Liberty Safe willfully granted the FBI backdoor access to one of its customers’ gun safes because the federal law enforcement agency demanded it.
“The feds called the manufacturer of his Liberty Gun Safe and got the passcode to get into it too. All for protesting at the Capitol over 2 1/2 years ago,” conservative YouTubers the Hodge Twins alleged in a post on X on Monday.
Nathan Hughes, the 34-year-old owner of the compromised Liberty gun safe, was arrested at gunpoint and charged last week with one felony and three misdemeanors related to his presence in the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. During the raid on his home, the FBI ransacked his house and attempted to confiscate the firearms from his safe.
Safe companies like Liberty are not necessarily required to comply with law enforcement requests for combos to break into one of their purchased products unless a court orders them to do so. Liberty, however, claimed it is their “company protocol” to give law enforcement entry and access to its products as long as those agencies possess a warrant.
The manufacturer’s confession that its products’ security is compromised due to the existence of a master code and its willingness to work with law enforcement even without a court order did not go over well with several loyal Liberty customers who threatened on social media to cancel their orders and switch safe companies.
Others criticized Liberty for its double standard on safe security. If a customer loses his safe keys or forgets his safe combination, Liberty requires him to “hire a certified locksmith” to regain entry. If the FBI wants to get into a Liberty customer’s safe, all agents have to do is dial up the company and show them a warrant with the customer’s name on it.
Liberty tried to reassure customers that it is still “devoted to protecting the personal property and 2nd Amendment rights of our customers” and “has repeatedly denied requests for access codes without a warrant in the past.”
“We regularly update our policies to ensure both compliance with federal and state law and reasonable customer privacy protections within the law,” the social media statement reads. “First and foremost, Liberty Safe is committed to preserving our customers’ rights, and we will remain unwavering in those values.”
The company did not, however, immediately reply to the Federalist’s questions about whether it plans to beef up its code-sharing policy in an effort to follow through on its pledge to “preserve customers’ rights.”
Not all gun-safe companies readily hand over access to their customers’ products, even if law enforcement demands it.
A spokesman at Ft. Knox, a national gun safe and vault company, told The Federalist his company would only divulge safe combinations to law enforcement if a court specifically ordered it or a search warrant specifically named his company. He reiterated flatly that his company would never do what Liberty did without a court order.
Browning Safes, Champion Safe Co., and American Security (AMSEC) did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s request for comment. Their websites also did not explicitly state their policy on granting federal officials entry into their customers’ safes.