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Thomas Gallatin / December 6, 2016

DC Violated a Vet’s Fourth Amendment Rights

And the DC Circuit Court upheld his right to sue.

When a culture of hostility is created against Second Amendment rights, other constitutional rights will suffer as well. This was on clear display before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, as it ruled against the District of Columbia for violating the Fourth Amendment rights of an Iraq War veteran, 1st Sgt. Matthew Corrigan.

In 2010, Corrigan, who suffered from PTSD, intended to call a veterans counseling number but inadvertently dialed a national suicide hotline. When the hotline volunteer questioned him and learned that he had guns in his apartment, the volunteer further inquired if Corrigan intended to hurt himself or anyone else. Corrigan responded, “no,” hung up and went to bed. The hotline volunteer then informed the DC Metropolitan Police department of the call. A SWAT team was dispatched to the apartment. Corrigan was awoken and ordered to come out; he complied, but locked the door behind him to keep his dog inside and the police out. Police then demanded to go inside, which Corrigan refused. So the police broke down Corrigan’s door and performed a search, finding no dangerous or illegal items in plain view. Five hours later the police raided Corrigan’s apartment a second time, ransacking it and leaving a mess. Nothing illegal was found.

After this whole fiasco, Corrigan sued the city of DC and certain police officers for breach of his Fourth Amendment rights. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that his rights were violated. DC’s toxic anti-gun culture — the subject of the landmark Heller decision — has created a climate so fearful of firearms that it justifies trampling over individual rights in the name of safety. A culture that values safety over freedom will produce only greater oppression and, ironically, less safety.

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