The Second Amendment is absolutely crucial for gun rights and American freedom, but so is the Fourth Amendment. Many people don’t realize their rights under the Fourth, which is why I want to write this refresher.
The Fourth Amendment gives you the right not to be subject to “unreasonable” searches by government or authorities. This has a lot of relevance to your right to carry weapons legally without being searched or harassed.
The case of Soukaneh v. Andrzejewski from 2018 provides a strong legal precedent for your rights under the Fourth.
Soukaneh v. Andrzejewski
Basel Soukaneh was driving through Connecticut when he pulled over to check his phone in a bad neighborhood of the city of Waterbury.
A nearby police officer by the name of David Andrzejewski came over to him to ask what he was doing. Soukaneh informed the officer that he was a legal gun owner and showed him his permit.
Andrzejewski responded by getting Soukaneh to step out of the vehicle and frisking and cuffing him. The officer meticulously looked through the car, taking away $320 in money that he found and a USB stick.
Soukaneh was outraged, and sued Andrzejewski for his actions, saying he’d infringed on his Fourth Amendment rights to not be unreasonably searched.
In the case, Andrzejewski said he did go a bit above the normal procedure but it was “justified” because he couldn’t be sure that Soukaneh’s permit was legitimate.
"Any contrary holding 'would eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed individuals' by presuming a license expressly permitting possession of a firearm was invalid." https://t.co/HSPuT7PbY9
— 𝙵𝚒𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚛𝚖𝚜 𝙿𝚘𝚕𝚒𝚌𝚢 𝙲𝚘𝚊𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗 (@gunpolicy) August 9, 2021
The Judge’s Ruling
As the judge ruled, the officer had no real legal reason to search Soukaneh based on an unfounded belief that his permit was fake.
As the judge Eugene Volokh noted, any “reasonable” officer would have understood he had no right to cross the line into a full vehicle search, cuffing and confiscation of found items.
In other words, the officer’s own faulty judgment does not excuse trampling of the Fourth Amendment. The arrest was deemed unlawful and the lawsuit proceeded.
Your Fourth Amendment rights not to be searched or detained without a good reason are real. You have the right to legally carry a firearm with the correct permit.
The ATF rule "appears to be a deliberate attempt to usurp the authority of Congress. In so doing, ATF has also unconstitutionally infringed on American citizens' fundamental Second Amendment rights and privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment." https://t.co/CRrjJQcHGi
— Ted Joy (@TedJoy71) August 10, 2021
Why This Matters
The Fourth Amendment matters because your liberties and rights matter. Organizations like the ATF and the current ruling regime would love nothing more than to lie and mislead you about your rights; they want slowly erode away your fundamental freedom to keep and bear arms.
Understanding the Fourth Amendment and how it protects you is crucial to protecting American liberty and your own ability to protect yourself and exercise your gun rights.
Reading the full case of Soukaneh v. Andrzejewski is highly recommended. It provides a lot of useful insight about the limits on power that authorities have when it comes to searching or detaining you over suspicions on firearms.