By Mr. Pink
If you’re reading this, chances are good that you own a Liberty safe. You likely keep guns in there. Maybe you have some gold coins, your family’s birth certificates, an expensive camera lens, your grandfather’s gold watch … hell, maybe you have a VHS sex tape of your kinky ex-girlfriend stashed in there. Who knows except you … and the hypocrites at Liberty Safe … and the U.S. Federal Government.
Feel safer now after purchasing that $1,600 Liberty safe? We didn’t think so. Here’s the story:
On Aug. 30, 2023, Liberty Safe responded to a request from the FBI to provide an access code for opening a Liberty gun safe belonging to 34-old Arkansas resident, Nathan Hughes. Hughes is under investigation for multiple charges stemming from his suspected participation in the events of January 6 at the U.S. Capitol.
According to Liberty Safe’s subsequent press release, the company was shown a search warrant for Hughes’ residence, verified the warrant, and then provided the code to the FBI, who then searched Hughes’ safe.
As you might imagine, Liberty Safe, a self-described ardent supporter of Americans’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, is receiving backlash from Americans who value their 2nd and 4th Amendment, uh, liberties. Liberty Safe, of course, now has its PR brainstrust working overtime.
Here’s FE’s take:
No doubt Liberty Safe found itself in a tight spot between the U.S. Federal Government and an accused citizen. It chose the Federal Government when it folded faster than a Frenchman in a firefight. Fact is, it’s not Liberty Safe’s legal duty to provide third party, private information based on a search warrant served to a third party. (Apple obviously knew this when it basically told the government to pound sand after being asked to break into its customers’ phones.) If FBI agents wanted into Hughes’ safe, getting into the safe is a matter settled between the agents and Hughes. If Hughes wouldn’t let them into the safe after being served the warrant, they could have lawfully broken into it. On the other hand, legal process (a search warrant or subpoena) issued directly to Liberty Safe would have legally compelled the company to provide such information. But the company was not issued any legal process.
Liberty fucked up and is scrambling to shore up its tarnished reputation now that the story broke and the possibility of a BLB (Bud Light Boycott) is real.
In Liberty’s defense, on September 6th it released an official statement indicating that it has subsequently changed its policy to require a subpoena, rather than just see a warrant directed at a third party, before providing access codes of customers’ safes—and only if those codes are available in its database. To that end, Liberty is now giving safe owners the ability to expunge their backup code from Liberty’s database by going to libertysafe.com/pages,combination-removal and filling out the form. They do warn customers, however, that once the backup code is removed, there can be no recourse for forgotten safe codes.
We are not taking up for Liberty—as it should not have taken a customer backlash for them to have anticipated such a mess resulting from their policy. But at least they are taking steps to correct it moving forward.
Regardless, we’re going to fill out the code expunge forms immediately … because nobody, not even the most depraved at the FBI, should be exposed to our ex-girlfriends.