Inch by inch, law by law, Constitutional protections are being trampled by local, state, and federal courts in favor of decisions that limit or eliminate the freedoms specifically protected by the US Constitution. In the case below, both the 2nd Amendment, protecting the right of Americans to “keep and bear arms”, and the 4th Amendment protecting Americans from “unreasonable searches and seizures”.
The local SWAT team (looking for drugs in this case) unilaterally changed a limited search warrant, which required them to knock and announce themselves before entering a private home, into a ‘no-knock’ search, that allowed them to break down the door and enter the premises without any prior warning. The fact that the sheriff’s office suspected that guns were in the home should not have been sufficient reason, since all the guns were legally owned. The homeowner, John Quinn, was covered by Constitutional protections against the action that ended in a home invasion by police. It could have ended tragically instead of just outrageously. Quinn was shot and wounded, but he could have been killed.
Not so lucky was US Marine Jose Guarena, 26, an Iraq war veteran, whose home was invaded by a Pima County (AZ) SWAT team in 2011 in a violent, “no-knock” drug- seeking search. Thinking it was a home invasion, Guarena picked up his legally owned rifle to protect his wife and baby, and was shot more than 60 times by the invading officers. The SWAT team then refused him potentially life-saving medical aid for at least an hour, by which time he had died. The Pima County Sheriff’s office originally said that Guarena had fired first, but had to retract their statement when it was ascertained that his gun still had the safety on and could not have been fired first (or at all).
Any American who legally owns a gun faces similar possibilities should they suddenly be confronted by a nighttime assault on their home by police in a ‘no-knock’ search. The first reaction of a person facing a home assault is to protect his family and his home. If he or she is a gun owner, the instinct will be to reach for a weapon in order to do so.
While some states have laws supporting the “castle doctrine” (permitting a homeowner to use force to protect his home and family), there is no law strong enough to protect a civilian against the violence represented by a police force ready to break down his door in the middle of the night and invade his home for any reason. The force of law must be there to protect both him and the police from the consequences of such an invasion.
Such violence, so frequently watched on television cop shows, should never happen when it is not absolutely warranted by proof on imminent danger to police and a specific search warrant that authorizes such extreme measures. The presence of legally owned firearms, as protected under the Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court, should never, in itself, constitute such permission to violate the Constitutional rights of an American. The Texas court is wrong. Its finding is unconstitutional and Americans will have lost two major Constitutional protections if it is upheld.
——– Ilana Freedman, Editor
January 3, 2014 by Doug Book
Commentary: Texas courts have ruled that because legally owned firearms represent “a threat of physical violence” to police, officers may ignore the 4th Amendment rights of Texas residents by treating ALL legally issued warrants as “No Knock” warrants, even if the issuing judge has made it clear that officers “…must knock on the door and announce their identity and purpose before attempting a forcible entry.”
In August of 2006, police in Collin County, Texas obtained a warrant to search the home of John Quinn, based on information that Quinn’s son might be keeping a controlled substance on the premises. Although the warrant “…did not authorize police to enter the residence without knocking and announcing their entry,” the County SWAT Team broke through Quinn’s door unannounced, “…based solely on the suspicion that there were firearms in the Quinn household.” Not aware of who had broken into his home, the suddenly awakened Quinn was shot by officers as he grabbed a nearby gun for the purpose of defending his life, family, and property. All firearms in the home were legally owned by Quinn. Police discovered less than 1 gm of cocaine on the premises.
When Quinn took the Collin County SWAT Team to court for ignoring the terms of the search warrant by turning it into a “No Knock” warrant, the court ruled that “…because police had information that guns were present at the residence, they were justified in making a forced and unannounced invasion into Quinn’s home.” In short, a judge decided John Quinn represented a criminal danger based upon the legal exercise of his 2nd amendment rights.
The Rutherford Institute has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the Quinn case, writing to the Court that:
“…in the absence of any evidence of actual danger to police, the legal possession of a firearm, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment, is not sufficient to justify allowing police to override the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unannounced “no-knock” home invasions when executing warrants.”
The Supreme Court has ruled on a number of occasions that law enforcement may NOT look upon the free exercise of constitutionally protected rights as an inference of guilt. For example, police may NOT presume that because an individual asserts his right to remain silent or speak with an attorney, he is deserving of additional suspicion of guilt.
Should Americans who exercise their God-given, constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms be refused the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures? The suggestion by law enforcement, courts, or lawmakers that the exercise of one constitutionally protected right should somehow render an American ineligible for the free exercise of–or protection guaranteed by–another right is despicable, disgraceful, and a thoroughly unconstitutional assault on each of us.
Law enforcement has been given the “legal” authority to view Texas gun owners as potential criminals and to treat them accordingly. Every armed Texan is therefore presumed guilty until proven innocent. Does this mean police may legally gun down the holder of a Concealed Carry license on site, based on the belief that being armed makes such a person likely to kill an officer?
Courts have dramatically weakened our 4th Amendment protections during the past several decades. If this trend is not reversed, open warfare will eventually become the only means of reclaiming lost liberty.
Read the original article here.