CRPA Joins New Second Amendment Law Center and Gun Owners of California in Brief Before the U.S. Supreme Court

January 19, 2021

The United States Supreme Court will soon hear oral arguments in the case of Caniglia v. Strom, a lawsuit challenging the seizure of firearms by the Cranston, Rhode Island, police department from a law-abiding citizen under the seldom-used Fourth Amendment “community caretaking” exception. That exception to the requirement that police obtain a warrant before seizing property is normally reserved for the seizure of unattended property at the scene of a car or other type of accident. Under those circumstances if left unchecked items such as a firearm might pose a risk of being stolen or mis-handled by unauthorized persons.

The City of Cranston is arguing that this historically very limited exception should also apply to a person’s own home. But allowing this would create a loophole to the Fourth Amendment “wide enough to drive a truck through.”

CRPA, joining the newly formed Second Amendment Law Center and Gun Owners of California (GOC), has filed an amicus brief on behalf of their members and supporters to preserve the warrant requirement and bar illegal and unjustified firearms seizures under the community caretaking exception.

CRPA’s brief presents three main arguments. First, the application of warrantless “community caretaking” seizures plainly implicates Second and Fourth Amendment Rights. Second, the text, history, and tradition of the Fourth Amendment precludes the vast expansion of the “community caretaking” exception as the City is now attempting to do. And Third, applying the “community caretaking” exception in a manner proposed by the police will result in the exception being used as a pretext to conduct warrantless searches for firearms in a person’s home. In fact, a similar “safekeeping” seizure policy that is used by many California police departments often result in such seizures of firearms under false pretexts.

Thanks in part to the tremendous efforts of President Donald Trump, newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barret will be joining other Justices of the Supreme Court in hearing the case. Be sure to subscribe to CRPA email alerts to stay up-to-date on this important litigation.

 CRPA’s amicus efforts such as this would not be possible without the support of its members and individual contributors. You can help with CRPA’s amicus and other litigation efforts by making a donation (which is tax deductible) to the CRPA Foundation’s Litigation Victory Fund.

About the New Second Amendment Law Center The CRPA and GOC are now working with the Second Amendment Law Center (“2ALC”) a relatively new national nonprofit corporation dedicated to promoting and defending the individual rights to keep and bear arms for hunting, sport, self-defense, and other lawful purposes envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Working with A-Team Second Amendment lawyers and experts from across the county, 2ALC will defend these rights in state and federal courts across United States. 2ALC also seeks to educate the public about the social utility of private firearms ownership and to provide accurate and truthful historical, criminological, and technical information about firearms to policy makers, judges, attorneys, police, and the public.

More information about the 2ALC is available through the CRPA.

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