High-profile Democrats continue to push for stricter gun control measures ahead of possibly big wins for the GOP in next year’s midterm congressional elections.
In a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, however, justices ruled in favor of a Rhode Island man in his claim that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when authorities entered his home and confiscated his firearms without a proper warrant after he was admitted to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
“Secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects”
The nation’s highest court handed gun owners their latest constitutional victory in an opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas.
He explained that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution enshrines the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
The case dates back to 2015 when police responded to the home of Edward Caniglia one day after he reportedly had a serious argument with his wife.
Officers conducted a wellness check on him after relatives reported that they could not reach him and feared he was suicidal.
After questioning the man, police reportedly promised that they would not seize his firearms and convinced him to visit a local hospital for an evaluation.
“I feel terrific”
Nevertheless, officers reportedly seized guns and ammunition anyway, causing Caniglia, who was released from the hospital later the same day, to take legal action in order to have his property returned. He went on to argue that officers violated his constitutional rights.
Two federal courts would subsequently rule against Caniglia, citing a provision of existing law that allows police to seize firearms from vehicles. Supreme Court justices found that the legal precedent did not apply in this case, as Thomas wrote in his opinion.
“What is reasonable for vehicles is different from what is reasonable for homes,” the justice wrote.
As Breitbart reported, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit defended the police officers’ actions under what is known as a “community caretaking exception,” but Thomas and the rest of the high court disagreed.
Caniglia expressed relief that the “miscarriage of justice” had been addressed, adding: “I feel terrific. I was right.”