Supreme Court Rules Police Can’t Take Guns Without Warrant

Supreme Court Rules Police Can't Take Guns Without Warrant

( – The Supreme Court stood up for constitutional rights on Monday, ruling that cops can’t seize someone’s guns without a warrant. The decision clamps down on the creeping abuse of “community caretaking” exemptions.

In 2015, Rhode Island resident Edward Cagle did something stupid during an argument with his wife – he put an unloaded handgun on the table and told her to shoot him if she was that mad. Childish and dumb, yes – but cops used it as a pretext to search his home and take all his guns while he was in the hospital for a mandatory mental health assessment (which he passed). Cagle had to sue to get his property back.

Admitting that Cagle “seemed normal” and “was calm” when they spoke to him, police nevertheless argued that taking his guns was an extension of “community caretaking.” The principle describes a limited set of exemptions to Fourth Amendment protections that lets cops search vehicles – for example, after an accident – without a warrant.

On May 17, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that extending this doctrine to people’s homes directly violates Fourth Amendment rights. Writing the opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said, “A recognition of the existence of ‘community caretaking’ tasks… is not an open-ended license to perform them anywhere.”

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