According to BPD News, between January 1, 2014 and February 16, 2014, the Boston Police have made 52 firearm related arrests. The number of arrests are comparable to the 50 firearm related arrests made in 2013.
News reports are occurring on a regular basis informing the public every time an illegal firearm arrest is made. BPD News has released press releases titled “One Less Gun…” The Boston Herald titled a recent article “Cops take more illegal guns off the streets.” (Boston Herald, February 18, 2014).
Few would argue that illegal guns are a big problem in Boston as well as other urban areas in Massachusetts. The seemingly increased publication of illegal firearm arrests may be due to several headline-grabbing crimes where guns have been used. In early February 2014, a 9-year old boy was allegedly accidentally shot by his 14-year old brother.
While police appear to be having success seizing illegal guns, is their success occurring at the expense of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment Rights? A person’s Constitutional Right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures is fundamental. Constitutional Rights are in effect in good times and bad. Constitutional standards are not relaxed because a city has trouble controlling illegal guns. A search must be valid at the time it is made. A search is not made valid by what it turns up. Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160 (1949). Massachusetts residents enjoy increased protections under Article XIV of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.
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