Joe Biden and his authoritarian administration are calling on SCOTUS to uphold warrantless gun confiscation. Alongside attorneys general from nine states, the Biden administration is asking the Supreme Court to violate the Second and Fourth Amendments.
The case began with an elderly couple’s fight over a coffee mug. Forbes described the case in detail:
In August 2015, 68-year-old Edward Caniglia joked to Kim, his wife of 22 years, that he didn’t use a certain coffee mug after his brother-in-law had used it because he “might catch a case of dishonesty.” That quip quickly spiraled into an hour-long argument. Growing exhausted from the bickering, Edward stormed into his bedroom, grabbed an unloaded handgun, and put it on the kitchen table in front of his wife. With a flair for the dramatic, he then asked: “Why don’t you just shoot me and get me out of my misery?”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the tactic backfired and the two continued to argue. Eventually, Edward took a drive to cool off. But when he returned, their argument flared up once again. This time, Kim decided to leave the house and spend the night at a motel. The next day, Kim phoned home. No answer.
Worried, she called the police in Cranston, Rhode Island and asked them to perform a “well check” on her husband and to escort her home. When they arrived, officers spoke with Edward on the back deck. According to an incident report, he “seemed normal,” “was calm for the most part,” and even said “he would never commit suicide.”
However, none of the officers had asked Edward any questions about the factors relating to his risk of suicide, risk of violence, or prior misuse of firearms. (Edward had no criminal record and no history of violence or self-harm.) In fact, one of the officers later admitted he “did not consult any specific psychological or psychiatric criteria” or medical professionals for his decisions that day.
Still, police were convinced that Edward could hurt himself and insisted he head to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. After refusing and insisting that his mental health wasn’t their business, Edward agreed only after police (falsely) promised they wouldn’t seize his guns while he was gone.
Compounding the dishonesty, police then told Kim that Edward had consented to the confiscation. Believing the seizures were approved by her husband, Kim led the officers to the two handguns the couple owned, which were promptly seized. Even though Edward was immediately discharged from the hospital, police only returned the firearms after he filed a civil rights lawsuit against them.
Rather than citing an emergency or claiming they were preventing imminent danger, the police officers in this case chose to claim that their actions were a form of “community caretaking.”
Created by the Supreme Court around 50 years ago as a narrow exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, the “community caretaking” exception was designed for cases that involved impounded cars and highway safety, giving police officers who are called to the scene of a car accident the ability to remove nuisances such as inoperable vehicles on public roads. Of course, the Biden administration is attempting to use the exception to violate the Second and Fourth Amendments.
Supreme Court Arguments
Caniglia’s attorneys warned in their opening brief for the Supreme Court that “extending the community caretaking exception to homes would be anathema to the Fourth Amendment,” because to do so “would grant police a blank check to intrude upon the home.”
The ACLU, the Cato Institute, and the American Conservative Union filed a joint amicus brief which argued that, in areas that extend the community caretaking exception to homes, “everything from loud music to leaky pipes have been used to justify warrantless invasion of the home.”
“When every interaction with police or request for help can become an invitation for police to invade the home, the willingness of individuals to seek assistance when it is most needed will suffer,” the brief read.
The Biden administration ignored these concerns in its first amicus brief, arguing that “the ultimate touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is ‘reasonableness.’” In the same brief, the Biden Justice Department claimed 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.”
Clearly, the Biden administration is asking the court to ignore the Fourth Amendment.
“The Fourth Amendment protects our right to be secure in our property, which means the right to be free from fear that the police will enter your house without warning or authorization. A rule that allows police to burst into your home without a warrant whenever they feel they are acting as ‘community caretakers’ is a threat to everyone’s security,” said Attorney Joshua Windham, of the Institute for Justice.
The Bottom Line
The Supreme Court should rule against the Biden administration and the police department in this case, upholding the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. This man’s guns should have never been taken from him over an overdramatic joke. How many people in the United States have passively said “shoot me”? When you’re frustrated, given a job to do that you don’t want to, or something bad happens in your life, have you ever made an offhand comment or joke that sounded slightly suicidal? With this law, you could have your guns confiscated, and your rights violated. This case is extremely important both for our Fourth Amendment rights, and our Second Amendment, which the Democrats are trying to infringe upon in any way they can.