By Naveen Athrappully
Gun safe manufacturer Liberty Safe announced changes regarding the storage of customer access codes following backlash for handing over data to the FBI.
On Sept. 6, Liberty Safe confirmed that it was contacted by the federal agency on Aug. 30 requesting access codes to the safe of an individual for whom they had a search warrant. The company subsequently complied with the request, triggering the online backlash.
Liberty Safe later announced new measures to protect consumer privacy.
“Effective immediately, existing customers can visit www.libertysafe.com/pages/combination-removal and fill out the form to have records of their access codes expunged,” the company posted in a Sept. 7 statement. “In the coming weeks, we will be releasing a feature that gives every new customer this option when registering their safe.”
“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.”
The safe for which Liberty revealed the code belonged to 34-year-old Nathan Hughes of Arkansas.
Mr. Hughes is charged with felony civil disorder and misdemeanors related to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. More than 1,100 individuals have been charged in relation to the incident.
Liberty’s decision to hand out safe codes to the FBI has come under intense criticism online.
“Your guns are not safe in a Liberty Safe. Return them immediately. Cancel any orders. They will give your passcode to the feds,” Charlie Kirk, Turning Point USA founder, said in a Sept. 6 post on X.
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Conservative commentator Rogan O’Hanley, who goes by the handle @DC-Draino, also commented.
“If Liberty Safe had even 1 brain cell of common sense remaining in their entire company, they would profusely apologize for giving the Feds the passcode to their customer’s safe, cover all his legal fees, cover the legal fees of anyone else they did this to, and swear they’ll never do it again,” Mr. O’Hanley said in a Sept. 6 X post.
“Liberty Safe missed a HUGE opportunity today!” YouTuber Matt Wallace said in an X post. “Their sales would have EXPLODED if they told the FBI to F off and posted that publicly. Instead, they gave back-end access to a J6 protesters gun safe who is being targeted by a corrupt DOJ. NOW THEY WILL FACE THE CONSEQUENCES!”
Policy Changes, Democrat Contributions
In its Sept. 6 announcement, Liberty said that the 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,” it said. The company has “denied requests for access codes without a warrant in the past. We do not give out combinations without proper legal documentation being provided by authorities.”
In its latest update, Liberty Safe said that it maintained a secure database of factory-set combinations. The practice is aimed at helping customers in case they lose their original combination. The company claims that it processes more than 4,000 such requests annually.
With the newly announced policy allowing customers to have records of their access code expunged, such backups will not be available.
“We understand that many of our customers are willing to assume responsibility of safeguarding their own combination. While those who opt out of our data storage process will have limited recourse in case of a lost combination, we respect their choice and are here to support them in the way that’s best for them.”
According to Mr. Kirk, Liberty Safe was sold to a “liberal” investment firm called Monomoy Capital Partners in 2021.
“I pulled the FEC reports on the company and found approximately $400,000 over the last 10 cycles of max donations to Democrats,” he said in a Sept. 7 post on X.
“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? Boycott Liberty Safe.”
Heated Political Climate
The individual arrested by the FBI, Mr. Hughes, is a small business owner from Fayetteville, Arkansas, according to conservative comedians The Hodgetwins. Mr. Hughes is a “friend of ours” who has a “family that relies on him,” the duo said in a Sept. 5 post on X.
The FBI raided and arrested Mr. Hughes “at gunpoint.” His girlfriend, who recently had a miscarriage, was also held at gunpoint and put in handcuffs, they wrote.
“The FBI turned off his security cameras, unplugged his internet, and flipped his house upside down in a search. 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,” the post said.
“He is being charged with crimes related to January 6th. He didn’t assault anyone and he didn’t vandalize anything. He is being labeled a domestic terrorist and a traitor to his country by woke leftists and the media.”
They talked about the partisan divide in the country, and people being victimized by the system.
“BLM and Antifa can go burn down our cities and get off the hook, but Trump supporters get raided and rounded up for protesting.”
“Nate is just like us…He’s an outspoken American Patriot…He loves freedom, loves his country, and would do anything to preserve our rights. He’s been fighting to save our country for years now.”