Saturday, December 28, 2013

Does Exercising the Second Amendment Invalidate the Fourth Amendment?

The Rutherford Institute is petitioning the Supreme Court to hear the case of Quinn v. State of Texas, a case where the lower courts have held that the exercise of the second amendment is cause to invalidate the protection of the fourth amendment.   From the Rutherford Institute:

 WASHINGTON, DC — Warning against encroachments on the Second Amendment right to bear arms, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of a Texas man whose home was subject to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household. Although police had obtained a search warrant for John Quinn’s home based on information that Quinn’s son might possess drugs, the warrant did not authorize police to enter the residence without knocking and announcing their entry. During the raid, Quinn was shot by police because he had reached for his lawfully owned firearm, thinking that his home was being invaded by criminals. In asking the Supreme Court to hear the case of Quinn v. State of Texas, Institute attorneys argue that making lawful gun ownership and possession grounds for police to evade the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment improperly penalizes and limits the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The Supreme Court hears only a small number of cases each year.   Much as I would like to see this case settled by the Supreme Court, the odds make it unlikely that the Supreme Court will hear it.    This  is an important case because of the precedent established.   About half of U.S. households have firearms in them.   If your home can be violently invaded because police have information to believe that you have a firearm in it, then about half the homes in the United States qualify, once any cause for a warrant has been issued.   If a random sampling of homes would show that one of two homes contain a firearm, and if a firearm is sufficient cause to do a violent home invasion as part of the service of a warrant (no knock warrant), then why would a risk adverse police administration risk "officer safety" half the time?   The logic would suggest that every warrant service should be a violent home invasion.

Combine this with registration lists, which anti-rights advocates claim will be used to "protect police officers".    Advocates of the recently abandoned Canadian gun registry claimed that a major use of the registry was to check to see if homes, to be visited by police, held firearms.   Further debate shows that this was not the case, but that does not mean that a registry would not be used that way.  Registration lists are already being used to confiscate firearms in California.

If the police have a list showing that there is a gun in the home, and the presence of a gun in the home is sufficient to justify a "no knock warrant", then being on a gun registration list makes you a potential target  of such a raid.  Given events of the last year in New York, Maryland, and Colorado,  it is easy to believe that you, or a gun you own, could be legislated into a group of either "people  banned from having guns" or "guns that people are not allowed to have".

This adds a twist to the fact that gun registration is gun confiscation, even if it is in slow motion over time.   With the precedent set by this case, gun registration presents a risk of violent home invasion by police.   Second amendment defenders have been saying this for some time, as have some of the more candid opponents of second amendment  freedoms.

Many will note that this is an incremental step on the slide that we are on, degrading all the protections in the Bill of Rights.

©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch 

Update: From Chief McNamara in California:

 “My research into more than a dozen raids that turned out badly is that … the presence of a firearm wires officers into a much higher tendency to shoot,” said Joseph McNamara, the former San Jose police chief and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. “(T)he presence of a legally possessed firearm bought to protect the home may get totally innocent people killed by the police who casually use SWAT for drug search warrants especially if they register.”

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