In a move that has pro-gun rights advocates up in arms, a Wisconsin police department has asked its residents to allow them to voluntarily search their homes for weapons.
Police in Beloit claim they are launching a new effort to reduce gun violence in which they’re asking city residents to volunteer to have police search their homes for guns.
Police Chief Norm Jacobs said he doesn’t expect the phone to be ringing off the hook with requests for police to search their homes. He nevertheless hopes the program will encourage people to think about gun violence as an infectious disease “like Ebola, and a home inspection like a vaccine” to help build up the city’s immune system.
“Gun violence is as serious as the Ebola virus is being represented in the media, and we should fight it using the tools that we’ve learned from our health providers.”
Whether one follows that logic or not, many Citizens Defense Leagues, or organizations about the protection of the US second amendment rights have expressed their unrest with the idea, as well as concern over Fourth amendment rights. They have been posting on Facebook and Twitter their outrage over the request and the Police Chief’s comments.
Art Thomm, Vice President and Lobbyist for West Virginia Citizens’ Defense League, was astounded at Jacobs’ suggestion and offered his thoughts to the city of Beloit.
“This is a clear and direct attempt to violate these residents’ fourth amendment rights. Nothing good can come from having a government representative come on your property and let them have an open invitation to look around at your personal belongings. Lawful firearms owners know what they have. They know the guns are legal. The only thing this will do is make certain that they have you clearly written down as owning a firearm. The people of Beloit should be outraged at the idea!”
Police Chief Jacobs said he hopes some searches will result in the discovery of guns they didn’t know were in their own homes. He said that there’s also a chance they’ll find guns linked to crimes.
“That’s really what we’re looking for. Maybe we’ll find a toy gun that’s been altered by a youngster in the house — and we know the tragedies that can occur there on occasion.”
What do you think about this issue? Would you allow Police to search your home for guns? Are you concerned there might be guns in your home that you didn’t know you have?