The administration of Democrat President Joe Biden pressed the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold and sanction a warrantless confiscation of a gun this past week when the court heard the oral arguments in Caniglia v. Strom.
The case all began after Edward Caniglia, aged 68, got into an argument with his wife, Kim, back in 2015 that wound up ending with the police seizing Caniglia’s firearms. After the fight, Kim left and went to stay at a hotel where she later contacted law enforcement. She stated that she believed her husband might hurt himself. Edward had no history of self-harm, nor did he have a criminal record.
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.
In the case, Police never claimed that their actions taken were as a response to any emergency or to prevent imminent danger, but instead argued that the actions were a form of “community caretaking.”
Forbes also stated that the Biden administration pressed the Supreme Court to take the side of the police by saying “the ultimate touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is ‘reasonableness,’” and that official court 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.”
This mindset that the government should not need a warrant to enter your residence and take your belonging is a very scary look into the mindset of the Biden administration. Even left-leaning Justice Sonia Sotomayor took issue with the situation by stating, “there was no immediate danger to the person threatening suicide and no immediate danger to the wife because the suicide person [sic] was removed to a hospital.”
Sotomayor went on to say that she did not see a problem with the man being made to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, but made light that the issue was the police “going into the home without attempt to secure consent from the wife and seizing the gun and then keeping it indefinitely until a lawsuit is filed.”
“The wife tried to get it back. He tried to get it back. Weeks and weeks went by,” Sotomayor continued. “When we permit police to search and seize without some standard, we run the risk of situations like this one repeating themselves.”
Another Justice, Neil Gorsuch, reacted very negatively to the idea that the government officials could just secure “administrative” warrants as a way to bypass the court and other checks and balances.
“If the government can just get an administrative warrant to come in to test for illness, to check the temperature of the house, whether it’s too hot, too cold … what’s left of the Fourth Amendment?” -Justice Neil Gorsuch