Texas Citizen John Gerald Quinn’s home was raided by police who obtained a legal warrant for searching his house because they believed his son was involved with illegal drugs. However, while they obtained the warrant legally, it was the execution of that warrant that has police in trouble. They executed a “no-knock” raid based solely on the suspicion that there was a gun in the home. That has not been historically held by the United States Supreme Court to be a reason for engaging in a no-knock raid and as a result Mr. Quinn has issued an appeal.
According to WND, the “controversy arose after police officers in Texas executed a no-knock raid on Quinn’s home, based on their belief there was an AK-47 rifle inside.”
Quinn’s home was stormed by a SWAT team that failed to knock and announce its entry in keeping with police protocol for non-violent situations.
The raid resulted in finding less than one gram of cocaine, which Quinn was charged with possessing. While a lower court rejected Quinn’s objection to the ‘no-knock’ entry on the ground that the police had information that guns were present at the residence, that doesn’t seem justified in light of the Supreme Court’s rulings in the past on the matter.
The Rutherford Institute, which is representing Mr. Quinn, pointed out that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a no-knock entry is justified only with a specific warrant or if officers believe someone might be hurt or evidence might be lost.
“Here, the police based their no-knock entry solely upon their suspicion that the occupants of the residence may have been in possession of a rifle,” reads the appeal in the case of Quinn v. State of Texas. “That the suspected possession of weapons was the only ‘justification’ for use of a no-knock entry in this case is undisputed.”
“Whatever the issue might be, whether it’s mass surveillance, no-knock raids, or the right to freely express one’s views about the government, we’ve moved into a new age in which the rights of the citizenry are being treated as a secondary concern by the White House, Congress, the courts, and their vast holding of employees, including law enforcement officials,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. “The disconnect, of course, is that the Constitution establishes a far different scenario in which government officials, including the police, are accountable to ‘we the people.’ For it to be otherwise, for government concerns to trump individual freedoms, with government officials routinely sidestepping the Constitution and reinterpreting the law to their own purposes, makes a mockery of everything this nation is supposed to stand for—self-government, justice, and the rule of law.”
Rutherford Institute attorneys argue 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 Rutherford Institute also points out that “Although established Fourth Amendment jurisprudence dictates that police officers entering a dwelling must knock on the door and announce their identity and purpose before attempting a forcible entry, police may disregard the knock and announce rule under circumstances presenting a threat of physical violence or a danger that evidence will be destroyed.”
They also blasted the earlier court comments about the Ak-47.
“The Court of Appeals seems to think than an ‘AK-47′ rifle is some sort of ‘exceptionally’ dangerous weapon. Actually, despite the faux mystique surrounding that particular type of rifle fostered by popular media, the AK-47 is not uniquely dangerous,” a footnote in the brief states. “It is the most-used rifle in the world because there are 100 million of them, it is cheap to make and easy to repair, and because it can be chambered for a wide variety of calibers.
“As a gun collector who prudently kept his legally-owned collection safely secured in gun vaults, it was altogether possible that Mr. Quinn could have had a large number of guns in his home and no ammunition,” the footnote continues. “The point here is not to argue that “possession” of guns does not roughly or usually equate to possession of “working” guns. The point is: an AK-47 is no more powerful – and is indeed less powerful – than many common hunting rifles that can be chambered up to .460 Weatherby Magnum – a weapon many times more powerful than a .223 rifle. Even a .357 magnum handgun, one of the most popular calibers, is more powerful than a .223 rifle.”
The appeal footnote then rightly points out the issue, “The police, being weapons experts, obviously knew this – but testified about the “dangerous” nature of this particular gun because they knew the jury would have heard of it in the media and would know about its mystique as the weapon of choice for terrorists around the world. Clever, but misleading.”
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.