Supreme Court Blocks Warrantless Entry for ‘Caretaking’ Gun Searches


The U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously Monday that law enforcement cannot legally enter homes without a warrant. The decision strikes down Biden administration suggestions police use warrantless entry, benefitting the public interest. But the Supreme Court said no to the “community caretaking” exception.

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Police Warrantless Entry

The case, Caniglia v. Strom actually centered on the violation of two different amendments. It questioned whether police acted within the law when entering a man’s home and removing his firearms, all without a warrant, reported Forbes. Officials alleged the man suicidal, and they took him to a hospital for evaluation.

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But many 2A advocates saw the clear and present danger of such actions. Without a warrant, police violated the man’s 4th Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure. Of course the 2nd Amendment protects seizing of a citizen’s firearms. The community caretaking exception commonly applies to citizens in vehicles.

“What is reasonable for vehicles is different from what is reasonable for homes,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his opinion, reported Forbes. He further explained “community caretaking” is not “a standalone doctrine that justifies warrantless searches and seizures in the home.”

Obviously, this case caught the eye of gun owners everywhere. But the American Civil Liberties Union, Cato Institute, and American Conservative Union Foundation all voiced objections, according to Forbes. The ACUF wrote it would “give police free rein to enter the home without probable cause or a warrant.”

Justice Samuel Alito noted the ruling doesn’t prevent police from taking action during an emergency situation. So-called “exigent circumstances” potentially still justify entering without a warrant. It would leave those scenarios open to interpretation by future courts, reported Forbes. The court also failed to point out how the decision works with standing red flag laws. Many 2A advocates already point out that red flag laws circumvent due process.

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