The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Caniglia v. Strom today, a case that may go down in history as the single gravest blow to the Second and Fourth Amendments in American History. What is at stake? Police in Rhode Island are being challenged for seizing the firearms of Mr. Edward Caniglia without a warrant under the thin justification of a very narrow exception to the Fourth Amendment called “community caretaking,” If we see a bad ruling on this case combined with HR 127‘s universal background checks, firearm permit and insurance requirements and SB7‘s Red Flag Ex Parte Orders, the Second Amendment might not survive the year 2021.
Meet Edward Caniglia
Edward had Zero criminal record and no history of violence or self-harm or indications of mental illness. In fact according to Forbes, the police admittedly “did not consult any specific psychological or psychiatric criteria” or medical professionals for his decisions that day.”
So what happened? How did the police justify this illegal seizure? Edward had an argument with is wife Kim… over a coffee mug and a flip remark about his brother-in-law… at the end of which he produced an unloaded gun, put in on the table and asked her “Why don’t you just shoot me and get me out of my misery?” Seriously…. that’s it. Stupid? Yeah. Melodramatic? Oh, yeah. Grounds for forcibly and deceptively taking his property? Absolutely not, particularly not without due process.
Oh and there’s that too, the police took his weapons when he wasn’t home without his knowledge, but told his wife they had his permission…. so yeah, there’s a word for that: theft.
Again the police didn’t claim that there was a threat, or an emergency or that they were preventing ‘imminent danger’ similar to a red flag gun seizure. No, they called it ‘community caretaking’.
What is ‘Community Caretaking’?
The legal concept of community caretaking was created by SCOTUS in 1973 in the case of Cady v. Dombrowski there are entire legal dissertations on this ruling, but here’s the short version: ‘Community Caretaking’ is an exception to the Fourth Amendment requirement for warrants that was designed for use in cases that involve impounding cars and highway safety. Yup, this is the legal standard that lets’ police remove inoperable vehicles from the road… and they used this justification to illegally seize a mans firearms.
The ACLU, the CATO Institute and American Conservative Union Agree: This Is Terrifying
The Biden-Harris regime naturally loves this idea and supports it whole-cloth saying the officers’ actions met the hazy legal criteria of “reasonableness”. In a brief to the Supreme Court the Biden DOJ wrote “The ultimate question in this case is therefore not whether the respondent officers’ actions fit within some narrow warrant exception, but instead whether those actions were reasonable,” which the DOJ evidently does believe.
The Justice department argued that warrants should not be “presumptively required when a government official’s action is objectively grounded in a non-investigatory public interest, such as health or safety.”
The question is by whose judgement is an action “objectively grounded in a non-investigatory public interest”, it flies in the face of everything our founders stood for that the government has the power to determine that it is objectively in the public interest to seize a citizen’s property.
In a stunning rebuke to the leftists who have usurped control of our government, the typically opposing forces of the ultra-liberal ACLU and the Conservative CATO Institute and ACU have jointly sent an opposing brief, viciously striking down the argument.
“Extending the “community caretaking” exception to warrantless searches of the home would allow police officers to bypass the Fourth Amendment’s restrictions in a startling array of circumstances. These are not theoretical concerns. In both state and federal courts, everything from loud music to leaky pipes have been used to justify warrantless invasion of the home. Allowing ill-defined notions of “community caretaking” to override the Fourth Amendment is unwise, unmanageable, and unnecessary, and it opens the door to abusive police conduct, including against those who most need society’s protections.”
They cite the adage that “We have . . . lived our whole national history with an understanding of ‘the ancient adage that a man’s house is his castle.’ But if the decision below is correct, that castle is made of sand. As interpreted by the First Circuit, the extent of the Fourth Amendment’s protection for the home depends on the subjective intent of a governmental “master of all emergencies.”
The Declaration of Emergency Gives All Power
This is a horrific extension of a single-common fatal illness in American politics: the declaration of emergency. If the police declare an emergency in your home, they can seize your property and detain you. If your state declares an emergency they can forcibly remove you from your home or keep you quarantined within it indefinitely. If they federal government declares an emergency…. well.. history has proven we’ll let them do pretty much anything they want.
Ronald Reagan tried to warn us,
“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help. “.