He was just expressing how hurt he was because of the fighting. Mr. Caniglia has never been abusive and does not have a criminal record.

Police told Mrs. Caniglia to stay in the car. They found Mr. Caniglia sitting on the back porch. They talked to him, and he assured them that he wasn’t suicidal. One of the officers said Mr. Caniglia appeared completely normal but was upset because the police became involved in the dispute. The officers wanted him to go to the hospital for a mental evaluation.

Mr. Caniglia was hesitant because he believed the officers would seize his guns if he did, but the officers agreed not to take his firearms. The officers had him transported to the hospital via ambulance. Once gone, the police did what they promised Mr. Caniglia that they would not do. They entered his home and searched for guns. The officers seized two handguns, magazines, and ammunition without a warrant. They claimed to have used the “community caretaking” exception.

When Mr. Caniglia returned home, he found out police seized his guns without a warrant and did not leave him with any way to retrieve his firearms. When he tried to get the guns back, the police refused to turn over the man’s property. He would have to sue to get them back.

He claimed that police violated his Fourth Amendment rights and his right to due process. The case made its way through the courts. President Joe Biden strongly supported the actions of the police. President Biden has been pushing Congress to pass a national “red flag” law.

SCOTUS rejected the notion that police could take someone’s guns without due process.

Anti-gun groups condemned the decision of the Court and claimed it makes people less safe. Gun rights groups hailed the decision as a victory for freedom. One gun group, Gun Owners of America, filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of Mr. Caniglia. The organization celebrated the decision as a victory for inalienable rights.

“The Supreme Court today smacked down the hopes of gun-grabbers across the nation,” Gun Owners of America Senior Vice President Erich Pratt told AmmoLand. “The Michael Bloombergs of the world would have loved to see the Supreme Court grant police the authority to confiscate firearms without a warrant. But the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Fourth Amendment protections in the Bill of Rights protect gun owners from such invasions into their homes.”

The case will have a rippling effect across the legal landscape. The courts will have to decide if this decision affects “red flag” laws.


About John Crump

John is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

John Crump

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mightymike
mightymike
30 days ago

I’m a retired Officer and Detective. When I read this I was surprised. This has always been the law of the land since before I started in 1972! I would have been more surprised if SCOTUS had NOT ruled the way they did. This decision is nothing new. EXCEPT it might hold at bay those who want cops to go get guns under any circumstances. I’m against Red Flag laws anyway. This is a win/win for law enforcement [ to not be manipulated by politicians who want cops to do such things under what normally would have been illegal] IMPORTANTLY… Read more »

SweetOlBob
SweetOlBob
25 days ago
Reply to  mightymike

Good for the GOA ! Why were they the ONLY gun group to file an amicus brief ? It seems to me that all of the stated no compromise groups should have jumped on this definite violation of the man’s constitutional rights ! Another question: How long did it take for him to become armed again ? Who paid his lawyer fees ? In a case like this, where the law as represented by lying LEOs, was eventually ruled in the gun owners favor, he can win, but lose untold amounts of money to do so. People without a lot… Read more »

GomeznSA
GomeznSA
1 month ago

This is my shocked face (it would be if I knew how to make that emoji).
Seriously, ‘perhaps’ the supremes actually READ the Constitution this time, especially the 4th Amendment, that part about unreasonable searches and seizures applies. What they have done in a way is to box themselves into a corner (GOOD) in that they have now set a very strong precedent for any future 4A case.

Big George
Big George
30 days ago
Reply to  GomeznSA

:-O

HLB
HLB
1 month ago

A strong verbal disagreement is always hard to deal with and becomes more complicated with the weapon as a factor. However, if you can disassociate the one from the other and wear your weapon openly the lying law enforcement officers will back off… and then the Supreme Court will not have to be bothered.

HLB

StreetSweeper
StreetSweeper
1 month ago
Reply to  HLB

That advice will get you killed graveyard dead.

HLB
HLB
1 month ago
Reply to  StreetSweeper

At some point quality of life becomes more important than quantity.

HLB

JimQ
JimQ
1 month ago

Great decision 9-0 but as we have seen with McDonald and Heller, the lower courts will ignore this ruling.

swmft
swmft
1 month ago
Reply to  JimQ

communist states too, it will take arrests of criminals on prowl to fix this ,and they should be tried under rico

APG member
APG member
1 month ago

On the one hand the ruling seems unlikely given the nature of the court, my expectation that this is just a prelude to a more significant ruling to go the other way…

Superman
Superman
1 month ago
Reply to  APG member

Who knows? Anything is possible with SCOTUS.

Grigori
Grigori
1 month ago

Like most of us I am guessing, I am happy with this decision. That said, am I the only one that finds a “unanimous” decision on a case like this to be odd? What is going on up there?

Darkman
Darkman
1 month ago
Reply to  Grigori

While they all seemed to agree…it was for very different reasons in relation to the 4th A. It just so happened that to save the part of the 4thA each side supported required them to vote the way they did. I’ll guarantee it left a bad taste in the Liberal judges mouths.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
1 month ago
Reply to  Grigori

I think JIMQ has the answer.

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crasak
1 month ago

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Last edited 1 month ago by crasak
Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
1 month ago
Reply to  crasak

Spammer reported to press ammoland dot com.

Green Mtn. Boy
Green Mtn. Boy
1 month ago

Well No Duh,only a brain dead Leftard would fall for that.