Now is the time to find out just how dear all of these “strict constitutionalists” on the Supreme Court really do respect our Constitution.
As reported by Forbes.com’s Senior Contributor Nick Sibilla, not only is the Biden administration calling for the Fourth Amendment to be gutted, nine attorneys generals from mostly “red states” are also clambering for warrantless entries to conduct searches and seizures of firearms from private homes, all under the guise of “community caretaking.”
Specific the nine state AGs are from the following;
- South Carolina
With that aside, this entire tragic opera started with a spat between a Rhode Island husband and wife over a coffee cup.
Edward Caniglia teased his wife of 22-years, Kim, that he had no intention of using a coffee cup that his brother-in-law (presumably Kim’s brother) had recently drunk from.
Edward’s rationale was that he feared he “might catch a case of dishonesty.” Sadly, Kim didn’t quite see the humor in her hubby’s dig. Things deteriorated rather quickly as the couple got into an hour-long screaming match.
Eventually, Mr. Caniglia had enough. After retrieving an unloaded pistol for the bedroom, Edward placed the weapon on the kitchen table in from of his wife, asking her “Why don’t you just shoot me and get me out of my misery?”
I know, I know… having at least some Italian blood flowing through my veins, I realize that it goes against type for my good goombas to rant and rave at jet engine volume as well as resorting to over-the-top dramatics to end an argument. Shocking, huh?
With that said, Eddie decided to take a break and go for a drive to cool off. Kim left the house to spend the night at a motel. One thing led to another… yadda, yadda, yadda… the Cranston (RI) Police Department got involved.
The cops did a “wellness check” on Edward per Kim’s request, and determined that he “seemed normal,” “was calm for the most part,” and even said “he would never commit suicide.”
Nonetheless, the officers convinced Edward to head on over to a local hospital for a psych evaluation.
Here’s where things get really weird. As Forbs’ Sibilla noted (emphasis mine);
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.
Critically, when police seized the guns, they didn’t claim it was an emergency or to prevent imminent danger. Instead, the officers argued their actions were a form of “community caretaking,” a narrow exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.
First created by the Supreme Court nearly 50 years ago, the community caretaking exception was designed for cases involving impounded cars and highway safety, on the grounds that police are often called to car accidents to remove nuisances like inoperable vehicles on public roads.
Both a district and appellate court upheld the seizures as “reasonable” under the community caretaking exception. In deciding Caniglia’s case, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals acknowledged that “the doctrine’s reach outside the motor vehicle context is ill-defined.” Nevertheless, the court decided to extend that doctrine to cover private homes, ruling that the officers “did not exceed the proper province of their community caretaking responsibilities.”
Siding with law enforcement, the First Circuit noted that a police officer “must act as a master of all emergencies, who is ‘expected to…provide an infinite variety of services to preserve and protect community safety.’” By letting police operate without a warrant, the community caretaking exception is “designed to give police elbow room to take appropriate action,” the court added.