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On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a decision holding that police may not seize guns from a person’s home without a valid warrant or proof that there is an emergency. Justice Clarence Thomas’s decision is a masterpiece of clarity and brevity, as well as a much-deserved scolding to a careless and cavalier First Circuit court. In addition, the legal principle was so obvious that the Court reached its decision unanimously. Monday was a good day for constitutional principles and the rule of law in America. The facts of Caniglia v. Strom are simple: During a fight with his wife, Edward Caniglia grabbed his handgun, put it on the table, and said, “Shoot me now and get it over with.” Instead, his wife headed for a hotel. The next day, when she couldn’t reach him, she called the police for a wellness check. When the police met up with Caniglia, he willingly went for a psychiatric evaluation on the condition that the police wouldn’t take his gun. The moment he was in the ambulance, using a ruse the police got Caniglia’s wife to show them the gun, which they seized. Caniglia sued, claiming the police violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.

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