22 Mar 2022


The Right to Privacy & to Carry a Firearm

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Academic level: College

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The issue in this matter regards a criminal indictment of one Mr. Blake, on the charge of possession of controlled substances. The controlled substances, marijuana and suspected cocaine, were recovered from the premises of one Mr. and Mrs. Smith on the Sunday, February 6, 2011. Police on alert from the neighbors swooped into the home to check on alleged noises coming from the Smiths’ basement and stumbled upon the accused and his friends smoking the prohibited substances. Upon realization that they were being watched, the accused and his friends hid the substances under the couch seats, upon which the police proceeded to conduct a pat-down search of the house and recovered the drugs and guns. The issue here is whether the search amounted to an infringement of the Fourth Amendment and whether the evidence so procured is admissible in court. 


The Fourth Amendment establishes the constitutional threshold for the protection of an individual’s right to privacy and the freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures (Moore, 2010). Under this rule, law enforcers are required to obtain a warrant before searching a person’s house or car. People in their homes, at business establishments, places of work, or on an overnight stay are accorded some privacy under the amendment. In the absence of a search warrant, any admittance into a person’s premises will be deemed forceful and unlawful. Evidence confiscated thereof and any post-indictment incriminatory statements are inadmissible at law. 

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An unlawful search or seizure was analyzed in the case of Minnesota v. Melvin Johns as a search by the law enforcement officer that is not sanctioned by a warrant. Peeping from the window amounts to a search under the circumstances (Moore, 2010). In addition, the precedent outlines the persons who can claim protection under the law, and these include those staying overnight, visitors, home and property owners, but excludes social guests to a business premise. Evidence obtained from an unlawful search or seizure is treated as illegally obtained evidence. Accordingly, in the case of Mapp v. Ohio, the court reiterated that illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible in court. 

On the other hand, the Second Amendment safeguards the citizens’ right to own firearms for self-defense. Any law purporting to extinguish this right is unconstitutional ab initio. However, federal states may enact laws governing one’s conduct with the firearms or the class of arms one can hold. It has been held in DC v. Heller that one’s right to own a gun is constitutionally protected and that no state can deny one this right. However, gun owners must be registered and licensed and must ascribe to proper conduct. Felons and mentally ill persons are not permitted to own guns. 


The case of Blake does not meet the constitutional thresholds set out in the Second and Fourth Amendments. First, Blake was a social guest at the business owned by the Smiths, hence cannot claim a legitimate expectation of privacy at a social gathering as was held in the case of Minnesota v. Melvin Johns. In the absence of a right to privacy, Blake cannot counter the supposed search by the officer. In appreciation of the fact that the evidence gathered against Blake was not coerced, forced, or in any other way illegally obtained, it is admissible at law (Moore, 2010). Third, on the issue of possession of a firearm, the Second Amendment permits it as long as one is registered and has a license. The fact pattern does not explain whether or not Blake was licensed or not, and it would be erroneous to infer that the act of concealing it pointed to his guilty.

Blake will be tried for possession of prohibited substance (marijuana and cocaine) but not on the possession of a firearm.


The Second and Fourth Amendments protect the right to own firearms and the right to privacy respectively. Law enforcers are not expected to contravene these constitutional provisions in the quest for justice. In Blake’s case, staying at a social venue does not warrant one the protection of the Fourth Amendment hence the search was lawful. No evidence has been given as to whether or not he was a licensed firearm holder. It is likely that he will be convicted of possession of prohibited substances recovered during the search but acquitted on the charge of possession of a firearm.


Moore, A. (2010). Privacy rights: moral and legal foundations. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). The Right to Privacy & to Carry a Firearm.


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