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.