Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Pennsylvania High Court Abandons Warrant Requirement for Automobile Searches

Friday, May 2, 2014

This past Tuesday, in a four to two decision, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania decided that police officers can search an automobile without a warrant as long as the officers have probable cause that they will find contraband or evidence of a crime.  A lengthy majority opinion compared state and federal protections against unreasonable searches.   

The case raised the issue of whether Pennsylvania's warrant requirement, contained in Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, provides more protection for automobile searches than the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  With the 1925 case of Carroll v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed the so-called “automobile exception” to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, and federal courts have since found increasing justifications for allowing warrantless searches of motor vehicles. The Carroll opinion, however, required the use of warrants when doing so remained practical.

The original justification for the “automobile exception” was in part due to the limitations of technology at the time Carroll was decided.  The Carroll court determined that the warrant requirement was inapplicable to automobiles because of the mobile nature of automobiles as opposed to fixed structures and the amount of time it would take to get a warrant in 1925.  Nevertheless, the “automobile exception”, as it is applied today in federal courts requires only that a police officer have probable cause that a search of the vehicle will result in discovery of evidence of a crime or contraband. 

While some might argue that the original justification for the “automobile exception” has been undermined by modern technology (such as computer terminals in police cruisers) that can reduce the time of the warrant application process, it nonetheless remains the law in most U.S. states, and, as of Tuesday, is now the law in Pennsylvania as well.

Two justices dissented from the opinion, noting that Pennsylvania’s constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure predated those of the U.S. Constitution.  According to the dissenting justices, the Pennsylvania provision “enshrined the requirement of specific warrants issued by a neutral judge as an integral part of our state constitutional framework and, correspondingly, established such warrants as the main protection of the substantial privacy interests of our citizenry in every place where they choose to keep their most private papers and possessions.” Considering the “singular and distinctive importance to Pennsylvania” of the warrant requirement and the historical events that led to its enactment, they would have maintained the greater protection offered by prior Pennsylvania case law.

Those traveling with firearms in motor vehicles should remain aware of both their responsibilities and their rights. While motorists should never interfere with or try to run from the police, they do not have to give their permission for searches of themselves or their vehicles nor, as a general matter, to answer questions beyond identifying themselves and producing license, registration, and insurance documents. Those carrying concealed firearms pursuant to a license in Pennsylvania must also produce that license upon lawful demand of a police officer.

TRENDING NOW

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Florida Alert: YETI Drops NRA Foundation

For years YETI Coolers have been a hot item for sportsmen at the Friends of NRA Foundation Banquet and Auction events around the country.  Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with The ...

News  

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ALERT ! YETI Adds Insult to Injury

If it wasn’t bad enough that YETI dropped The NRA Foundation as a client, now they’re calling us liars because we informed our members and friends of their actions.  

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

Dick’s Sporting Goods took their campaign to alienate law-abiding gun owners to an extraordinary new level last week. The beleaguered retailer announced that in addition to removing certain types of semi-automatic rifles from their stores, the company ...

NRA Statement on Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

News  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

NRA Statement on Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action executive director, Chris W. Cox, released the following statement on Tuesday regarding President Donald Trump's signature on the National Defense Authorization Act

California: Legislation Requiring Background Checks on Barrels and Other Parts Up For Hearing!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

California: Legislation Requiring Background Checks on Barrels and Other Parts Up For Hearing!

Several pro- and anti-gun bills are scheduled to be heard in their respective committees on Monday, April 23 and Tuesday, April 24.  Please contact the members of the respective committee and urge them to SUPPORT ...

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms!  In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms! In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

In case you were worried there were not enough anti-gun organizations working to eradicate the rights of law-abiding gun owners, a new one has formed, and it’s called NoRA.  Get it?  The name implies that the ...

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pro-Gun Sentiment Reasserts Itself in Wake of Antigun Blitz

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pro-Gun Sentiment Reasserts Itself in Wake of Antigun Blitz

Like the long-delayed coming of spring to the Mid-Atlantic, evidence is appearing that Americans are regaining their senses and reverting to an instinctual embrace of freedom after a withering barrage of some the nastiest and most ugly ...

Illinois: Senate to Consider Overriding Veto on Dealer Licensing Bills

Monday, April 23, 2018

Illinois: Senate to Consider Overriding Veto on Dealer Licensing Bills

With the April 25th deadline approaching, the Illinois state Senate is expected soon to consider overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto on legislation that would drive your local gun stores out of business with onerous red tape ...

Delaware: Mandatory Gun Storage Legislation to be Heard in Committee Today

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Delaware: Mandatory Gun Storage Legislation to be Heard in Committee Today

Today, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider anti-gun House Bill 366.

Minnesota: Two Anti-Gun Amendments to be Introduced and Considered Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Minnesota: Two Anti-Gun Amendments to be Introduced and Considered Tomorrow

Tomorrow, anti-gun state Senator Ron Latz is expected to introduce two gun control amendments to the Senate Judiciary Omnibus finance bill on the Senate floor.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.