In a decision throwing out an Allentown man’s conviction, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned a longstanding legal doctrine allowing police to stop and search a suspect solely for carrying a concealed weapon.
The court ruled a police officer’s knowledge that a person is carrying a gun no longer constitutes reasonable suspicion to detain and investigate whether they’re licensed to do so.
The rule that allowed Pennsylvania police to do so “subverts the fundamental protections of the Fourth Amendment,” the court said. It noted Pennsylvania issues hundreds of thousands of licenses to carry firearms every year.
“When many people are licensed to do something, and violate no law by doing that thing, common sense dictates that the police officer cannot assume that any given person doing it is breaking the law,” Justice David Wecht wrote in the court’s lead opinion. The ruling of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania consisted of a majority opinion and two concurring opinions (here and here)