The controversy surrounding Liberty Safe continues about whether they received a warrant or subpoena from the FBI and whether they were legally required to turn over a customer’s safe combination.
Some attorneys have even mentioned some interesting ways it could affect a legal defense for and against the defendant.
When you buy something, you don’t expect that whoever you bought it from will be able to get access to it later. If you buy a car, you don’t expect the dealer to keep a copy of the key so they can stop by and take it whenever they want.
This is especially true with something as important as a safe.
What is the Liberty Safe Controversy?
Nathan Hughes is from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and is being charged with crimes related to the January 6 incident in DC. After raiding his house, the FBI contacted Liberty Safe for the combination to his safe.
🚨 Last week, a friend of ours was raided by the feds over J6, his name is Nathan Hughes and he’s from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Nate was raided by the FBI and arrested at gun point. His girlfriend (who just had a miscarriage) was held at gun point and put in handcuffs. The FBI… pic.twitter.com/LOpMQ28eUJ
— Hodgetwins (@hodgetwins) September 5, 2023
Did Liberty Safe Have a warrant?
That answer depends on how you look at it. There was a warrant, but it doesn’t sound like it named Liberty, and therefore, they wouldn’t have had a legal obligation to turn over the combination.
According to a statement released by Liberty Safe on Tuesday, the company admitted to complying with the FBI’s request from August 30 and provided the agency with the safe’s combination. They did not say they had received a subpoena or a warrant with Liberty’s name on it.
“Our company protocol is to provide access codes to law enforcement IF A WARRANT GRANTS THEM ACCESS TO A PROPERTY. After receiving the request, we received proof of the valid warrant, and only then did we provide them with an access code. Liberty Safe had no knowledge of any of the details surrounding the investigation at the time.”
— Liberty Safe (@libertysafeinc) September 6, 2023
Then, on the 6th, they revised their original testament, adding:
“We have also revised our policies around cooperation with law enforcement. Going forward WE WILL REQUIRE A SUBPOENA that legally compels Liberty Safe to supply access codes but can only do so if these codes still exist in our system.”
That seems to appear they did not have a subpoena and could have denied the initial request.
— Liberty Safe (@libertysafeinc) September 7, 2023
Who Owns Liberty Safe?
Who actually owns the company is now being questioned by everyone. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk posted on Twitter.
“Liberty Safe was sold to Monomoy Capital Partners in 2021, a liberal East Coast investment firm. I pulled the FEC reports on the company and found approximately $400,000 over the last 10 cycles of max donations to Democrats like: Raphael Warnock in GA John Fetterman in PA Mandela Barnes in WI Mark Kelly in AZ.
Liberty Safe’s current CEO, Justin Hillenbrand, was a founding partner of Monomoy and donated $4,600 to Obama for America.
And we’re supposed to be surprised they betrayed their customers to the FBI as quickly as humanly possible?”
Liberty Safe was sold to Monomoy Capital Partners in 2021, a liberal East Coast investment firm. I pulled the FEC reports on the company and found approximately $400,000 over the last 10 cycles of max donations to Democrats like:
Raphael Warnock in GA
John Fetterman in PA… pic.twitter.com/WqnlQpPnrA
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) September 7, 2023
SecureIt Says They Would Have Had a Different Approach
I asked Tom Kubiniec, President and CEO of SecureIt Gun Storage, for his opinion on how Liberty should have handled it.
“Liberty should have told the FBI that we cannot provide assistance without a specific court order. Liberty should have disclosed that they keep access codes in the event they need to assist a customer who lost theirs.”
SecureIt quickly came out with the following public statement right after everything hit the news.
We firmly believe in our customers' right and freedom to control their personal property. pic.twitter.com/3UfdsvPTxN
— SecureIt Gun Storage (@SecureItStorage) September 6, 2023
Customers have the right to know if there is a master code or key that enables anyone to open the products someone sold, whether it is a safe, file cabinet, or car.
The FBI has reached out to me before, and they can generate a subpoena by the time you hang up the phone, so there really isn’t an excuse.
The real concern is that they should have done it properly and required a subpoena. Although law enforcement would have eventually obtained access, Liberty voluntarily chose to surrender somebody’s personal information without any obligation to do so.