Why no-knock warrants are a Second Amendment issue

Why no-knock warrants are a Second Amendment issue
AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa

No-knock warrants are basically a tool police use to catch criminals by surprise. That can be useful if you’re trying to bust in and stop them from destroying evidence or hurting innocent people.

It’s a tool that law enforcement has used for years. It’s also one that needs to come to an abrupt end, and the Second Amendment community needs to push for it.

There are just two examples I need to provide to illustrate why the practice needs to either end or become very heavily restricted.

The first is Breonna Taylor.

Taylor was killed in the crossfire as her boyfriend engaged in a gunfight with police. Now, that sounds bad, like the boyfriend was up to something. The problem was, he wasn’t.

All he did was respond to someone busting down his door in the middle of the night. He grabbed a rifle and started shooting. Police shot back and Breonna Taylor lost her life.

For many, it was the first time they learned about the issue with no-knock warrants, but it wasn’t to be the last.

Enter Amir Locke.

Locke was asleep when the police executed a no-knock warrant raid.

Unaware that it was the police, Locke reached for his firearm. Police shot and killed him.

These two cases received a lot of attention, in part because the victims were black, but also because they were innocent.

Neither were guilty of any crime, yet both were killed as a result of no-knock warrants being executed simply because someone exercised their Second Amendment right to protect their home.

In the Heller decision, the Supreme Court explicitly ruled that you have a right to defend yourself inside your home. That’s not a matter in dispute in any meaningful way anymore.

So, Locke and Taylor’s boyfriend were trying to do precisely that, and people died.

Can I blame law enforcement? Probably, but I won’t. If someone is shooting at you, whether you wear a badge or not, it’s understandable that you would shoot back. If someone is reaching for a gun, I understand why police would fire.

Yes, even if they identify themselves as police, because criminals do that sort of thing too.

What criminals are far less likely to do is knock on the door and loudly identify themselves as police executing a search warrant, drawing attention from people’s neighbors before entering the home.

As a result, half-asleep gun owners responding to a crash in the middle of the night are more likely to comply with orders to keep their hands away from their firearms. It’ll result in fewer cases like Breonna Taylor or Amir Locke.

I get the police have a tough job to do. I get it better than most.

However, I can’t help but wonder how much tougher that job is knowing you shot and killed someone for doing the exact same thing you would have done in their place.

Amir Locke reached for his gun during what had to seem like a home invasion. Which of you wouldn’t do the same? Don’t try to tell me you’d wait to make sure it’s not the police before you grabbed your weapon. You can try, but there’s no way in hell I’ll believe you.

Yet it’s not just average citizens who would benefit from an end to no-knock warrants. Officers have been killed executing such raids with residents claiming they were unaware it was the police. Yes, including while executing warrants for the wrong homes.

So yeah, it’s also an officer safety issue.

For me, though, it’s a Second Amendment issue through and through.

If someone busts down my door in the middle of the night, I’m not asking questions. Since I’m not a criminal, I have to assume it’s someone with hostile intent and I’m going to do what I must to protect my family. No-knock warrants, though, mean that this may well result in my death.

The same applies to anyone else who owns a gun, so it’s time we all step up and call for an end to this practice.