It’s unusual for the entire Supreme Court to side with conservatives on any issue. However, the court unanimously upheld the rights of a gun owner in a surprising 9-0 decision Monday.
The Supreme Court terminated a major gun rights infringement by ruling in favor of a man whose Fourth Amendment rights were violated when law enforcement seized his weapon without a warrant, Breitbart reported. “The Fourth Amendment protects ‘[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,’” the high court’s opinion stated.
The petitioner had voluntarily gone to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation on the condition that he would be able to keep his weapons. “Guided by petitioner’s wife — whom they allegedly misinformed about his wishes — respondents entered the home and took two handguns,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote on behalf of the court.
His rationale hinged on the petitioner’s claim that his weapons were unlawfully taken ostensibly to protect him from harming himself. According to Thomas, the petitioner “denied that he was suicidal” but his weapons were nonetheless taken because the respondents decided the “petitioner posed a risk to himself or others.”
The man initially sued and a lower court upheld the right of law enforcement to take his weapons on the grounds of a “community caretaking exception” to the requirement for law enforcement to obtain warrant. He appealed to the high court to hear the case that would indirectly address the Second Amendment, though the main issue was the Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
“The ‘very core’ of this guarantee is ‘the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion,’” the opinion stated. “To be sure, the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit all unwelcome intrusions ‘on private property’ — only ‘unreasonable’ ones.”
Thomas especially took issue with the overreach of the community caretaking exception that he said “goes beyond anything this Court has recognized.” Justice Samuel Alito echoed that sentiment in his own opinion. “I entirely agree — that there is no special Fourth Amendment rule for a broad category of cases involving ‘community caretaking,’” he wrote.
This was a victory for conservatives who treasure the Second Amendment as well as for the leftists who fear police overreach. Sometimes the priorities of the two sides intersect and this was a case that became a victory all around — especially for the American people.