Supreme Court Hands Gun Owners A Big Win

May 17, 2021

Today the Supreme Court handed gun owners a big win in a case that was supported by California Rifle & Pistol Association, through amicus brief, regarding prohibition of expansion of warrantless searches. Caniglia v. Strom is a case that addressed rarely used “community caretaking exception” to a search warrant which a lower court upheld. The lower court citing that “police officers often have noncriminal reasons to interact with mo­torists on “public highways,” 413 U. S., at 441, the First Cir­cuit extrapolated a freestanding community-caretaking ex­ception that applies to both cars and homes. 953 F. 3d, at 124 (“Threats to individual and community safety are not confined to the highways”).” Basically, the First Circuit tried to make a connection between the more liberal search parameters that may be used for vehicle searches to those that may be used in searches of a private home. If this lower court ruling were allowed to stand, the expansion of government intrusion into the homes of citizens without a warrant would be devastating.

The Fourth Amendment protects “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Fourth Amendment does not prohibit all searches and seizures, just those that are unreasonable. The Supreme Court found in Caniglia that entering the home of an individual without the probable cause found in a search warrant was unreasonable. The Court found that “[t]he First Circuit’s “community caretaking” rule, how­ever, goes beyond anything this Court has recognized.”

CRPA President and General Counsel Chuck Michel commented that “this is a great decision in the protection of civil liberties for all citizens. When the government looks to expand its reach into areas that are clearly unconstitutionally expanding its purview, we must fight back against that expansion. This is exactly why CRPA felt it was so important to be involved in this case.”

CRPA supports many cases just like this one across the country because it is important to protect the rights of the citizens against over-reach from government. If you would like to help in supporting ongoing cases like these please consider giving to build the CRPA Litigation War Chest by click here

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