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SCOTUS Rules in Favor of RI Man Whose Guns Were Illegally Taken By Police Without Warrant

Supreme Court

In a rare 9-0 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a man who sued the city of Cranston, Rhode Island “after police officers located and took his guns while he was in the hospital for a mental health wellness check” reports the Daily Caller. The Supreme Court ruled the Rhode Island police officer acted illegally when the guns were seized without a warrant.

Edward Caniglia said the seizure of his firearms violated the Fourth Amendment, and although two federal courts ruled against him, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. In the opinion of the court, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote “The very core of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee is the right of a person to retreat into his or her home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.”

The police department argued they were in the right to seize Caniglia’s guns because of the “community caretaking exception” to the Fourth Amendment. The two courts ruled in their favor relying on a provision of the law that allows police to seize guns from drivers while on the road.

However, “what is reasonable for vehicles is different from what is reasonable for homes,” Justice Thomas wrote. Many gun owners in the United States have feared new red flag laws will lead to similar instances of illegal intrusions and confiscations.

Justice Samuel Alito, in a concurring opinion, addressed those very concerns: “provisions of red flag laws may be challenged under the Fourth Amendment, and those cases may come before us. Our decision today does not address those issues.”