More insanity in Philadelphia

Yesterday, I wrote about the ideas in Philadelphia on how to combat the violence there. Most of these ideas, predictably, focused on trying to disarm the people of Philadelphia, criminal or not. I pointed out that one genius was even quoted advocating a “stop and frisk” policy, whereby police would not even be required to have a probable cause to search people for weapons. Lovely, using the Constitution like Charmin, all in the name of “public safety.”

Today, David Codrea’s superb War on Guns alerts us to yet another “solution” to the problem of violence in Philadelphia. The idea here is that, apparently, it’s too much trouble to obtain a search warrant everytime the police want to check a house for illegal weapons, because, as Philadelphia District Attorney Lynn Abraham says,

“Any gun that we can find that way is one more gun we can get off the street.”

Actually, Lynn, it would seem that the weapon you’re taking would not be coming “off the street,” but out of a house. How do they plan to get around that awkward technicality of not having a search warrant (that damned Constitution, with its Fourth Amenmdent rights, inconveniently rearing up its ugly head again)? Simple–they’ll just ask the homeowner to waive the right to refuse a warrantless search.

Now, some might ask what good this would do–if someone had an illegal gun in the house, why would he or she consent to having the house searched for it? That’s a good question, but perhaps an even better question would be “what happens when the homeowner refuses?” Does this, perhaps, constitute probable cause, thus facilitating getting the warrant they couldn’t get in the first place? If that’s the case, Philadelphia police would now have an excuse (and a means) to perform fishing expeditions–searching any house they want, on the excuse of “looking for illegal guns.”

This program would seem to be worthless at best, and an end run around civil liberties at worst.

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