In a highly-controversial move, residents of Beloit, Wisc., are being asked to open their doors to local police to allow them to search the homes for weapons in an effort the police chief hopes will make people think differently about guns.
Wisconsin Public Radio reported:
Police Chief Norm Jacobs said he doesn’t expect the phone to be ringing off the hook with requests for police to search their homes. He nevertheless hopes the program will encourage people to think about gun violence as an infectious disease like Ebola, and a home inspection like a vaccine to help build up the city’s immune system.
“Gun violence is as serious as the Ebola virus is being represented in the media, and we should fight it using the tools that we’ve learned from our health providers,” he said.
He claimed that some residents may have guns in their homes without their even knowing it.
“That’s really what we’re looking for. Maybe we’ll find a toy gun that’s been altered by a youngster in the house — and we know the tragedies that can occur there on occasion,” he told WPR, which reported:
There have been seven gun homicides in Beloit this year. Four of the victims were teenagers or young men in their 20s — like Melisha Holloway’s 20-year-old son Raymond, who was killed in April. Holloway said too many young men have given up on school.
“Pretty much all those kids and young men just need to be is educated,” said Holloway. “You have a lot of them that barely read at a fifth-grade level yet they’re 25 year-old-men. But they know how to work a gun. There’s something wrong with that picture.”
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution assures that Americans may be secure within the privacy of their homes by prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures. The courts have consistently held that warrantless searches are per se unreasonable.
There are, however, several exceptions to this general rule, including searches conducted with the consent of the owner.
Then there’s the Second Amendment issue. Assuming the resident agrees to a consent search, and assuming the police run across a firearm during the course of that search, one has to ask, “so what?” There’s nothing illegal about a law-abiding citizen owning a firearm.